Every industry is going through its own transformation, as technology streamlines and augments existing thought processes. The construction industry in particular is challenged to take into account the latest developments linked to Building Information Modelling and the advent of 3-D design. In civil engineering terms, why are BIM and other technologies so important?
What Is BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a way of containing and correctly managing a diverse range of data related to a particular construction project through its life-cycle. The model is essentially a very detailed digital breakdown incorporating all aspects, assets and information.
Complexity and the Digital Revolution
Yet BIM is just one part of the digital revolution facing the civil engineering community, which is increasingly faced with the need to move away from conventional computer-aided design strategies and move much more readily towards 3-D rendering.
Some engineers are slow to move away from the conventional way, as after all it has worked so well for so many projects in recent times. However, it's undoubtedly true to say that any process that manipulates the many thousands of individual data points more efficiently can only be of significant advantage. For example, there is the need to consider all the features, various degrees of alignment and construction characteristics of individual structures, within what can often be a very complex digital terrain model. Within each individual structure can be a further level of complexity involving geometry, composition and associated building code and each object must not only be assessed as individual, but also with regards to its relationship to other objects that surround it.
More pressure than ever is being brought to bear on engineers and their teams to meet deadlines and to finish projects ahead of budget. Yet these projects are becoming increasingly complex, as structures become more outlandish and the amount of associated data grows exponentially. As such, there is a growing need to be able to access accurately processed information easily and quickly, to combine data where necessary and to create a single model environment such as BIM to achieve success.
This Is Just the Beginning
The engineer is also faced with the realisation that technology is changing by the day and even more innovative methods are starting to emerge. For example, how important will virtual reality become in the civil engineering environment of tomorrow, as engineers visualise the options in front of them and take construction projects to even more complicated heights?
Only the Best Will Do
While the technology may represent a challenge that seems to be ever evolving, it nevertheless shows how important first-class civil engineering assets are within any given project and why it's always best to retain experts at the forefront of their field.