BIM is possibly the most frequently used term in the construction world today. It stands for Building Information Modelling, which aims to improve collaboration by optimising the sharing of usable information. BIM involves creating a 3D model of the project, into which the necessary information can be entered and from which it can therefore also be retrieved. Arjan van Dijk: ‘In principle, all information, from a toilet to a suspended ceiling, can be incorporated into BIM. In other words, everything you need for the construction and maintenance of the project in question.’
André Robers and René Pluimers are BIM coordinators and, together with Arjan van Dijk, have been given the interesting task of implementing BIM throughout Voortman Steel Construction. ‘This excellent system is already being used extensively within the drawing office, but the time has now come to implement BIM across the company as a whole.’
To achieve this, a core team has been put together, comprising the ‘early adopters’ from each department within VSC. Together they are examining the opportunities, vision and internal and external expectations. ‘That covers all disciplines, from sales to the drawing office and from work planning to assembly. Everyone will come into contact with BIM, so everyone will be involved in its implementation.’ The system will be implemented gradually over the coming years.
All relevant information is stored, used and managed within BIM for the entire lifecycle of the project/ building. All the parties concerned work with the same information, which is constantly available and up to date. For Voortman this means that internal and external communication are improved and made more efficient. Processing times are reduced and quality and security enhanced. Internally (little BIM) better coordination is possible, while externally (big BIM) processes with construction partners can be optimised. ‘Thanks to BIM, everyone can now supply the necessary information to the right person, instead of just sending it out indiscriminately.’
André and René are convinced that, over the coming years, the use of BIM will not only result in demonstrable added value for the customer, but will also improve quality internally. ‘We are taking small steps towards a major, important change. Digital terminology often meets with resistance, but this is a change that is genuinely needed. The language of digital is by no means double Dutch,’ André stresses with a smile.
The potential extends well beyond simply ensuring that the right information is provided. René explains enthusiastically: ‘In the future, with BIM 2.0 we will also be able to communicate directly with the machines. That means the information needed can be sent to the machines directly, but also that software packages can be linked up. For example, we will soon be able to connect the new BTR (Barcode Time Registration) system to BIM too. That will create much more clarity and structure. Thanks to these developments, in the not-too-distant future we will be able to share information as widely as possible in real time.’
As the BIM model is shared in the cloud, it is available to everyone at the same time. ‘But,’ René adds, ‘we will remain the manager of the model at all times. To ensure we can guarantee security and clarity on an ongoing basis, we will allocate roles and access rights internally and externally.’ When it comes to BIM, everything revolves around clear communication. Otherwise the technology is worthless. René: ‘We need to be careful not to add too much information and end up muddying the waters. In the end, however modern your machines and procedures may be, it is people who are and will remain crucial to the successful implementation of BIM.’