An application proposed in part by Eric Du, Texas A&M assistant professor of construction science, will help construction companies improve their 3-D, immersive building models by comparing their development and performance with models throughout the industry.
The project, detailed by Du and his colleagues in their paper, “BIM Cloud Score: Benchmarking BIM Performance,” published in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, earned the 2015 Best Scholarly Paper Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Builders increasingly use complex 3-D digital building representations, known as building information models, because of their many advantages over 2-D paper drawings, such as heightened collaboration among architects, builders and engineers; early detection of costly “clashes” such as electrical conduits or air ducts that, due to design errors, occupy the same space as a ceiling beam, and many more.
In their paper, Du and his colleagues describe their proposed app, which would calculate a model’s performance based on 20 metrics, including its effect on jobsite productivity, the quality and usefulness of the model, how often it was consulted during construction, and the length and cost of its development.
Their proposal includes metrics recommended by contractors, architects, engineers, their clients and BIM software developers.
The app would also compare a companies’ BIM performance with that of other companies using a database, also proposed by Du and his colleagues, of model performance metrics submitted by firms across the nation. Companies could use these comparisons to improve their BIM performance scores.
“The app would also provide an overall view of the status of the industry’s BIM utilization efforts,” wrote the authors, “and ultimately aid the development of a BIM performance protocol.”
Jesús M. de la Garza, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, praised the concept, noting that the paper will help practitioners and researchers by “providing the information necessary to develop BIM protocols that can be shared across the facility design and construction industry;” and by “helping to advance BIM performance by providing comparisons among peer modelers.”
Du’s project partners are Raja R. A. Issa, Holland Professor of Construction Management, University of Florida and Rui Liu, assistant professor of Construction Science, University of Texas at San Antonio.