With Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry constantly rising, it slowly become one of the biggest contributors to climate change. So no wonder the concept of sustainability has become a hot topic in the world of architecture and engineering.
Civil engineers are persistently looking for ways to make construction more environmentally friendly, and BIM has emerged as a powerful tool in this struggle.
In this article, we will explore how BIM supports sustainability, where they two intersect, and how BIM can contribute to a healthier future with sustainable goals in mind.
The first step in exploring BIM’s role in sustainability is to understand what sustainability actually is.
In short, sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs when the time comes.
This means that sustainable practices must take into account social, economic, and environmental factors in order to be truly effective.
The AEC industry has a historically bad reputation for maintaining these sustainable practices, but BIM offers an effective way to change that and achieve a sustainable construction process.
But what is sustainable construction, you may ask…
Sustainable construction is the practice of constructing buildings in a way that minimizes negative environmental impacts. This includes everything from the materials used to construct the building to the way the building is actually built.
In order to be truly sustainable, a building must be designed and constructed with an eye toward minimizing its ecological footprint. This means using materials that are environmentally friendly and renewable, constructing the building in a way that minimizes waste, and using energy-efficient practices whenever possible.
But the concept of sustainable construction is much more than installing energy-efficient mechanisms such as simple LCD lighting for a new building.
It’s a more complex philosophy that incorporates many elements of environmental performance, economic efficiency, and social responsibility. In addition, the sustainable construction process affects every aspect of the design, construction, and maintenance phase of the project.
The role of sustainable construction is to:
– Enforce using renewable resources where possible.
– Easily integrate with the natural environment.
– Produce minimum waste
– Use minimal energy.
– Enhance living and working environments for all people.
BIM has numerous advantages, but how does it support sustainability?
It’s time to see where BIM intersects with sustainability in achieving the goals of sustainable construction.
If we want more sustainable construction projects, it’s imperative to have a detailed analysis. And what can offer the best analysis if not the cutting-edge of BIM technology…
The BIM technology and its many advantages can help streamline sustainability at 3 key stages:
– Design phase
– Construction phase
– Operation phase
Let’s take a look at how BIM comes into play in each of these phases.
The design phase is arguably the most important phase of any construction project. This is where the bulk of the decisions are made that will determine the sustainability of the final product.
Fortunately, BIM can help increase transparency and collaboration in this critical stage.
In the past, designers often worked in silos, making it difficult to ensure that all the different disciplines were working towards the same goal. BIM changes that by providing a central platform where all the different designers, contractors, or energy engineers can work together.
This not only makes it easier to spot potential problems, but it also allows for better communication and collaboration between the different disciplines in real-time, even before a single cent is spent on materials or supplies
In addition, BIM provides a more holistic view of the project that can help identify potential sustainability issues that might have been missed in a traditional design process.
BIM can also be used to simulate different construction scenarios to help find the most efficient and sustainable way to build the project.
All of this transparent information can then be used to create a more sustainable design that will save time and money in the construction phase.
The construction phase is where all the decisions made in the design phase are put into action.
This is often where projects run into trouble, as there is often a disconnect between the design and the construction. BIM can help bridge that gap by providing a more efficient way to build.
BIM-based prefabrication is one of the most efficient and sustainable ways to construct a building. Prefabrication is the process of manufacturing building components in a factory setting and then assembling them on-site.
This process has many advantages over traditional construction, including reduced waste, improved quality control, and shorter construction times.
In addition, BIM can be used to create virtual 3D models of the construction site. These models can be used to plan the construction process and identify potential problems before they happen. This helps to avoid costly mistakes and delays, which can ensure that the project is built according to the original design.
BIM also allows for more efficient use of materials in the construction phase. For example, BIM can be used to create just-in-time delivery schedules for construction materials. This ensures that only the amount of material needed for each task is delivered, which reduces waste and lowers the carbon footprint of the project.
All of these positive outcomes are perfectly aligned with the complex sustainable construction philosophy.
The operations phase is the final stage of the construction project, and this is where BIM can really work its magic to improve sustainability.
BIM provides a more efficient way to manage buildings after they’ve been constructed. It can be used to monitor the performance of building systems and identify problems before they become serious. This helps to avoid costly repairs and downtime, ensuring that the building is operating at peak efficiency.
Also, thanks to its high level of detail and easily sharable feature, the 3D models created with BIM, can be distributed easily to the building owners or managers, so they run the building at its maximum performance.
Finally, BIM can be used to develop comprehensive maintenance schedules that help extend the life of the building. This not only saves money, but it also reduces the need for new construction projects, which in the long term, has a significant positive impact on the environment and contributes to a healthier future.
To sum up, in this blog post we’ve discussed the basic principles related to BIM and sustainability.
BIM is a powerful tool that can help improve sustainability at every stage of the construction process. From design to operations, BIM provides a more efficient and sustainable way to develop any construction project.
And if you want to develop a successful and sustainable construction project with BIM, you can reach out to us today. Breon can help you make your next big step toward creating a more sustainable future for our next generations.