BIM Technologies

BIM Technologies

Over the past week we have been blown away by how fast our 16 year old work experience student Olawale Labulo who is from Peckham has picked up Revit and learnt about the fundamentals of BIM.

Having no experience whatsoever with Revit, and only using Sketchup for around 6 months, some of the work he produced is highly impressive. Not only getting to grips with modelling in Revit but also the understanding of some of the more advanced tools in Revit, for example modeling parametric array families has really impressed us all.

Below is a sample of some of the work he has been doing and a short snippet of his concluding statement. After giving him a simple house to model (which he completed in a couple of hours) he took matters into his own hands and started to design his own building (apparently inspired from the computer game Minecraft!).

BIM Technology BIM Technology

Here at BIM Technologies I learnt how to use Revit at the basic level; learning how to make families, stairs, floors, ceilings, roofs and rendering. I also learned what they did as a job; help fix problems in building designs that they found in big builds they have been assigned with.

This experience at BIM Technologies hasn’t motivated me to pursue a career in Architecture because before coming to work at BIM Technologies  I already knew what career I wanted to pursue; to become an Architect. However it did give me a further insight to what was to expect in the line of Architecture. So overall I have always been motivated to pursue a career in Architecture, but this experience has enhanced the motivation I have in becoming an Architect.

The things I find interesting about these professions is that they get to work on wonderful buildings in London and across the UK. The thought of knowing that u help in the construction of an iconic building or just a wonderful looking build brings great joy to me.

Ola is sure to be a future star of Architecture or any other career he decides to pursue. All of us here at BIM Technologies wish him the best of luck in whatever he decides to do, and hope he remembers us when he’s famous! Reference COYO – Work experience student at BIM.Technologies by Ben Malone.

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Down Save Revit Models

Down Save Revit Models

Paul Crickard hates that Revit will not allow him to open a 2011 model in 2010. When upgrading to 2011, his office decided to only move certain projects over and leave others. They took in to account the fact that we could not down save and once They were in 2011 they were stuck in 2011.

There is a workaround! If you really need to open a model from a later version of Revit you can — by using IFC.

WARNING: You will lose information. Your walls, windows, doors, and some other elements will be safe, but the model will not be 100% complete — depending on how detailed it is.

To see what will export, go to EXPORT>OPTIONS>IFC OPTIONS


As you can see, Area Tags will not export by default. If you are familiar with the IFC tags you can export objects that are currently not exporting by specifying what tag should be used in the IFC.


Export your model to IFC. Voila! you now have a text file (.IFC) that should look as follows.


From an earlier version of Revit click R>OPEN>IFC and select the file. Now you have a 2011 model in 2010 or 2009. This is also a good way to get your file to many other programs.

DISCLAIMER: Paul Crickard does not recommend using this as a way to work on a daily basis. This tip is for those times when it is absolutely necessary to go between two different version of Revit. You should talk with all parties involved in a project and decide on a version before beginning your project.

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Revit 2016 Render Engine Comparison

Revit 2016 Render Engine Comparison

NVIDIA Mental Ray or Autodesk Raytracer? That is the question. I believe that both render engines have their advantages and disadvantages.
The first render engine comparison is of an exterior day render. The NVIDIA Mental Ray image is on the left, while the Autodesk Raytracer image is on the right. Even though these two renders were created using the same quality settings, sun settings etc., one can clearly see that the Autodesk Raytracer engine saturates colours far more than the NVIDIA Mental Ray engine.

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When comparing an internal night render, one can see that the NVIDIA Mental Ray engine is far more “realistic” than the Autodesk Raytracer engine. Pay attention to the floor lamp on the left. No electrical, nor photometric properties were changed between the two renders, yet something is “off” about the lamp lighting. (It might have been a mistake on my side)

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If you do not have access to a dedicated rendering/visualization program and you can only render from within Revit, if your renders do not look “perfect”, there is no need to start moaning about the “limitations” of the program. You have 5 main options to choose from:
1. Choose which render engine will give you the best result: NVIDIA Mental Ray, or Autodesk Raytracer.
2. If one of the above options do not give you the results you want, how about rendering through the Cloud?
3. If neither one of the above options work for you, start post processing the image inside of Revit. Change the Highlights, Saturation, Mid Tones, etc. to make your image as close to perfect as can be.
4. You always have the option to export your Revit model to an external software program, such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Showcase, Autodesk Navisworks, even Autodesk AutoCAD. From within these programs, you will be able to tweak your renders even further
5. Use post-processing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Make due with what you have. Make what you have work for you.

