Sustainable infrastructure refers to creation of constructions and ensuring that operations are carried out in a manner which does not affect the social, economic and environmental processes needed in upholding diversity, functionality and human equity of natural system. The use of Building Information Modelling technique ensures that the processes that are being used are accountable and resourceful through the building life cycle commencing from choosing the place to design a building, process of upkeep, restoration and lastly deconstruction.
Building life cycle refers to monitoring of the structure through its whole life, and the monitoring process should be used in enhancing the structure’s operational feature that is linked to designing of the building. During a construction process, challenges such as poor communication and coordination between the specialists also arises leading to delays in construction as well as excessive costs incurred before completion of the whole process. The BIM operations are as shown in the diagram below.
Fig 1: Showing different operations carried out by BIM (Aouad, 2009, p. 54)
A construction adhering to construction standards has five key life cycle phases and these include; initiation, planning, execution, performance and monitoring, and closure (Counsell, 2017, p. 213). The five phases are shown below;
Performance and monitoring phase
Initiation of the project should be carried out first so as to decide whether the project is feasible and it should be undertaken. After the initiation stage, the planning takes place and this stage involves further development of the project in detail to attain the objectives of the project. Identification of the resources needed during the construction is also done in this stage. The execution stage is the other stage which simply entails the implementation step and it is where the project plan is put into practice and this is where the work is done practically, or simply where the erection of building starts. Measuring the performance to ensure that items are tracking with the project management schedule is usually done in performance and monitoring stage of the construction project. The last life cycle stage is the closure phase whereby numerous processes are involved, for example, handing over the project documentation, termination of the contract, releasing of project resources, the project resources and communicating with all stakeholders concerning the closure of the project (Crotty, 2013, p. 142).
Building Information Modelling relates to sustainable infrastructure such that it assists in various areas of sustainable designs: Orientation of the building (the cost of energy can be reduced by selecting a good orientation), sustainable materials (decreasing the requirement of material and using recycled materials), logistics and site management (to decrease the carbon footprint and waste) and modelling of energy (decreasing the requirements of energy that leads low cost of energy) (Garrigos, 2017, p. 219).
The use of Building Information Modelling technology also experiences certain problems before it is used in the construction of infrastructure thus making it not ready for delivering lifecycle infrastructural sustainability. These problems need to be addressed before ensuring the Building Information Modelling is ready so as to perform its operations effectively without any other bottleneck which could make it lag behind (Doyle, 2011, p. 341).
Setting up an infrastructural project requires a high cost, thus making an individual or company to avoid using Building Information Modelling when carrying out their projects. Initiation of the project also requires high cost and these costs can be classified in-terms of laying it down as well as general costs. If incase the BIM require lower financial cost, then many firms will be ready to use it for various construction and infrastructural operation. (Epstein, 2012, p. 322).
The use of Building Information Modelling requires skilled workers, and to ensure that, this type of technology is ready for use because it checks into that, there is also the need of ensuring that there are enough skilled workers who understand the BIM technology fully and can render their services wherever they are required. This particular technology is therefore not considered to be the suitable one since many people responsible for infrastructure development or construction are not even aware of it but those who know it exists does not know how to use it, making it difficult to use it in life cycle infrastructural development (Eynard, 2016, p. 442).
The use of Building Information modeling depends on the pressure being generated by the competitors from the same field. The pressure resulting from competition by other firms are predicted as a significant motivation to allow the BIM ready for use. In construction, the use of Building Information Modelling in carrying out any activity relies on active participation from the owner. The BIM program driven by the client can enhance the rate at which the BIM technology is needed in the organization and when the owners of the project are not bothered with this particular technology then its operation will be interfered with.
Optimization in cost and efficiency of the project can therefore be achieved by employing BIM when undertaking a project. BIM is perceived as a mode of shaping, predicting data and empowering communication. The use of Building Information Modelling can take place effectively when people, as well as various construction companies, are aware of it, its performance and how better results can be achieved by using this particular technology (Garrigos, 2017, p. 674).
To ensure the Building Information Modelling is ready for delivering lifecycle infrastructural sustainability, a proper training of workers should be done plus the company should also put more funds in the software to ensure workers have a full idea of what is expected of them to attain superior outcomes during the operation. Training will enable the workers to get new ideas concerning the BIM, how it is used and how it can be used in the company to enable the construction company achieve its goals and objectives. (Hannon, 2009, p. 543).
