BIM (building information modeling) continues to be a hot technology that surveyors can leverage into new markets. 

PSM September 2013
In our September issue, Cathi Hayes examines “Do You Know BIM?” to help us understand the basics of the process as well as the opportunities it affords. 


The Future of BIM

For a look into the future of BIM, we asked Christopher Scotton, president and CEO of ClearEdge 3D, for his thoughts.

PSM: Per a 2012 McGraw-Hill Construction report, contractors are now larger users of BIM technology than architects. How do you see this trend in the future? 

Scotton: With the advent of 5D [adding time and cost to 3D CAD] BIM practices and software tools, the benefits of BIM are only now beginning to be seen in the construction marketplace. Asset owners see 5D BIM as a great way to keep schedules and costs in check, and forward-looking contractors see it as the most effective way to manage complex projects. This trend will no doubt accelerate as software tools improve and BIM best-practices proliferate in the construction supply chain.

Q: Are you seeing an increase in the use of BIM technology in larger-scale civil engineering projects (CIM)?

CS: The concept of coordinating design geometry with digital terrain models [DTMs] is not new; however, the tools to fully integrate site and design data are still being developed. I think we are a few years away from seeing CIM widely adopted in the civil engineering space. It’s about three years behind BIM on the adoption curve.

Q: How will photogrammetric tools for image capture affect BIM in the future? Will they supplant laser scanning technology?

CS: The days of the $100,000 laser scanner are largely over. Inexpensive and accurate photogrammetry-based hardware/software will help make reality capture a regular, accepted, and ubiquitous part of the construction documentation workflow. However, photogrammetry does have limitations, and for certain projects laser scanning is the best option. I think they will co-exist happily for another three to five years.

Q: What advances do you see for BIM technology, both in hardware and software? 

CS: For software, automated modeling technologies that can dramatically reduce the time and cost to create BIMs will begin to hit the market. Tools that can dramatically speed the BIM workflow will have the same effect on the market as cheaper hardware tools, spurring greater BIM adoption in the AEC.

Q: What advances do you see for 5D BIM?

CS: I see low-cost, photogrammetry-based sensors deployed throughout a construction site and delivering real-time data to the construction management system.

Q: What will BIM surprise us with?

CS: The actual benefits of BIM will finally catch up with the hype of BIM. Not just surprising … shocking! 

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