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BIM software:
what are the advantages and disadvantages for the construction industry?

In an ever-evolving construction sector, Building Information Modeling (BIM) software plays a crucial role in revolutionising the way projects are designed, built and managed. This article aims to explore BIM software, highlight its importance and discuss alternatives, including worksite supervision software, providing a comprehensive perspective on the modern technological tools available to construction professionals.

What is BIM?

BIM is more than just software; it is a working method that enables architects, engineers and construction professionals to collaborate on the design and management of buildings and infrastructures through a digital model. This model is rich in data and can be used to make informed decisions throughout a project’s lifecycle, from initial design to demolition. The benefits of BIM include optimised collaboration between stakeholders, increased efficiency during the design and construction phase, significant cost reductions, and a reduction in construction errors thanks to the preview of potential problems before they occur.

The 3 most popular BIM software in 2024

  • Autodesk Revit is often the first name that springs to mind when people talk about BIM. Designed for construction professionals, Revit excels at managing construction data and supporting effective collaboration between teams.
  • ArchiCAD, on the other hand, is renowned for its user-friendliness and powerful modelling features, making it a preferred choice for architects.
  • Bentley Systems offers solutions for complex infrastructure projects, with a particular focus on spatial data management and engineering. The choice of BIM software will depend on the specific needs of the project, the size of the team, and the collaboration requirements.

Difference between BIM and CAD software

Definition and purpose

CAD: Computer Aided Design refers to the use of computer software to create, modify, analyse or optimise designs. Traditionally, CAD has been used to produce technical drawings and 2D plans or 3D models, without necessarily incorporating dynamic data or information about the construction lifecycle.

BIM: BIM, on the other hand, goes beyond simple 3D modelling to include integrated information and data on the physical and functional characteristics of a building. It is a collaborative process that enables architects, engineers and builders to plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure more efficiently, using data-rich digital models.

The distinction between BIM and CAD lies in their approach to design and project management. Whereas CAD represents a predominantly graphical and individual way of working, BIM introduces a collaborative and multi-disciplinary dimension, focused on the use of data to optimise the design, construction and management of buildings. By adopting BIM, the construction industry is equipping itself with a powerful tool for improving the quality, efficiency and sustainability of projects, marking a significant departure from traditional methods.

Benefits of BIM software

The use of BIM software is fundamentally transforming the way we work in the construction sector, bringing considerable improvements in terms of efficiency, quality, sustainability and collaboration. Here are the main benefits:

Improved Collaboration and Communication

BIM software facilitates close collaboration between all those involved in a construction project, from architects and engineers to contractors and project managers. Thanks to a centralised model, changes are updated in real time, ensuring that everyone involved has the most up-to-date information, thereby reducing misunderstandings and errors.

Greater efficiency and lower costs

BIM allows potential conflicts and design errors to be detected before construction begins, reducing the time and cost of rework on the worksite. The ability to visualise the project as a whole also helps to optimise plans and make significant savings in materials and labour.

Improving construction quality

The use of BIM software contributes to better construction quality thanks to accurate simulations and performance analyses. This enables informed decisions to be made on materials, construction techniques and overall design, resulting in better performing and more sustainable buildings.

Challenges and disadvantages of BIM software

High initial investment cost

The acquisition of BIM software represents a significant financial investment for many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction sector. In addition to the cost of software licences, companies often need to invest in more powerful hardware, employee training and sometimes external consultants to effectively integrate BIM into their operations.

Learning curve

The complexity of BIM software can lead to a steep learning curve for teams. Professionals used to traditional design and construction methods may find it difficult to adapt to BIM processes. This requires extensive training and adaptation time, which can temporarily delay productivity.

Interoperability and standardisation

The issue of interoperability between different BIM software and other tools used in construction projects is a major challenge. Despite efforts to standardise file formats and data exchange protocols, problems of incompatibility persist, which can lead to significant loss of information when data is transferred between different platforms.

Beyond InSite: a complement to your BIM software

Beyond InSite is positioned as a powerful complementary solution to building information modelling (BIM) software for construction project management. Thanks to its specialised modules such as MyCheck, MyForm and MyAdmin, Beyond InSite enables improved management of observations in real time directly on the 2D plan or 3D model, optimised monitoring of control forms to guarantee compliance with procedures, and customisable administration of all worksites for a global view and greater responsiveness to changes.

These features are perfectly aligned with the capabilities of BIM software, which focuses on the planning, design and modelling of building data, adding an efficient and flexible worksite monitoring layer. Beyond InSite’s ability to integrate observations and quality controls directly into the context of BIM models makes it a valuable tool for project teams, enabling centralised, real-time information management. This integration facilitates communication between the various project stakeholders, improves decision-making based on up-to-date data, and increases responsiveness to unforeseen circumstances, thereby contributing to the overall success of construction projects.

Worksite monitoring with Beyond InSite highlights quality or non-conformity issues as soon as they arise, enabling timely corrections that reduce delays and extra costs. In addition, by supporting close collaboration between all project participants, from architects to general contractors and subcontractors, Beyond InSite ensures that quality, cost and schedule objectives are met, effectively complementing the project management capabilities offered by BIM software.

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