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

Sometimes when using BIM for presentation purposes, especially during the design development stages, the digital outputs can look a little too polished. In the past an architect might of used hand drawn sketches & diagrams to convey the design. New for Revit 2015 is the Sketchy Lines feature which emulates a hand drawn visual style. This feature is available to be applied to any graphic display style including 3d views, perspective views, elevations, sections & plan views.

You can adjust settings for Jitter and Extension to create unique interpretations of any visual style as shown. The Jitter slider allows to vary the weighting & clarity of the line as if you had drawn it with a pen or pencil, where as the Extension slider allows you to how far lines overlap at intersections. Check out Tim Waldocks detailed overview for more examples of how this feature can be used.

A 3d view with the Jitter set to 7 & no Extension:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

A 3d view with no Jitter & the Extension set to 10:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

The combination of the Jitter set to 7 & Extension set to 10:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

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Schedules Basics & Tips for Revit Beginner

Schedules Basics & Tips of Revit Beginner


Types of Schedules:

  • Schedule/Quantities Schedules: Schedule placed (and modeled in-place) families
  • Graphic Column Schedules: A graphical schedule of structural columns
  • Material Takeoff Schedules: Schedule materials in the project
  • Note Block Schedules: Schedule placed instances of a generic annotation family
  • Sheet List Schedules: Schedule sheets in the project
  • View List Schedules: Schedule views in the project
  • Embedded Schedules: In Schedules of Spaces, Electrical Circuits, Piping Systems, or Mechanical Systems
  • Key Schedules: Key in typical parameters to quickly populate large schedules of the same category
  • Keynote Legends: Keynote elements from a predefined list of Key Values & Text
  • Revision Schedules: Live in the titleblock families


There are a heck of a lot of cool ideas out there for schedules.  This post is a small fraction.

1.  Need to identify what type or category of schedule you are looking at?

  • In the Properties of the Schedule, edit “fields.” The type of Schedule is in the title of the window and the categories is often in the “Select from available fields” dropdown.
  • A Key Schedule will have an additional Parameter in the properties called “Parameter Name.”

2.  Is a Shared Parameter necessary?

  • Usually when you introduce a .rfa file (ex. tag or component) a shared parameter is necessary to tag or schedule the parameter. However, Generic Annotation families do not need to have shared parameters, to populate a Note Block Schedule.
  • In addition, a value that schedules for a system family does not need to be a shared parameter, unless you are also tagging it (.rfa).

3.  Are you using a Shared Parameter in a tag or component and you’re having trouble referencing it in your Key Schedules? 

  • Key Schedules will not support them. Consider FINALLY using those Hard-coded parameters that come with Revit families OOTB.  They ARE available in both tags and Key Schedules.

4.  Is text wrapping for your General Notes or other text (placed with the Text Tool) giving you grief? 

  • Consider creating a Key Schedule (preferably from an unused category). You will have all the flexibility of Schedules (and even access to some of the new enhancements).

5.  A material is in the model but you can’t find it in the Material Takeoff Schedule? 

  • Materials applied with the Paint Tool are excluded from a Material Takeoff Schedule

6.  A material is in the Material Takeoff Schedule but you can’t find it in the model?

  • Right Click and select “Show” to find where this item is in the model

7.  Want to manage in bulk the “issue dates” for sheets or the “title on sheet” for views?

  • Consider creating Sheet List and View List Schedules for internal QC

8.  Want to link an Excel File into Revit?

  • In Excel, Isolate just the portion of table you would like to import
  • Save as xls or xlsx
  • In AutoCAD, Create a table (command “TABLE”)
  • From a Data Link
  • Create a new excel data link
  • Browse to location of excel file
  • Select Excel sheet to link
  • Say OK and place in model view
  • In Revit, Create a new LEGEND view with scale set to 12” = 1’-0”
  • Link your dwg file into Revit
  • To Update your schedule
  • Make a change to the excel file and save
  • In the AutoCAD file, right click on table and “Update Table Data Links” and save
  • In Revit, Manage links and reload the DWG file
9.  Want to Calculate Costs for Material Areas or Volumes?

