How BIM is Driving Modular Construction

by | Jan 12, 2021 | All

For all the talk about how the trades need to implement building information modeling (BIM) processes, there are companies in the steel and MEP trades that have been using BIM since the late 1990s. A strong motivation was that the resulting detailed shop drawings and bills of materials helped automate production, and the models they created helped make the most of their coordination efforts and construction processes.

Contractors and designers began to follow the trades’ lead after Y2K, around the time that Autodesk released Revit. Since then, using primarily Revit, they have expanded their use of the BIM process, banking on selling more work with visualizations, avoiding clashes on the project through simulations, and reducing duplication of effort by fine-tuning coordination among project stakeholders.

Making the switch to Revit? The experts of eVolve MEP have worked in the construction trades, so they know how to make your transition as smooth as possible. Contact eVolve MEP today and learn how the industry-trained eVolve mechanical and electrical consultants can partner with you to keep your business competitive in the years to come.

In a 2020 Dodge Data & Analytics (DDA) SmartMarket report on prefabrication and modular construction, most companies surveyed – architects, engineers, general contractors, contract managers, and trades – responded that they are using BIM processes on at least some of their modular projects. But an impressive one-third of responding specialty/trade subcontractors are using the BIM process for modular construction at a high or very high level. This makes them the most deeply BIM-engaged sector in the construction industry. In addition, 59% of them are planning to use BIM at a high or very high level by 2023. Only 12% of respondents who are utilizing modular processes are not using a BIM process, while over 50% use BIM on half or more of their modular projects.

The largest obstacle that nearly half of trade contractors report they encounter in the potential use of modular is that the owner has no interest in it. Some of the other obstacles to using BIM on modular projects that trades reportedly face include: unsuitable project delivery method (33%), project types that don’t apply (29%), and unavailable component manufacturers (23%). Very few (8%) consider quality or cost as problems for increasing their use of modular processes.

The top reasons cited by trade contractors that prompt them to increase BIM-driven modular construction processes are:

  • Improved schedule performance (54%)
  • Improved coordination (41%)
  • Reduced onsite rework (39%)
  • Improved cost performance (35%)
  • Contractor demand (30%)

In fact, schedule performance is reported to be the top reason for companies overall to increase their use of BIM processes in modular construction.

The number of companies using the BIM process for modular construction is growing. Over three-quarters of the companies responding to the DDA survey said they plan to increase their BIM-driven modular construction from one-third of their projects at the time of the survey to over half of their projects by 2023. Not surprisingly, improved schedule, coordination and cost, plus reduced rework, have a strong appeal within the construction industry.

Trade contractors look to eVolve MEP software to save time and increase productivity when working with HVAC, plumbing and electrical assemblies. Contact eVolve MEP and talk to an industry expert to learn more.

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