How BIM Mitigates Risk in Construction Projects

Anna Liza

Construction projects always come with a high amount of risk. Without careful planning and preparation, numerous design, operational, and safety issues might arise. Fortunately, the digital age provides us with tools and methodologies that help construction managers minimize risk and ensure the integrity of their project.

Building information modeling (also known as BIM) is the process of digitally developing the features of a building using specialized software. The generated model and related information are usually used throughout the building’s life — from design and constriction to exploitation and maintenance. By using BIM, managers can significantly reduce the risk of issues, errors, and oversights across the board.

In this article, we will take a look at some specific examples of how BIM mitigates risk in construction projects. However, let’s take a look at what risk assessment encompasses and what construction managers need to take into account when starting a project.

Risk Assessment in Construction Projects

How BIM Mitigates Risk in Construction Projects

When it comes to mitigating risk in construction, there are a lot of different factors to consider. One unfortunate fact is that workers in the construction industry are at higher risk of sustaining injuries or even suffer fatal accidents. To counter this, managers need to carefully plan out their labor needs in the pre-construction stage and ensure that on-site hazards are down to a minimum.

Lack of proper planning and risk mitigation in the design phase can lead to a lot of issues with the project. From delays in schedule to unexpected reworks due to wrong calculations — such matters must be avoided at all costs. Identifying potential issues before construction begins is essential to the success of the project.

During the construction phase, there needs to be clear communication between all parties involved in the process. On top of that, any important information, such as reports and analysis, must always be kept up to date and accessible to all. Otherwise, managers might find themselves behind schedule or short on funds due to internal miscommunication.

Risk assessment must go past the design and construction phases and extend to the operational phase as well. Even after a building is ready, there are a variety of factors that need to be monitored and evaluated. Additionally, a construction manager must work with the future in mind and consider the possibility of remodeling or renovation work.

BIM software has the potential of helping out construction professionals with risk mitigation in all the areas mentioned above and more.

How Does BIM Help Mitigate Construction Risks?

Risk management means analyzing the different aspects of a project, identifying possible issues, and working on ways to either prevent them or minimize their impact on the overall project. There are a lot of risk categories that need to be taken into account, including design, safety, financial, and schedule risk. BIM has the potential to help managers mitigate risk in all areas if utilized correctly.

Let’s outline how BIM can be useful in ensuring the integrity of the different aspects of a construction project. 

Mitigating Risk During the Initial Design Phase

How BIM Mitigates Risk in Construction Projects

Image Credit: Engg317 via Wikimedia Commons

Using BIM can greatly improve decision-making during the initial design phase. Since computer animation and 3D models are used in the process, clients, managers, and stakeholders can get a better perspective in terms of visuals, performance, and overall user experience. With BIM, design flaws are quite easy to spot and correct before construction actually begins.

The digital models are also helpful when determining total costs. BIM ensures that the early design stages are easy to visualize and understand, while also providing great marketing materials that can ensure the completion of sales targets and occupancy goals.

Keeping up With Safety Regulations

When it comes to the construction industry, there are quite a lot of regulations and requirements that relate to safety. With BIM, managers are able to effectively plan, implement, and monitor those safety measures. Due to the 4D modeling BIM software provides, potential hazards can be identified and eliminated before they become an issue.

BIM software contains a variety of useful tools, including visual risk analysis and safety evaluations. Both managers and workers can make use of in-depth reports about site conditions and detailed instruction about task-specific assignments.

Minimizing Risk at the Construction Phase

One of the biggest benefits of using BIM is its cloud connectivity. All information, reports, and data from the design process is easily accessible at any given time. Software like AutoDesk’s BIM 360 Docs, for example, is especially useful in ensuring that all team members work based on the correct version of documents and plans. BIM allows everyone involved in the project to stay up to date with the latest details, which is essential to mitigating risks during the actual construction phase.

Tackling Issues During the Operational Phase

How BIM Mitigates Risk in Construction Projects

Risk is not only present during the design and construction phases — it remains even after the project as a whole is done. Facility management can use the data generated by BIM to identify issues with the site or spot areas of efficiency or inefficiency. Since BIM aggregates data that compares expected and actual performance, uploading it into a facility management system is an effective way to ensure operational efficiency.

Ensuring Construction Efficiency in the Long Run

It is safe to say that a building designed using BIM will be superior to one designed without the use of such software. BIM has the potential to increase construction efficiency due to the drastically lower chances of unexpected issues coming up post-construction. On top of that, buildings designed with BIM have the perfect groundwork for improvements and remodeling in the long run. A new contractor can easily take over and work efficiently if they have access to BIM data, reports, and analysis.

Unfortunately, BIM cannot help when it comes to renovating or remodeling buildings that did not use the technology during their initial design and construction. 


How BIM Mitigates Risk in Construction Projects

Proper risk management during construction projects is extremely important and should never be overlooked. By paying special attention to it and being proactive, managers and architects drastically reduce the chances of issues stopping progress or requiring rework. Fortunately, advancements in technology allow us to mitigate risk efficiently. Out of all tools available, BIM is perhaps the most useful one when it comes to risk assessment and prevention.

Anna Liza Montenegro is a trained architect and an accomplished marketing professional in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, she possesses both strategic and execution of marketing initiatives, go-to-market plans, and execute product launches. At Microsol Resources, she develops the marketing strategy, brand management, digital marketing, and other demand generation activities for Microsol’s strategic partnerships with Autodesk, McNeel Rhino, Bluebeam, Enscape, Chaos Group V-Ray, Panzura, Ideate Software, FenestraPro, and other partners. When not marketing, she loves spending time with her kids, traveling, and summers in Maine.

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