by Frederike Berg
Digital construction planning with BIM
Whether it's calculations, planning sketches or communication with each other - the good old pen and paper is slowly but surely being sent into a well-deserved retirement, also for us in scaffolding. Digitization not only makes many work steps clearer, but also faster and more precise. We have long since encountered modern software and methods directly on the construction site. This also includes BIM, short for Building Information Modeling. BIM is a digital method that allows you to shorten communication paths and increase your planning reliability. But what exactly does that mean and how can you use BIM effectively for your scaffolding projects?
What is BIM ?
To make a scaffolding project successful, you need not only the right scaffolding material, foresighted planning and plenty of know-how, but also good communication and coordination among those involved. Whether architects, project managers or engineers: each of them has important data and information for you as a scaffolder, which you need for the erection and dismantling of your scaffold. The other parties involved are no different. Hard-to-follow paperwork and missing information are often pre-programmed.
In order not to always have to chase after the information needed, a common data pool to which everyone involved has access and which is continuously updated saves valuable time for the execution of the actual project. BIM can do just that - and more. BIM not only enables an efficient exchange of information between the parties, but also simplifies the further project planning steps. Thanks to a digital model equipped with object attributes of the building, time sequences can be optimally planned without colliding with other trades. By digitally capturing all necessary data of the planned construction object, a seamless flow of information among all parties involved is established, preventing tedious duplicate data exchange and even the loss of up-to-date information. This also helps after the construction project has already been completed, because the data organized by BIM can be accessed over the entire lifetime of a structure, e.g. in the case of renovation work.
How does BIM improve your work in scaffolding?
Scaffolding is teamwork - and not just among scaffolders themselves. Communication with other trades should also run as smoothly as possible so that individual work steps can be optimally planned and executed. But you surely know from your own experience that the exchange with others involved in construction is on the one hand what makes your job so exciting, but on the other hand it can be challenging. Sometimes the latest information on the project is missing, sometimes there is a collision with the work of another trade despite the most careful advance planning. Especially with large and complex projects, things might easily get lost. A central data pool therefore gives you a decisive increase in planning reliability.
At the same time, BIM has decisive advantages in terms of your work preparation. Because BIM also means that your entire material stock is digitalised. For example, by means of tags in or QR codes on your scaffolding material, you always have an overview of how much of a scaffolding component is where in your warehouse and also what and how much of it is on the truck that is just leaving your yard for the construction site. This not only saves you a lot of time, but also reduces errors in work preparation. The digitalization fo your scaffolding material prevents individual parts from being forgotten when loading a truck and saves you the re-ordering of scaffolding material.
In addition to the improvement of your work preparation, the advantages of creating the central 3D model with BIM, not only for new construction but also for renovation and conversion, should not be underestimated. This model then either represents a building throughout its entire service life and is thus also available for future maintenance measures or, in the case of a missing model, becomes a valuable data source for upcoming work. Particularly in the case of historic buildings, it can happen that you do not have as-built plans of the individual sections of the building you will be working on. With BIM, you can achieve a high degree of planning reliability, nevertheless. For example, the complex renovation of the Ulm Cathedral in Germany, which boasts the largest church tower in the world, was successfully implemented using 3D laser scanning and BIM despite the lack of as-built plans. Collisions of the free-standing scaffolding with the centuries old building fabric could thus be ruled out at an early stage. This is just one of the examples that show how BIM can also help you as a scaffolder to achieve optimum results of your work.
But how exactly does the process work? Here is a brief overview:
- Step 1: The data of the planned building is read in by the customer or a service provider.
- Step 2: This is where you come in! Your scaffolding material data is read in. After an appropriate training by a software provider, you can either do this yourself or have a service provider e.g. your scaffolding supllier do it for you.
- Step 3: The 3D model of the structure is digitally scaffolded and can now be edited. The requirements for the scaffold are thus clearly defined and collisions with the building structure are ruled out in advance.
- Step 4: You or your service provider return the digitally scaffolded building as a IFC-file. Now the building data, the dimensions of the scaffold, the costs and your assembly times are stored in the modell and are transparent for all parties involved.
- Step 5: The data collected in this way is not only useful on the construction site, but also well in advance when you are preparing a quotation for your customer. The data that can be called up in the model can help you to match inventory data, capacities and more, and thus issue a well-founded quotation.
Leading the way with BIM
On the whole, working with BIM enables you and your team to handle even larger and more complex project orders. These in particular are increasingly being implemented using the BIM method due to the reduction of errors during planning. In Europe, it is primarily the UK and Scandinavia that are leading the way in terms of BIM. In Great Britain, BIM is even mandatory for every public project. But also in Germany the use of BIM has been mandatory for publicly awarded infrastructure projects since the end of 2020, and France and Italy want to follow suit. But the USA is furthest along in the mandatory application of BIM, followed by Canada. Read more about each country’s BIM implementation here.
The main reason for the internationally increased use of BIM: Mishaps in terms of communication gaps affecting time and cost management should thus be avoided in the future. Being able to work with BIM can not only give you a big advantage in practice, but also prepare you for the future. It is foreseeable that BIM will become an integral part of project implementation in the future.
The advantages of BIM for scaffolders at a glance:
- Communication without loss of information and improved collaboration between project participants
- Central data management that creates more planning reliability, e.g. by enabling simulation and visualization of your scaffold
- Early error analysis through simplified controlling
- Improved work preparation due to fully digitalized stock
- International competitive advantage due to higher efficiency, productivity and quality of scaffold project implementation
- Cost and schedule security
- Well-founded offers for the customer
- Mobile access to all data directly on the construction site
You want to know more about BIM? Then get in touch with our team!
Comment by Henda Knobel |
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