Nevertheless, these tall buildings and all other structures with peculiar architectural designs require extensive engineering. Otherwise, every aspect of the construction will not fulfill the desired outcome. Consequently, construction planning also needs to be laid properly. From the very concept of the engineering, to laying it out on a number of drawing sheets, to putting it into Computer-Aided Design databases, and to implementing those designs into the actual construction of the building structure – the entire plan should have definite collaboration and should be well-detailed. Moreover, there is a need for assurance that the whole plan fits in to other factors in reality: the construction costs, the environment, and other matters.
In turn, industry groups sought ways to formulate something that will definitely make the construction industry more efficient than ever before. And the way to it – the creation of the actual building – is to get a hold of the entire information included within the construction project. This is how Building Information Modelling (BIM) came into the industry. It is defined as a genuinely comprehensive building information model that will encompass not only the geometric data but all of the information about a building project that is created throughout its useful life (Smith and Tardif, 2012). This paper will discuss more about this matter, along with an actual building project.
II. Overview of the Building Project
The city of London is about to have its new landmark. British Land and Oxford Properties are developing what will be one of the tallest and most spectacular structures in London (British Land and Oxford, n. d.). This Leadenhall Building is a 225m tall, 47 storey tapering tower, and is located on the Leadenhall Street. The location is opposite the Lloyds building. Its high level floors available will be 6, 500 sq ft to 13, 500 sq ft, and a total of 300, 000 sq ft spaces will be available. Richard Pilkington (2011 cited in Rogers, 2012), the Development Director of Oxford Properties, stated that “ The Leadenhall Building will be delivered by mid 2014”. Furthermore, the approximate cost so far will be 286 million euro.
III. Identification and Evaluation of the Information
Before going into the Building Information Modelling system, it is necessary to identify certain things included in any building project. Before developing the content for the IBM, it is important that one should “ understand how materials, objects, assemblies, and the projects interrelate” (Weygant, 2011, p. 15).
Looking at the building’s physical model, one main challenge during the process is making the building with the tapered surface. The structure’s distinct asymmetrical figure meant that the building’s foundation and the compression of the elements up to the top of the building would be irregular (Laing O’Rourke, n. d.). The exterior elements in one side of the building will have to be slanted until the top. More than that, the interior element should adhere to it as well. The piping, ducting, electrical linings and other domestic services must be installed according to the compression along the building’s tapered ‘ body’. Thus, the first challenge of the team is to make sure these physical elements in the building collaborate with one another.
Second, the team’s challenge is regarding the site and its environment. It is a standard operating procedure that the team should consider how the equipments and materials will get to the working site (Sears, Sears, and Clough, 2010). Leadenhall Street is a busy street. Railways, roads, offices, and other buildings are all around the site. The team must be sure that these will not be extensively interrupted during the entire construction. The challenge is the delivery of materials – particularly the heavy, long and large ones. The roadways should be examined for its alignment and capacity that will suit to the materials delivered from time to time. For instance, narrow roads will certainly be a big factor for the delivery process. In relation to these, the team will have to collaborate with the supplier of the materials for the exact time and exact quantity of the delivery. The evaluation of the site and its environment could affect the time-efficiency of the construction project.
Third, the challenge will be the technical aspects of the construction. For instance, the phase-by-phase process of the building should make sure that safety is being under control. As Leadenhall tower progresses, the process becomes much harder and riskier – particularly at the highest part of the building. Thus, the collaboration of the phases during the entire construction should be “ visualized” and evaluated already by the team “ payers” coming from various disciplines – civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, safety, etc. One of the major challenges of construction projects is the collaboration in various disciplinary aspects. A design may still be subject to change whenever necessary. And even a simple change would make other disciplinary aspects change as well. Collaboration is a critical factor. Planning and careful evaluation for this kind of challenge is very necessary to prevent any significant errors or delays along the way of construction. Otherwise, other parties included in the project would also be affected.
Fourth, the challenge in the project is the costing. It would be a great failure if a building project is put “ on hold” on the halfway of the construction process due to shortage of finances. Management and control of project time, cost, resources, and finance should be included during the field construction process (Sears, Sears, and Clough, 2010). The project manager, therefore, should interpret and present volumes of numerical data to the contractor, and should see to it that the financial plan of project will be enough for a successful construction. A lot of things should be considered in the costing of the Leadenhall tower project. First, the quantity and price of the equipments and materials to be used should be determined. It should also include the utilities – electricity, water, etc. – that will be consumed in the construction. The team should also consider the labor costs throughout the project duration. This consideration is critical. For instance, the team should make sure that the materials and equipments are cost-effective yet of good quality.
