Designing of a building involves multiple disciplines, each of them comprising of its own set of important elements. Building Information Modeling is becoming extremely significant in the AEC industry lately. This is because it helps the industry, especially the construction sector in improving workflows, increasing production in shorter duration whilst increasing quality and decreasing costs. Each discipline has a different approach with respect to BIM and what do they use it for. For e.g. architects may use BIM to create an outline of the structure and its overall appearance whereas structural engineers may use it to implement design change in reduced time and to identify clashes between model components using built-in tools. This article aims to highlight the benefits that can be availed by structural engineers through utilization of BIM.
Utilization of BIM in structural engineering can reduce the time used in coordination activities by the engineers. Hence, BIM enables them to utilize their time in design and value engineering. Structural engineers spend more time in coordination activities than they do in solving problems, thus by using Structural BIM Services they can focus their energy in finding creative solutions to their problems, through its data rich information model, from where they can get significant insights. These insights can be further used in decision making process. The data driven BIM processes help the structural engineers in isolating and filtering any part or area of the building or the structure which requires special and immediate attention and can also aid in visualizing the same in 3D. Engineers can simplify and automate their designs with BIM, which also helps in reducing errors and risks, improving accuracy and constructability and improving their overall project delivery. It also aids in process of getting better project insights and facilitates finer understanding of the overall project, thereby ultimately improving productivity.
Interoperability can be defined as a computer systems or software’s ability to exchange and make use of information. The BIM model facilitates collaboration through centralization of project information into federated models, as well as interoperability among BIM applications themselves. The use of IFC format for the purpose of data exchange between BIM software has brought down any potential barriers for data sharing between models. Comparing this exchange of data with sequential models or choosing just one software to accomplish the entire process is a big leap forward. Thus, BIM’s interoperability feature is considered to be of extreme benefit to the structural engineers.
3. Reduced Wastage
Both time and cost are important aspects of construction and play a crucial role as resources. BIM enables features such as time scheduling, quantity take off and cost estimation, which helps the stakeholders of the project by providing them with an idea of the time and cost needed for project execution. Specifically talking about the structural engineers, with the help of BIM it becomes easier for them to prepare and allocate accurate budgets, provide precise information on the quantities of materials required, along with getting information on the kind of materials needed, quality of materials etc. BIM also provides for clash detection because of which clashes and errors can be detected right at the onset, before onsite construction even starts. This ultimately brings down the need for rework, and as the quantity of materials and the time are estimated by the intelligent model, there is hardly any wastage of either and schedule is followed seamlessly. Thus, saving considerable amount of time and resources for engineers to focus on other significant aspects of project.
4. Enhanced Accuracy
Construction as a process is all about accuracy and efficiency. Even a small error can lead to considerable loss of time and money along with loss of other important resources. Through utilization of BIM, details as minor as the dimensions of an individual steel piece can be gained, along with other miniscule details which ultimately help with accuracy in regards to components, arrangements, fixation and overall project execution. The .nc format files created by software like Tekla can directly fed to the CAM machines to cut, drill and punch steel. Thus, by utilizing 3D model-based Steel Detailing Services, structural engineers tend to save a great deal of time whilst getting accurate and as expected results.