Formula examples:
  • QTO_Calc SF = yes/no parameter
  • QTO_Calc CF = not(Material: QTO_Calc SF)
  • QTO_Unit Cost = currency parameter
  • QTO_Unit Total = if(Material: QTO_Calc SF, (Material: QTO_Unit Cost * Material: Area / 1 SF), (Material: QTO_Unit Cost * Material: Volume / 1 CF))


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Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

“Cape Dutch architecture is a traditional Afrikaner architectural style found mostly in the Western Cape of South Africa. The style was prominent in the early days (17th century) of the Cape Colony, and the name derives from the fact that the initial settlers of the Cape were primarily Dutch. The style has roots in mediaeval Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia.

Houses in this style have a distinctive and recognisable design, with a prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables, reminiscent of features in townhouses of Amsterdam built in the Dutch style. The houses are also usually H-shaped, with the front section of the house usually being flanked by two wings running perpendicular to it. Furthermore, walls are whitewashed, and the roofs are thatched.

Most Cape Dutch buildings in Cape Town have been lost to new developments – particularly to high-rises in the City Bowl during the 1960s. However, the Cape Dutch tradition can still be seen in many of the farmhouses of the Wine Route, and historical towns such as Stellenbosch, Swellendam, Tulbagh and Graaff-Reinet.

One characteristic feature of South African colonial architecture which has attracted the attention of many observers is the extensive use of gables. Earlier research has repeatedly sought to justify the term `Cape-Dutch’ solely by comparing the decorative form of these gables to those of Amsterdam. However, in the second half of the 18th century, the period in which, the entire development of the South African gable tradition occurs, gable architecture had gradually ceased to be built in Amsterdam. North of Amsterdam, along the river Zaan, however, gable design remained vigorous until the capture of the Cape. South African gables have many features in common with gables along the river Zaan, in spite of the different materials used.”

Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

Reference Cape Dutch Architecture by  Herman Solomon.

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Modern Architecture Declassified

Modern Architecture Declassified

modern building

Art is the ultimate finesse of our human race. Architecture is the greatest inspiration and a powerful symbolic manifestation of our aesthetic fire. AE presents a wholly different perspective at viewing modern architecture.

Architecture is one part science, one part craft and two parts art,” mentions David Rutten. Art is the ultimate finesse of our human race. It’s the driving force. Goethe likens architecture to frozen music. It’s the greatest inspiration and a powerful symbolic manifestation of our aesthetic fire.

In this zeal, the buildings and structures that we architect are dynamic presentations of our drive to infuse life into them so that they become long-standing monuments that enthuse and charm the onlooker.

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space,” asserted Ludwig Mies, the pioneering 20th century American architect. He devoted all his life to capturing the spirit of his times into his architecture, which we know today as ‘Modernist architecture.’ Like any great artistic movement, modernism presented a wholly different perspective at viewing architecture.

Modernism: The 20th century provided diverse, and sometimes disparate, approaches to building design. Modernist architecture lays significant emphasis on the buildings being functional and we notice a marked rebellion against traditional design styles that were overtly obsessed with architectural ornamentation. The roots of Modernism are founded in applying scientific and analytical methods to building design.

With scant regard for ornamentation, prefabricated factory-made components of metal and concrete were heavily used. The stark buildings habitually ran counter to traditional expectations and ingeniously appeared to defy gravity. Architects of this era often drew on several design philosophies to architect buildings that are both unique and startling.

Modernism planted seeds for many off-shoots in the later decades. The different stylistic architectural movements are detailed further on. It must be kept in mind that these classifications cannot be water-tight compartments because any artistic movement influences other movements in multi-lateral ways. Therefore, it could be very frequent that one style runs into the other. At times, one building could be based upon an amalgamation of multiple styles too.

