Building Information Modelling, or BIM, is a collection of tools, processes, and technologies intended to allow Built Environment professionals from the entire lifecycle and productive chain of a building project to collaborate and communicate in a transparent and efficient way. It uses data, digital information, 3D modelling software, and collaborative software to allow all stakeholders in the building project to deliver and contribute to a successful project.
Imagine a 3D model of a building project that allows architects to produce their designs down to individual balustrades and railings, empowers civil and structural engineers to test out the structural integrity of a proposed prefabricated steel rebar support, enables mechanical and electrical engineers to understand the wiring schema in granular detail, and allows plumbing and sanitation engineers to plan out their work down to every last pipe. All for the same building! And all in the same system where everyone has visibility of the collaborative effort. This is BIM, and it is fast changing the building landscape in Singapore.
BIM unlocks elevated productivity, efficiency, and savings of time, money, and effort for contractors who manage projects but also facility managers who maintain the project after delivery from the contractor (imagine the savings from a system that allows full view of the building’s components in one place). It is the bleeding edge of process digitalisation and collaboration in the building industry. The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) has thus not surprisingly set a goal of 80% of Singaporean Built Environment professionals to be BIM certified by 2030–an ambitious goal by any standard. In conjunction with achieving this goal, the Budget 2021 has proposed a Growth and Transformation Scheme (GTS) to accelerate the upskilling of Built Environment professionals across the industry value chain and the digitalisation of industry processes.
This goal is not without cause, and Built Environment professionals would be wise to notice the developing trends and undercurrents belying this paradigm shift. The Singapore Budget 2021, the SG Green Plan, and the Singapore Green Building Master Plan (SGBMP) 2030 (all released or updated over the last few weeks) all underline major shifts in how infrastructure in Singapore is expected to be in the near future. In the future, Singaporean projects are expected to be more digitally-enabled, with cleaner construction processes, more energy efficiency, smarter facilities management, and sustainable features.
All of this contributes to the growing complexity and interconnectedness of building projects. Built Environment projects in the near future will need to contend with management of newer, more sustainable technological and structural components and will also require cooperation with sustainability consultants or energy efficiency experts. Tying all of these disparate elements together will require BIM, and much of it. Firms will need to adapt, or perish as more and more projects begin to demand international BIM standards that they simply cannot rise up to.
Professionals will need to recognise these tailwinds and sail forward with them before they inevitably become hurricane gales that sweep them away.