This technology is increasingly used by consulting engineers in their quest to design and construct buildings that account for client requirements and criteria from the outset, to avoid budget wastage.

“The power of BIM is being able to manage large amounts of data efficiently and use the data to decrease waste and cost across either large, complex institutional campuses or smaller residential developments,” says Kevin O’Neill, the Principal at H.H. Angus & Associates Consulting Engineers in Toronto.

In the construction phase, BIM is used primarily to integrate the various disciplines — architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, etc. — into one model, says the H.H. Angus Principal. A well-coordinated model will reduce clashes and ensure that all building elements and services are properly located with proper clearances for future maintenance.

“Using BIM to create an accurate energy model is a must to determine the impact of the key strategies in the overall performance of the building,”

A design priority for some building design clients will be the integration of environmentally sustainable elements, which will be established during preliminary discussions to create a green building.

Creating an accurate energy model

“Using BIM to create an accurate energy model is a must to determine the impact of the key strategies in the overall performance of the building,” says O’Neill. These elements are then input into the 3D BIM model. This includes equipment like heat recovery wheels, solar collectors, rain water harvesting tanks, among others.
The concept of BIM has been taken to the next level with the introduction of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), which assembles and coordinates the all the diverse suppliers and contributors on a given project.

“The contract is set up as an open book with all stakeholders providing their cost and profit to form the overall project budget,” says O’Neill. This is then reviewed and approved by the client. “The IPD team continues to refine the scope during the design and implementation process to reduce waste and lower the cost of design and construction.”