Bauhaus: Bauhaus is a German expression for ‘house for building.’ In 1919, the German economy was crumbling after the First World War. A new architectural institution called Bauhaus was established, headed by Walter Gropius, to rebuild the country through a rational community housing for the working class. Bauhaus architects discarded “bourgeois” specialties like eaves, cornices, and decorative details. They strove to use the basic forms of Classical architecture in the most basic form, devoid of any ornamentation. 

Bauhaus buildings are characterized by flat roofs, cubic shapes, and smooth facades. The colors are simple in their use of white, beige, gray, or black. Even floor plans are open housing functional furniture. The chief architect, Walter Gropius, built his home in Massachusetts following the same philosophy.

When the Nazis disbanded the Bauhaus school, the principal Bauhaus leaders migrated to the US, where they applied the same principles to public and corporate buildings. The American form of Bauhaus architecture took the name of ‘International Style.’ 

Brutalism: Brutalism is another architectural movement that produced stark, angular and economical concrete buildings. The term ‘brutalism’ was first used in reference to Le Corbusier’s simple concrete buildings in the 50s. Brutalism grew as an offshoot of the International Style, but the designs may seem less refined. 

Top Brazilian architect, Paulo Mendes, is another famous for following this style. Brutalist buildings are constructed economically in smaller time-frames. This is made possible by using precast concrete slabs. These buildings are noticeable for their rough unfinished surfaces and exposed steel beams.

Expressionism: Expressionism found its inspiration from the work of avant garde artists and designers in France, Germany, and other European countries during the first quarter of the last century. The distinctive features of expressionist buildings are the massive distorted shapes that blow symmetry to the winds. Fragmented contours are prominent and they seem like sculpted forms, even though the construction material is primarily brick and concrete.

The desired end product of expressionist architects was to have biomorphic and organic designs that were akin to forms found in Nature. This movement went on to magnify into a different style altogether which is popularly known as organic architecture. 

Neo-expressionism: Neo-expressionism owes its roots to expressionist ideas. Architects through the 1950s and 60s indulged in designing buildings that gave shape to their feelings about the surrounding landscape. The buildings suggested the forms of rocks and mountains. Brutalist and Organic architecture are often described to represent Neo-expressionism.

Formalism: As evident from the name, Formalism lays great emphasis on ‘form.’ The architect’s sole concern lies in accentuating visual relationships between different parts of the building and the entire structure as one unified whole. The overall shape of the structure is given monumental attention. Lines and rigid geometric shapes are predominant in Formalist architecture.

The Bank of China Tower, built by renowned architect I. M. Pei, is the most acclaimed example of Formalist architecture. Mr. Pei is highly praised for his “elegant formalism” in building design.

International Style: International Style grew from Bauhaus architecture in the United States. While German Bauhaus architecture dealt with the social aspects of design, America’s International Style took a symbolic position of Capitalism. The International Style swept across large office buildings and even found way to upscale homes for American elites. The United Nations Secretariat building and the Seagram Building in New York are considered the finest in International Style.

A typical International Style high-rise has a square or rectangular floor-plan. It has a simple cubic “extruded rectangle” form with all facades at right angles to each other. ‘Form follows function’ is the guiding principle of the building design. There is complete rejection of ornament but transparency of the building is given a prime position. To achieve this, glass is heavily used in the exteriors, held together by steel and concrete beams. Industrialized mass-production processes give a machine aesthetic to the building.

Minimalism: One striking trend in Modernist architecture is the growing shift towards minimalist or reductivist design. Acclaimed architect Ludwig Mies is said to have pioneered this architectural style, inspired by the motto “less is more.” Traditional Japanese architecture that values simplicity and abstraction is also said to have a deep influence.

The hallmark of a minimalist building is that it is stripped of almost all essential interior elements like the walls. The outline, or the frame, of the structure is given greater value. Floor plans are quite open and negative spaces surrounding the structure form a part of the overall design. Lighting is directed to dramatize planes and lines. 

The Mexico City home of award-winning Mexican architect Luis Barragán is Minimalist due to its emphasis on open spaces and dramatically lit planes.

