Like many other countries construction in India is booming to keep pace with the growing need for both urban development and new infrastructures. At the same time technology is moving quickly to assist with these complicated developments with a key player emerging as Building Information Modelling (BIM). This article looks at the benefits of hiring a BIM agency in India and what this could cost to help construction companies consider whether this is the right option for their project.
What benefits are there to using BIM?
In a nutshell, BIM is assisting the AECO industry to reduce delays and costly overruns, implementation of more advanced 5D BIM also can avoid potential litigation. A 3D digital model of the planned construction is produced to allow design issues to be resolved before building even starts; more data can be analysed alongside the model to include scheduling and cost information thus avoiding costly delays dues to clashes as well as expensive reworking, this is 4D BIM. For a complete visualisation of the project, 5D BIM considers cost, schedule and spatial design for the entirety of the project from conception to demolition to everyone involved in the project. Management of ongoing versus target costing particularly helps avoid potential litigation.
Does my project need a BIM agency?
The design stage any project can cost between 5 – 20% of the total budget, but caution should be erred when deciding whether to cut cost in this area, a lower design spend could lead to problems later and incur unexpected construction costs.
Consider also overall savings in this example:
20% of a $200,000 project is to be spent on design or $40,000 seeking a 5% reduction in this saves $2000 but when we think about the larger construction cost of $180,000 of total budget gaining a 5% reduction here would save a huge $9000. Consider whether this is achievable if you have a more robust design.
What varies the cost of BIM agency input?
Some projects require the use of a civil engineer particularly if they are subject to governmental or other regulations. India is no exception in the last ten years the need for qualified civil engineers has grown with the need for construction. Ensure that a civil engineer is used should this is mandatory but consider it for all complicated projects. It is increasingly likely that a civil engineer will recommend the use of BIM technology due to its significant benefits and potential cost saving.
Various factors will affect the cost of BIM agency involvement such as the level of detail (3D, 4D or 5D) you desire or the project demands. Focusing on the project generally the larger the project, the higher the cost but note that more complicated or special projects such as sewage works or dams will have a higher cost regardless of size. The nature of the workforce may also impact cost. Obviously, a larger workforce takes a larger scale of the organisation to ensure scheduling is fit for purpose. But the involvement of numerous contractors such as electrical, water, gas services, plumbing all need coordination, a greater number of contractors may also increase cost.
The experience of the BIM agency is important as is their understanding of local regulations (which vary both from country to country but also in different states). Obviously, more experienced agencies may command a higher fee, but this must be balanced with potential savings this type of knowledge could gain.
Do I need 5D BIM?
The Indian government has made a significant investment to grow the AECO industry, this along with the development of many mega-structures such as the metro train project has increased focus on the use of technologies including BIM.
The amount of detail needed for each project will vary, but it may be desirable to gain more information at this early stage to reduce construction costs but also remember that 5D BIM looks at the entire life of a project. This will factor in such changes as future greenhouse gas emissions, refurbishment and indeed life expectancy before demolition thus managing ongoing costs as well as initial build. This is potentially crucial for the future of the construction industry in India, being able to construct a building at low cost is desirable but delivering a higher quality construction with a longer lifespan and lower ongoing running costs is highly desirable.
While cost will vary from company to company, we can assess the impact both on initial costs of construction and over the lifetime of the building by comparing possible savings.
Having an efficient design produced by a BIM agency could reduce conflict and reworking during construction by up to 55% and improve the quality of the finished structure by 50% leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction and giving an extremely desirable reduction of up to 20% in construction cost. Use of BIM can also improve structural performance by up to 35% meaning the lifespan of the buildings will be longer. If we compare savings over time including operational costs with construction costs a 33% reduction of the total anticipated spend is possible.
Using these figures, our previous construction example with an anticipated spend for construction of $200,000, would potentially reduce to $160,000, giving a massive saving of $40,000 in initial costs.
[This is a general example and exact savings would be the result of numerous factors].
Each project needs a careful cost analysis to compare the cost and savings of various factors. The use of BIM technology and hiring a BIM agency in india to do this is certainly an important one to consider as the potential benefits of avoiding delays and reworking to construction will definitely lead to savings. India has a growing construction need which will drive down the cost of BIM agencies and increase the savings for developers.