The reach and scope of construction technology extends far into the horizon, yet the solutions which are truly at the forefront of the industry’s digitisation are BIM and AI. Buildots examines the different strands of technology that feed into BIM, highlighting why the alignment of BIM with AI in particular is really maximising processes across complex, control-essential construction projects
BIM as both a technology and process is essentially the gateway for other digital solutions to follow and connect with. In the years since the 2016 mandate, BIM has gained in momentum, proving to be more than simply a 3D model but a methodology that enables improved collaboration and productivity, and reduces project costs and error.
From a construction programme management perspective, BIM is standardising and defining project processes in ways that were simply beyond analogue’s reach. Managing trades and monitoring workflows were notoriously difficult to perform, yet BIM in practice is creating the visibility and consistency that the industry was crying out for. BIM is, therefore, allowing companies to optimise once arduous, inefficient processes, informing project teams in ways that were once never thought possible.
BIM is at the centre of Buildots’ solution, which leverages the capacity of off-the-shelf 360-degree cameras to inject as-built data into BIM models, creating a perfect view of the status of works.
On top of the live model an advanced dashboard system creates the construction control centre, showing progress reports, monthly valuations and flags any divergences from designs or programme. Once the model becomes live, other technology vendors can tap into the model to receive real-time progress information, to trigger shipments, streamline payments or generate better execution plans for the following week.
Although BIM is at the core of this offering, an important branch of Buildots’ solution is machine learning. An application of AI, machine learning comprises highly advanced systems which have been programmed to accumulate thousands of pieces of construction data, using algorithms to detect whether a project is on or off course.
This continuous exposure to multiple data points enables project productivity to be traced. Real-time performance can subsequently be compared against the 3D BIM model, in order to establish a clear view of process and whether any mistakes need to be rectified.
If the industry didn’t have this high-level access to BIM, AI and its subset machine learning it would take site workers hours to collect and act on the data that is needed. The aid of technology is significantly increasing the speed of this process, delivering data at a granular level within standardised, structured workflows.
BIM’s alignment with AI
BIM may be at the helm of improved construction process management but working diligently alongside it is AI.
If information is to be used to inform decision-making, it has to be precise and structured in the right way. BIM and AI work together to interpret what will and could happen onsite, enabling site teams to reach the level of accuracy that is required to manage a project’s total performance.
AI is intrinsically linked to BIM; producing the right data that is needed to feed into the 3D model, which in turn allows managers to analyse a project’s progress. Furthermore – and importantly – this type of knowledge creates a single source of the truth, in which all project teams can view the latest data from one place.
Moreover, having immediate access to this granular data is improving collaboration across construction works. Errors are being spotted far quicker than they were previously, saving teams large sums of money as they can amend a problem now and not in a few months down the line. While it can be challenging to face the problems head-on, the benefits here bear too great a weight. Technology is offering much-needed visibility – meaning huge amounts of time and money is saved in the long-run.
Without the utilisation of BIM and AI, it would be difficult to deny that construction projects would be spiralling out of control. Together they are a huge force for good in the sector, working collaboratively to give construction businesses the information they need to drive projects forward toward success.
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