In general, the challenges in the Leadenhall project points to the real-time representation of the project. The team should have an overviewed evaluation of the physical structure of the building, the types of materials and equipments needed, the condition of the construction process in relation to its surroundings, and the phase-by-phase process throughout the entire construction duration. If an overview of these things will be available, then the planning, management, and the implementation of the entire system will certainly come into fulfillment. Thus, this real-time representation of the Leadenhall Tower project is needed.
IV. Building Information Modelling: Its Concept and Uses
As aforementioned, Building Information Modelling (IBM) is a new system in the construction industry that allows projects planning and execution easier and more detailed than the conventional system. It is a process building industry uses to create the “ built” environment using the digital technologies (Epstein, 2012).
Its exact definition can vary probably depending on the way it is used. Some defined it as the process spanning a building’s life cycle, which includes conceptualization, design, construction, occupancy, and demolition (Epstein, 2012). Building refers to any structure man can work on and live with – building, roadways, etc. Information is any or all data about a certain project: process, duration, technical elements, etc. Model refers to the representation of that information. Thus, in general, BIM can be defined as a representation of various elements within a project, collaborated as one whole integrated information necessary for the execution of the project plan. In its technical aspect, unlike the conventional 2D and 3D CAD drawings adopted by construction industries, BIM’s design process no longer consists of mere lines and symbols that represent building elements. BIM allows engineers, project managers, contractors, and foremen to understand how components are “ to be placed within the project, what they are, and how they relate to adjacent elements in the entire project” (Weygant, 2011, p. 4).
There are three general things BIM has: quality control, data management, BIM data and specifications. The data in the model should be complete, clear, concise, correct, and consistent with other documentation and data sheets associated with each another. BIM allows components/products to be added into the model as one unit. And since BIM is integrated with the ability to specify whether a product implemented to a model is not appropriate for the specific condition of the model, the quality control can accurately view what product/component is placed and how it is placed in the model. This is necessary for quality control.
In BIM’s virtual model, the parametric objects used can be embedded with data and other information – which links to a much of the information about the entire building (Epstein, 2012). For instance, a mechanical engineer can have access of the mechanical components within the model and the information about them. In doing so, the engineer can determine the entire mechanical structure of the building. BIM allows the construction individuals to clearly understand the project through just one model.
In specifications, BIM allows the project owner or designer to specify which product to use by weighing the performance and cost-efficiency of every product and to determine which option is the most effective to choose (Weygant, 2011). IBM made a way to provide detailed information on the products available in the global market. This certainly allows every owner or designer to determine which product fits best to the project. This is necessary particularly for determining which supplier the construction team should go to.
In detail, there are many of BIM’s advantages, features, and uses. First, BIM can be used be used by single data entry but for multiple uses. A single data can be entered into various programs like structural analysis, code compliance, material quantities, and cost estimates (Ashcraft, 2008). When one data is entered into one program, all other programs can easily update. Thus, information error is decreased and there will no more need for different parties to collaborate with one another face-face. Second, BIM is equipped with design efficiency. In BIM software applications, adjustment in a certain component in the model will make every component liked to it adjusted as well. For instance, a change in the plan view in Revit makes the affected components in other section views automatically change as well. Third, BIM models can be rendered the design without any need for separate software. This leads to a better representation of the model. Fourth, BIM is equipped with conflict identification and resolution. Since there is collaboration, any problem can easily be corrected by every party. Moreover, the solution done can also be checked with BIM to ensure that the problem is resolved and that there are no adverse consequences (Ashcraft, 2008). Fifth, it significantly helps in “ take-offs” and estimating. The BIM model contains “ information that generate bills of materials, building size and area estimates, material costs, productivity, and other related estimating information” (Ashcraft, 2008, p. 3). Sixth, BIM can act as a “ thinking” tool, wherein it helps users in evaluating alternative approaches in the model design. Seventh, BIM software such as Autodesk Revit can provide energy analysis information which is absolutely useful in evaluating lighting designs (Ashcraft, 2008). Eight, BIM has 4D capabilities which allow the representation of the actual construction sequence of the building project. Ninth, it reduces fabrication costs and errors. BIM can provide construction and fabrication details, so that when the prefabricated supplies are delivered, they will fit accordingly. Tenth, BIM can be used for cost-effective management of the facilities. Data in the model can be used in remodeling, additions, and maintenance (Ashcraft, 2008). Lastly, it can be used for functional simulations. For instance, the building can be evaluated regarding emergency schemes and evacuation. For instance, NavisWorks was useful at the Letterman Digital Arts Center to make sure fire response vehicles could easily navigate the parking structures (Ashcraft, 2008).
