BIM: IS IT THE ONLY IN CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSULTING?

BIM: IS IT THE ONLY IN CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSULTING?

BIM: IS IT THE ONLY IN CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSULTING?

BIM: IS IT THE ONLY IN CIVIL ENGINEERING CONSULTING?

Everybody is talking about BIM, Building Information Modeling, as if there is no value remained for fundamental civil engineering. Of course, I completely respect the usefulness of the tool and the technology but it does not replace the engineering part of any project.

No doubt, it’s an important tool for pre-engineering, clash detection and resolving, as well as facility maintenance but we need to consider the fitment of the same in the value chain of a project. If we go by 80-20 split, 80% should be hard core civil engineering (including Architecture, Structures and MEP Designs) and the remaining 20% should go for BIM as an Importance Factor. I may be wrong but it is portrayed the other way round by various stake holders involved in the project. Isn’t it? Or is the need being created/forced by the software companies?

Look at the market, the traction for BIM, in terms of projects or job opportunities and it seems that it is a huge market. It may be, but it should not be a replacement for engineering candidates. Everyone wants to build a BIM team for various reasons.

  1. A definite piece of business on any civil engineering project
  2. Client gets very delighted to see 3D, 4D, 5D as well as Renderings and Visualization parts
  3. Don’t need highly qualified engineers to run the show of modeling
  4. Less or almost zero liability
  5. At times, better hourly rates for modeling than engineering
  6. Lucrative offers for Junior, mid-level detailers / modelers compared to engineers and everyone is happy

Granted every business has its own roots and basis but what should the new generation choose for their career in future? Most of the industry is driven by “supply-demand” equation and apparently there are many jobs available for BIM competency, may it be Architectural, Structural or MEP. BIM world is portrayed as very fancy-lucrative industry and it appears everyone is chasing it.

If majority of the new generation goes only BIM way, who would design the foundations, slabs, beams, columns, shear walls, etc.? Who would do the feasibility studies, concept engineering and detailed engineering? It’s easy to model these elements but more in depth knowledge is required to analyze, design and detail out structural elements. We need codal compliances, knowledge of local standard, construction practices, specifications, safety norms, wind / seismic analysis criterions and so on. If BIM modeling in a building goes wrong, a contractor may have to drill a hole thru a beam to pass a pipe/conduit or run a HVAC duct below the beam, making some problems for the head room or the false ceiling. However, if the structural engineering goes wrong, structural elements could crack or bend, a building may buckle, in the worst case collapse, damaging the property and importantly the lives, which we can’t put a value on.

So, what is important in overall business? Is it structural engineering or BIM modeling? I agree it should be a good balance of both as neither could be ignored or bypassed in a project life cycle. Still, the questions remain how we give weightage to engineering aspect verses the modeling aspect. Copied from article by Mr. Mandar on LinkedIn.

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