Just as architects and designers embraced Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the early part of the 21stcentury, nearly 20 years later, BIM for manufacturing has become equally important. At first glance, it may be difficult to see how BIM, typically used in the construction space, can apply to manufacturing. Indeed, it is the very ubiquity of BIM in construction that requires any company that manufactures products used in construction to use BIM.
For instance, any manufacturer of plumbing products, HVAC, electrical components, home appliances, light fixtures, doors, windows, railings, and other items used to build and design homes, office buildings, stadiums, and other architectural constructs, who is able to offer BIM-ready content will outshine the manufacturers who don’t have that ability Construction company, building owners, and contractors want to work with suppliers that make their own BIM requirements as seamless as possible. By providing BIM ready data for the products you manufacture, your chances of having your products specified for projects increases substantially. Moreover, BIM is rapidly becoming a requirement, not just something that can make your preferred provider, so it’s important to ensure that you create and supply the correct content to maintain the potential to supply BIM-based projects.
It’s important to note that 2016 is the end of a 5-year plan by the Federal Government to mandate BIM for all government-related construction. Even if you do not participate in government projects, this government mandate is sure to affect commercial construction as well.
BIM Requirements and Benefits
As BIM becomes more widely necessary in manufacturing, it’s important to note that the types of product information required will depend on the types of product (building services, furniture, windows, etc.) but the same key benefits for manufacturers will apply:
- Fewer queries from designers
- Differentiation of products/supplier
- Product preference at design time, during specification and during construction
- Increased maintenance/spare part sales
The key factor that manufacturers should understand is that eventually the provision of building product BIM information will become a requirement, so they should prepare now.
Transitioning to BIM in Manufacturing
When you are ready to make the move to BIM, start by identifying the product lines that need BIM enabled models. Then, begin to generate content with all the necessary BIM object information like part numbers and descriptions, available materials and finishes, performance criteria, electrical requirements, LEED certification, code compliance, etc. Finally decide how you will deliver 3D BIM enabled models in a format that the builders, designers, and contractors you supply can use.
BIM has many advantages over traditional CAD design methods and represents a completely different approach to building design, documentation, and manufacturing. Because 3D CAD automates the traditional design process, you will also need to generate CAD drawings are created as stand-alone documents. Manufacturing design changes in the 3D BIM model, also need to be applied to each CAD drawing.