Feb 11, 2015 -- In one of our pervious articles we discussed about the 5 technologies integrated with BIM, which were set to transform the way industry is likely to function in coming years. One of the technology that we mentioned is cloud based BIM adoption. While the industry has definitely adopted the BIM – Building Information Modeling technology with great pompous, cloud computing is relatively untouched.
Today we see that for complex and long termed building projects, teams often choose to co-locate in order to improve coordination. However, what needs to be improved here is not just physical coordination, but also virtual coordination and this can be done by implementing Cloud. At the same time mindful use of 3D Laser Scanning Survey or features such as Surface Reconstruction From Point Cloud Data and 3D Laser Scan To BIM Conversions are certainly meant for better results.
Not to forget that builders who want to adopt cloud based BIM, need to learn from others’ experiences. We would like to bring a few things on table that one needs to address before taking up BIM to cloud.
1. Brace up for Workflow changes: When BIM gets on to cloud, it is definitely empowering as it allows architects move the walls, place the doors and windows and allows engineers place diffusers, lighting systems all at the same time. However, this improved coordination and collaboration is successful only when the models and families are well configured. If the workflows are not managed well, BIM on cloud is like flying blind, and there is risk of nose diving to catastrophic failure.
2. Encouraging communication and hence coordination: We already discussed that co-location is done for improved coordination, but what leads to better coordination is better communication. Virtual coordination – i.e. BIM on cloud, allows team to communicate real time. Hence here communication becomes critical, and coordination should involve daily, hourly and real-time communication between members and stakeholders.
3. Beware and be ready, as BIM on cloud can be demanding: Often BIM projects for as built structures begin with humongous 3D Laser Scanning Survey data and Surface Reconstruction from Point Cloud Data as input. Besides the level of IT expertise for BIM on cloud can vary depending on the level of BIM implementation and its approach. Additionally, there have also been instances of server problems, syncing delays and other such hiccups that might rock your boat and prevent you from sailing smooth.
4. When you have talent and infrastructure crunch – Outsource: Often projects do not have the time and resources to develop BIM to invest in cloud infrastructure. Also investments in in-house BIM team and buying a server have lot of hidden costs than what meets the eye. For BIM it’s a finding that rare talents who have architectural experience and BIM proficiency both, for them then comes the cost of buying all the software and infrastructure, talent retention and the list continues. Cloud infrastructures are labor intensive as well , besides you also need licenses for server software and to sum it up, it can be outrageously expensive. In such scenario, it is the best policy to outsource.
Experience teaches you a lot, but it need not be always your own. So while adopting technology for progress and for faster and easy execution, it is important to first learn what implications that technology can have on your project, whether it can challenge you and in what ways. So prepare yourself and tighten your belts, take the plunge and successfully take your BIM projects on to the cloud and enjoy the benefits.
Bhushan Avsatthi is a senior manager, consultant, BIM expert and a green building advisor with more than 15 years of industry experience. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.