What is known as Building Information Modeling, a high-tech process designed especially for use by builders, architects, and planners, has long enticed management experts touting its modern age potential.
Now, growing numbers of the construction industry are embracing BIM, notes a new survey jointly conducted by the Association of General Contractors and the Atlanta-based Sage Construction and Real Estate, promising a new kind of work efficiency.
The survey, published as a part of the 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, notes that nearly 33 percent of more than 1,300 responding construction firms are currently using both BIM methods and offsite fabrication.
At the same time, nearly half of the responding firms are investing more in Internet solutions.
“Contractors are increasingly comfortable with IT, including file-sharing sites, online project collaboration software, moving data to the cloud, and various uses of mobile software technology,” says the report.
The downside of embracing IT technology, continues the report, is seen in the comments of nearly 25 percent of respondents who took note of the “time needed to implement and train on new technology.”
Even so, some 28 percent of respondents said they are putting money into laser and GPS-guided equipment, as well as robots, drones, and 3-D printers.
A smaller number, at 19 percent, indicated that they are using BIM technology for both clash detection and design process constructability input.
“In addition,” say the report, 14 percent of respondents say they are now using BIM technology to “visually communicate project scope to clients,” while others use it for cost-estimating, scheduling, and workforce planning.
Finally, construction companies appear to be increasingly comfortable with cloud-based technology or the ability to host a software service or platform from a remote location.
In this category, a leading 44 percent of companies say they are using cloud-based technology simply for daily field reports, while 40 percent have implemented the technology for accessing customer and job information from the field.
Respondents also mentioned that they were turning to cloud-based solutions to share drawings, photos and documents.
Adds the report: “Only 3 percent of respondents report that they have no plan to use mobile technology software, a decrease from 5 percent in last year’s survey.”
By Garry Boulard
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