Building Information Modeling: benefits, challenges and possible applications in infrastructure projects
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Over the last decades, there has been a general decrease in the productivity of the construction industry. Although in that period of time great technological advances have been discovered and applied to construction projects, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), those advances have not been translated to a productivity improvement in the sector. Because of this, nowadays new and innovative solutions are being developed in order to solve the issues of actual procedures and increase the output’s quality. One of these solutions is called Building Information Modeling. Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is the process of creating and using digital models for design, construction, maintenance and operation of a construction project. The main difference between BIM and other design methods such as CAD is that BIM does not consist of a simple virtual drawing, but is also a database composed by each and every one of the elements in a construction project, as well as their characteristics. This minor thesis first focuses on the definition of the productivity issue in the construction domain and their possible causes. Then BIM is introduced and its possible applications in construction projects are discussed. Also, some different BIM programs from the main BIM software providers are briefly described. The minor thesis continues with an analysis of different case studies of reported construction projects where BIM was used, in order to figure out the benefits directly related to its application. Then, the minor thesis analyses the possible BIM applications in civil engineering. Although the concept of BIM can be applied in all construction domains, the infrastructure industry is not adopting BIM at the same rate as the vertical building domain. This minor thesis also looks for possible causes of this phenomenon. Finally, the minor thesis experiments with different BIM programs through the creation of two virtual models: one related to vertical building and the other related to infrastructure. It explains also how these programs work and how they help in the project’s design and planning, and finally evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of their usage.
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