Monday, November 3, 2008

BIM Discussed During Opening Session

Deke Smith, executive director of the buildingSMART alliance, addressed the NFRC membership during the Opening Session today.

The buildingSMART alliance is a council of the National Institute of Building Science and was originally started by the federal government.

Smith spoke about Building Information Modeling (BIM), a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. BIM serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle – from inception onward. In short, it involves building something electronically before it is built physically.

Anyone can purchase BIM software and probably be reasonably successful, but Smith believes the true key to success is learning more about what NFRC does and then implementing that into BIM.

According to Smith, there is 57 percent waste in the current construction industry – amounting to nearly $400 billion annually. This is the result of people doing things that simply don’t need to be done.

BIM software can find potential conflicts before any building actually starts, saving time and money. The alliance’s goal is to get the businesses processes in place to support this software. Smith noted a situation where a project was slated to take 15 months but was completed in as few as seven months using BIM.

“We just need to get smarter so we can hold on to all the information we collect and best use it to our advantage,” said Smith. “The key element to solving this problem is entering data once. So much waste in our industry comes from people having to go out and collect the same information multiple times,”

For more information on Deke Smith and the buildingSMART alliance visit

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