Structuralism: Structuralism is founded in the belief system that all matter is built from a system of opposing signs like male/female, hot/cold, old/young, etc. For Structuralists, design is a process of searching for the relationship between different elements. They are also curious about the social structures and mental processes that contribute to the design. 

Structuralist architecture can be vastly complex within a highly structured framework. For example, a Structuralist design may have a cell-like honeycomb shape, cubed grids, intersecting planes, or densely clustered spaces with connecting courtyards. The Berlin Holocaust Memorial is a notable Structuralist work by architect Peter Eisenman.

Postmodernism: In the later part of the twentieth century, designers rebelled against the rationalism followed in Modernist architecture and took to more abstract styles. Postmodern architecture germinated from modernist movement, yet blatantly contradicts most modernist ideas. Postmodernist buildings combine new ideas with traditional forms to startle, surprise, and amuse its viewer. Familiar shapes are metamorphosed in unexpected ways. Buildings may, at times, incorporate symbols to make a statement.

Philip Johnson’s AT&T Headquarters (now the SONY Building) is often referred as an epitome of postmodernism. The skyscraper has a sleek classical façade with the top being an oversized “Chippendale” pediment. 

Deconstructivism: Deconstructivism (or the literary root: Deconstruction) is an approach to building design that attempts to view architecture in bits and pieces. The basic elements of architecture are dismantled. Deconstructivist buildings may seem to have no visual logic. They may appear to be made up of unrelated, abstract, and disharmonious forms. Deconstructive ideas are borrowed from the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. The Seattle Public Library by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is a monumental example of Deconstructivist architecture.

High Tech: High-tech buildings make heavy use of construction materials like steel, aluminum, and glass that combine with brightly colored girders, beams, and braces to give it a machine-like look. Most parts of the building are prefabricated in a factory and assembled on-site. The support beams, duct work, and other functional elements are innovatively placed on the exterior facade, which becomes the focus of attention. The interior spaces are open and adaptable for multiple purposes. 
The Centre Pompidou in Paris is an iconic High-tech building. Its ‘inside-out’ architecture reveals the inner workings on the exterior facade.

Organic Architecture: The Art Nouveau architects of the early twentieth century first incorporated curving, plant-like organic shapes into their building designs. But in the later half of the twentieth century, Modernist architects took the concept of organic architecture to new heights. By using new forms of concrete and cantilever trusses, architects could create swooping arches without visible beams or pillars. Organic buildings are never linear or rigidly geometric. Instead, wavy lines and curved shapes are replicated to suggest natural forms.

The Sydney Opera House in Australia with its sail-like motifs, the shell-like spiral forms of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and the ocean motifs of Sea Ranch Chapel in California are fine examples of organic architecture. Reference architectural evangelist.

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How important is availability of As built model for facility management?

How important is availability of As built model for facility management?

As buit for FM
As buit for FM

Facility management (FM) team can ensure efficient management, only if they are provided with clear, current and easily-accessible asset information. But, many times, it is not happened due to the unavailability of the documents, when the requirement for information is highest.

Traditional way of Facility management

In traditional method, the facility management team gets a set of documents including as-built drawings, 2D plans, specifications, manuals and perhaps a 3D building model at completion for facility operation and maintenance. But, many times, the documents are incomplete and so hard to understand. Moreover, they may not be compatible with FM software.

If the information is uniformed in to a record model of the as-built facility using the 3D building models for design, analysis, construction planning , 4D coordination and fabrication, this models can upoort the day-to-day operations and planning. Thus the facility management team can ensure reliable and efficient operation.

Rise of new generation system – BIM

The solution to the common issues in FM is a new generation of systems and process, which is called as Building information modeling (BIM). BIM is not a mere drawing and labeling tool like a CAD system. There are many tools, processes and methodologies in this new system. As it provides a three dimensional representation of a building with all database storage mechanisms for properties about every elements of the building, it is beneficial for everybody in an industry including architecture, engineer, constructor etc. Even though the migration from a CAD to BIM may take time and effort, the benefits are many like tome-savings, cost and information retention.