There are certain construction players that are always resistant to changes since many key players are not aware of the Building Information Modelling. Delivery of construction services by concentrating mostly in outdated methods hinders the use of Building Information Modelling. When workers in the construction industry are able to adopt new changes brought in by the management, then it will make BIM ready to be used in any construction industry, thus enabling learning the new technology in the market and applying them in the current situation for the benefit of the organization (Kensek, 2014, p. 732).
The Building Information Modelling is normally not suitable to be used in delivering lifecycle infrastructural sustainability since it is a new technology and there have been cases in court whereby there are several instance where errors resulting from using BIM in projects are being addressed thus contractors can be sued as a result omissions and errors on BIM projects.
There are several benefits accruing from using BIM technology for example; project efficiency is increased, the project completion period is reduced and impacts caused to the environment are greatly reduced. These benefits should be clearly highlighted so that the organization to make BIM ready to carry out its operations (McCuen, 2016, p. 765). The statistics shown below shows benefits of BIM collected from users
Fig 2: Statistics showing benefits of BIM from users (Counsell, 2017, p. 76)
The use of BIM is expensive and it requires financial resources, and to ensure it is ready for use with a minimized environmental impact, then there is need of ensuring that the financial resources needed are minimal plus enough skilled human resources to perform the operations. When the construction industry has minimal finance, then numerous firms will run away from using Building Information Modelling during the construction process. Also, the BIM starting up cost plus the cost of enacting makes several building firms to keep away from using this particular technology. The use of BIM in project delivery is greatly determined by the cost associated with starting it up. (Zawdie, 2012, p. 123).
The use of Building Information Modelling is affected when strict restrictions are put in place by the government to enable its usage in life cycle infrastructural sustainability. Most of the firms associated with construction activities will prefer BIM if the set rules and regulations by the government are favorable and encourages operations. (McCuen, 2016, p. 77).
Technologies are bound to fail thus this issue needs to be addressed to ensure that the BIM technology is free from failing, and this is a type of issue affecting its readiness thus it needs to be addressed before using it in infrastructural sustainability. It will take time to convince people to use new technologies in the market as a result of the risks involved since there are certain industries that are progressing very well in the construction sector making other industries to believe that there is no need of using BIM technology. Despite the benefits, the BIM have in current industries, with this belief going around, use of Building Information Modelling will be hindered unless this particular belief is changed through educating people concerning the benefits of adopting the BIM in an industry (Jason, 2009, p. 218).
To ensure the Building Information Modelling is ready for sustainable infrastructure, the government should render its support after realizing the benefits that can be obtained as a result of using BIM technology. The government will assist in promoting public awareness hence making to people realize that this technology is reliable since the government may be blamed in case they are offering support to technology which is disadvantageous to its citizens. The government should also offer training to people to ensure many people in the construction sectors knows BIM in detailed and the benefits accruing when using it (Teichoiz, 2013, p. 412).
Many people find BIM not ready to be used since there are certain projects which are temporary therefore, using this system is difficult because the dissolution of the project may take place in a very short time spurn. Showing minimal interest on newly introduced technology drive away many construction companies from using this technology because many construction companies would like to use the technology that is being used by the competitive industries (Mordue, 2015, p. 512).
Life cycle sustainability infrastructure can only be achieved when the barriers surrounding the use of Building Information Modelling technology have been addressed. The use of BIM deters since there are certain bottlenecks around which makes it not ready to achieve its objectives, for example, BIM technology requires hardware upgrade and this is costly thus this should be avoided to allow people to implement it easily in various construction activities (Krygiel, 2008, p. 57).
To make sure that the processes used in infrastructure development are free from environmental pollution, there is need of using Building Information Modelling, but to ensure that this technology is ready to carry out its operations, the organization needs to do certain changes therefore hindering most companies from using BIM, for example, altering the flow of work as well as some processes which are difficult for many firms in the construction sector. There are certain requirements and cases in court that need to be addressed before the Building Information Modelling technology can be ready for life cycle infrastructural sustainability (Sanchez, 2016, p. 156).
The use of Building Information Modelling is important in any process that involves construction since it has numerous benefits such that the use of BIM in construction sectors will have ensure that processes used have minimal impact on environment. To ensure the BIM technology is ready to deliver life cycle infrastructural sustainability then, there are certain bottlenecks that need to be addressed, for example, training workers and also lowering the cost of setting it up.
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