Building information modeling is certainly useful for integrating design, construction, and management of facilities. “ It allows designers to explore alternative concepts and optimize their designs. Contractors can use the model to rehearse construction, prepare cost estimation data, coordinate drawings, and prepare fabrication drawings. Owners can use the data to manage maintenance and facility renovation” (Ashcraft, 2008, p. 3). In this way, the parties within any construction project can use BIM as a means for collaboration.
V. BIM Software Applications
A number of BIM software applications are used in construction industry. The evaluation of these applications can be by category. For architecture, the prominent applications are Autodesk Revit Architecture, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, and Nemetschek Allplan Architecture (Broquetas, n. d.). Autodesk Revit Architecture is has a ray trace visual style that allows real-time photorealistic rendering mode. Moreover, it has stairs and railing tools useful for custom stairs and railing transitions (Khemlani, 2012). Graphisoft has a built-in energy analysis that can lead to sustainability analysis of any project (Khemlani, 2012). Allplan Architecture is more of having full capabilities for solid and surface modeling, and it can be integrated with cost analysis applications like Design2Cost (Khemlani, 2008). For sustainability the 3 most useful applications are Autodesk Ecotect Analysis, Autodesk Green Building Studio, and Graphisoft EcoDesigner (Broquetas, n. d.). For structures, Autodesk Revit Structure and Bentley Structural Modeler are widely used (Broquetas, n. d.). For MEP, Autodesk Revit MEP and Bentley Hevacomp Mechanical Designer are widely used (Broquetas, n. d.). For construction, Autodesk Navisworks and Solibri Model Checker are widely used (Broquetas, n. d.). For facility management, the most popular are Bentley Facilities and Vintocon ArchiFM.
These BIM software applications have a lot of advantages and disadvantages compared to one another. Besides, each application is suitable only for its corresponding category: construction, architecture, MEP, and others.
VI. Implementation of IBM
For the BIM execution planning process, the following should be done. First, the program or the plan should be validated by the owner. Second, the plan should be handed to the main architect for the author/main schematic design. Then, the design should be handed to the other parties. The contractor will do the cost estimation; the architect will perform the 3-dimensional coordination; the architect will develop the virtual prototypes; the contractor will create the 4D model; and the Engineer will perform engineering analysis. After this, the design will be handed again to the main architect for the author design development. Then, the design will be handed again to the other parties for any further development of the design and/or if there is any changes to be made and/or if there is any mistake done during the first stage of design development. If no changes are to be made, the design is to be handed to the engineer for the creation of construction documents: Architectural, MEP, Structural, and Civil Models. Then, the documents should be sent to the other parties again to evaluate the entire model in relation to cost estimation, 3D macro and micro coordination, 4D model, engineering analysis, and virtual prototypes. Lastly, the documents will be compiled and sent to the contractor. That is the time the actual construction will be started.
Ashcraft, H. W., 2008. Building information modeling: A framework for collaboration. Construction Lawyer, 28 (3), 1-14.
British Land and Oxford, n. d. The Leadenhall Building. [online] Available at:
Broquetas, M., n. d. List of BIM software & providers. [Online] Available at:
Epstein, E., 2012. Implementing successful building information modeling. Massachusetts: Artech House.
Khemlani, L., 2012a. Revit Architecture 2013. [Online] Available at:
Khemlani, L., 2012b. ArchiCAD 16. [Online] Available at:
Khemlani, L., 2008. Allplan BIM 2008 Architecture. [Online] Available at:
Laing O’Rourke, n. d. The Leadenhall Building. London. UK. [Online] Available at:
Rogers, R., 2012. The Cheese Grater London : The Leadenhall Building. [online] Available at:
Sears, S. K., Sears, G. A. and Clough, R. H., 2010. Construction project management: A practical guide to field construction management. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Smith, D. K. and Tardif, M., 2012. Building information modeling: A strategic implementation guide for architects, engineers, constructors, and real estate asset managers. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Weygant, R. S., 2011. BIM content development: Standards, strategies, and best practices. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.