Explosive growth of 6D BIM in FM

BIM facilitates increased teamwork and collaboration during the design and construction stage. It also results significant cost reduction and dramatic productivity increase. BIM can also influence the facility management in a big level. Facility management includes many things like asset management and allocation, facility maintenance and operation etc. BIM can present a simple centralized facility management data solution in a relational database. It links 3D geometric building data to its function and use and thus eliminate redundant information.

“As Built” Modeling

“As built” BIM model documents the built reality. We can maintain the model updated during construction by incorporating design modifications.

as built model for facility management

  • The “as-built” BIM model is used as a basis in 6D technical facility management, as it helps to include all the necessary data for management tools in building service model. Since it helps exactly position conducts, pipes, devices and other elements, it saves time and materials.
  • “As-built modeling helps identify existing construction materials and structural elements as well as the exact positioning of devices like pipes and conducts. So it is also time and resource saving assisting in project management and alteration works.
  • 6D real estate management allows all types of operations and the exact positioning of spaces and their characteristics.

Importance of As built model for facility management

The updates “as built” BIM model is a valuable resource for facility managers. It is an efficient tool for controlling operation and maintenance tasks. It provides all important information about building service components including serial numbers, model-names, tech sheets, warranties, maintenance manuals, schedules and servicing logs etc. BIM models can also be constructed from existing, as-built model. Even though there is no as-built record, we can easily capture dimensional information using 3D laser scanning devices and convert them from scan to bim. Several facility managers use this method to capture as-built information and create BIM model. Reference Bim forum.

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Science World reaps benefits of BIM

Moving into the 21st Century – Science World reaps benefits of BIM

Science World reaps benefits of BIM

Science World reaps benefits of BIM : Traditional paper-based drawings may be the status quo for many in the Canadian construction industry but some leading-edge innovators have made the transition into the digital world. Building Information Management (BIM) has already taken root in some sectors and is proving to be an invaluable tool – even in the piling industry.

BIM by design

“I’ve been using BIM for about eight or nine years now,” states Geraldine Rayner, vice-president of Consulting Services, Summit BIM Consulting Ltd. “Unfortunately, the adoption rate across the industry has been patchy at best.”

According to Rayner, there is still a lot of confusion around the concept of BIM. This has led to some hesitation and a slow adoption rate.

“BIM is a process of utilizing digital technology to convey information rather than paper,” she says. “Some in the architectural community are using BIM to produce black and white traditional drawings. A small number of people are using it as a tool to create a digital prototype – that’s where the real value comes into the equation.”

The use of BIM-enabled software allows users to access and manipulate data throughout the various stages of construction – from the design through to facilities management.

“BIM is really about trying to take the digital prototype from the manufacturing side of the industry and applying it to the architectural and owner side,” adds Rayner. “We can do the estimating, the time analysis, scheduling, ordering, etc. – all from a 3D prototype. This allows us to resolve any potential problems before they occur – and well before getting to the actual job site.”

Key benefits

There are many significant advantages inherent in the use of BIM, according to Summit BIM Consulting. These include: collaboration, cost certainty, facility asset management, improved quality, informed decision making, increased productivity, reduced FM cost, reuse of data, reduced changes, reduced risk, and sustainable design analysis/visualization.

At the end of the day, BIM can reduce a project’s overall costs and improve efficiencies along the way.

A report from the Construction Task Force in the United Kingdom, Rethinking Construction, cites recent studies that suggest: up to 30 per cent of construction is rework; labour is used at only 40 to 60 per cent of potential efficiency; accidents can account for three to six per cent of total project costs; and at least 10 per cent of materials are wasted.

“More than 30 per cent of the cost of a project is tied up in inefficiencies, delays and wastage,” states Rayner. “As we learn to use BIM effectively, we can reduce this percentage. But the potential exists to eradicate it completely.”

Rayner describes BIM as a number of different tools. Each segment of the construction industry has its own tool but there is a common “language” that allows everyone to talk to each other. The information is entered once and then used repeatedly throughout the different phases of the project. It may involve a bit more work at the front end but that extra work will reap digital rewards throughout the entire project – even once that project has been handed to the owner in the facilities and operations management phase.

A 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report on infrastructure productivity states that: “A key source of savings in project delivery is investing heavily in early-stage project planning and design. This can reduce costs significa