Demands for shorter lead times are putting pressure on the construction industry where the information flow needs to be efficient. StruEngineers in India are using the project management tool BIMcontact, a cloud solution for sharing, commenting and keeping track of information. A much safer way of working than the previously unreliable e-mail handling system.
Uninterrupted flow of information in construction projects is increasingly important these days. The construction industry is under pressure and time is often scarce due to demands of getting projects completed quickly.
Consultant company StruEngineers in India help customers with their construction projects to produce shop drawings. The exchange of information was not efficient in the past. Suhas Mohol, CEO of StruEngineers India, remembers what it was like before switching to BIMcontact.
- We used to exchange information and drawings with customers by e-mail which caused major problems. The mail could disappear along the way, and when asking customers, it sometimes hadn’t arrived at all. We could never be sure that our costumers used the latest updated version.
Concerns for this problem grew, and the risk increased in projects with large number of documents involved. It became unclear whether the people involved in the project used updated and correct information. Another concern was that inboxes often were incapable of receiving such large files. Sharing information in Drop Box or other similar tools was risky because it was uncertain whether the customer's IT system allowed the data exchange.
The situation eventually became unsustainable. Time ran out, and therefore it was decided that it was necessary to find a solution that would ensure a sustainable data flow.
Digital meeting in the project tool BIMcontact
From now on, StruEngineers run their meetings on building constructions digitally in BIMcontact, a cloud-based solution developed by civil engineers with broad industry experience. Instead of the slow and unreliable e-mail exchange, all information exchange is now run through the project tool. All participants in the project share documents, models and other information in the cloud solution. StruEngineers have developed a new way of working with a more efficient and secure flow of information that promotes collaboration between all participants in the project.
Each project has a separate workspace where all information is gathered. Suhas immediately gets a notice when an activity takes place in the digital space.
- When someone interact, for example by adding new information into the workspace, I automatically receive a message via e-mail from BIMcontact, which keeps me continuously informed.
Better version control
A great number of documents and data are produced in a construction project. In BIMcontact, everything is gathered in one place, which creates security and Suhas doesn’t have to search for information, such as which drawing is the latest upgraded. BIMcontact keeps track of that. When a new file with the same name is uploaded, it automatically becomes a new version. The uncertainty that previously prevailed is now gone.
- Both the newest version of the drawing and the oldest version is available. With BIMcontact, both Suhas and his employees have full control over which version is relevant.
Commenting easy directly in the model
Another advantage is that the engineer can study the model without the need for a CAD system. Suhas does this with the IFC viewer in BIMcontact and the review takes place directly in the browser.
- I can go close and see details, turn off elements such as columns to let other elements stand out, I can spin the model around and examine it from different angles.
When Suhas sees something that needs to be changed, he makes a note about this directly in the model. He then exports the new information to a PDF, which becomes a new basis for the project. The previous working methodology, to make changes to paper drawings and then scan them, has now become digital in BIMcontact. Now, as the project develops, problems are solved and challenges are met in close collaboration.
Drawings on different platforms
But even out of office, Suhas benefits from BIMcontact. The project tool is designed to adjust to several different platforms, such as tablets and smartphones. The drawings become more accessible online because they are not tied to a desktop computer. A fact that creates flexibility and freedom to work with a design in different locations.
As people in construction projects increasingly strive for a smoother workflow with simple information sharing with IFC, BIMcontact is the solution. The tool creates new ways of working and connects competent professionals in close collaborations where knowledge and experience flow freely and unhindered. Just like at StruEngineers, where uncertainty has been changed to a smarter collaboration among colleagues in order to be able to complete projects on time.
Written by: Love Janson