There are many acronyms involved in building design and construction, and two of perhaps the most important ones are BIM and DfMA. But what do these two anacronyms stand for, and what impact do they have on building design? Here, we ask The CAD Room to explain how these two innovations work together to improve the speed, staffing and budget required to achieve sustainable modern builds.
What is BIM?
BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, and it is a collaborative approach to design and construction. The UK government itself is now committed to 3D BIM on its projects, with many large contractors now also implementing BIM.
BIM offers intelligent information throughout the life cycle of the building at hand, offering detailed floor plans, 3D renders and visualisation software. Offering a holistic process to create and manage information, BIM utilises multidisciplinary data to provide digital models of a build from the initial planning stages to the end.
The construction industry and Government have committed to a BIM programme to meet their targets for the Vision for Construction 2025. The Government has also mandated BIM for all Government procured contracts from 2016.
What is DfMA?
DfMA stands for Design for Manufacturing and Assembly. It is a relatively new approach that focuses on the ease of manufacturing, helping reduce time-to-market. DfMA helps simplify the assembly of parts and easier manufacturing so that various phases of construction projects can benefit from more efficiency.
The benefits of DfMA are thought to include a controlled manufacturing process, less human resources and time spent on-site and a less environmentally damaging environmental impact. While modular builds have been around for a long time, since about 1945, technology has advanced significantly since then, allowing much more benefit to be had for manufacturing offsite.
Together, BIM and DfMA can transform the construction industry with more efficient operations to save time and money. Another necessary process to consider is PPVC, which stands for Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction. This process involves the off-site manufacture and builds of multiple modular units that include the exterior design and internal fixtures and fittings, allowing for build times to be shortened significantly and a higher level of quality control over the build. This is because they would be manufactured in an environment that is quality checked and accredited, then transferred to the site and put together.
PPVC can also provide a host of other benefits. For instance, it could result in a safer, better site as the only limited buildings would occur on-site. This means there could be less waste, less noise pollution and less dust. It would also promote better logistics, as the modular units come from a factory environment. This means there could be better control of the process from start to finish.
It will also naturally promote better productivity, as many different elements of the same build could be manufactured simultaneously. Not only could this result in a shorter construction site build, but it also streamlines the process significantly.
As with any collaborative project, the design process must be undertaken by skilled professionals. Only then can construction companies be assured that the design will fulfil all requirements. When it comes to working on projects that are fuelled by BIM and DfMA processes, an experienced CAD design team with BIM experience will already recognise the benefits and may be able to suggest ways in which a project could be undertaken on time and within budget by using DfMA.