What can the Australian industry learn from BIM in Asia?

After visiting project sites throughout Asia, Jack DeCandia - national BIM director at Redstack - shares his insights on the future of BIM in Australia.

Jack DeCandia

Around the world, building information modelling (BIM) is taking off, delivering incredible value across a range of industries. Jack DeCandia, Redstack's national BIM director, recently returned from a series of trips throughout Asia where he had the opportunity to see the benefits of BIM in action. With visits to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Doha, he witnessed firsthand the advantages of utilising BIM throughout all stages of design and construction.

These are his insights on what industry in Australia can learn from BIM in Asia.

A more mature BIM market

One of the biggest takeaways I saw from my recent trips is that Australia should see what the Asian markets have been able to achieve over the last eight years through BIM as an opportunity to learn. Right now, that market is a little bit more mature than here in Australia because the governments have mandated BIM processes over there.

Take Singapore, for example. Around 2010, the government incentivised and gave the industry up to 70 per cent funding to get themselves BIM ready. That funding was used on training, hardware, software - really for whatever it needed to be. The government also put on a BIM management course to get people up to speed with what BIM is all about. In 2015, they put in a new mandate; now, everything over 5,000 square metres has to be submitted as a BIM model with all the documentation required.

Incentives and mandates like these have really advanced the adoption and development of BIM in the Asian markets. Their collaborative processes are a little more advanced, probably because they're a little more mature in the way they execute BIM projects. I was amazed with the efficiency of how they collaborate, and how the building process is quite advanced and ahead of scheduled. The whole communication and collaboration process in BIM is designed to do that. It's quite a different experience from what we've been used to here in Australia.

Obstacles to BIM adoption in Australia

Here in Australia, we've sort of sat back and watched what the rest of the world was doing. We've been encouraged by what BIM is doing but we're not really implementing it here the way it's being implemented over there. Here, we're talking about BIM, and we love the idea of BIM, but there's no process of how it's going to be delivered.

One of the biggest obstacles in this regard is that people really need to understand what BIM is before they execute it. If you talk to people in Australia about what they think BIM is, they'll say it's Autodesk Revit or they'll say it's modelling in 3D. That's partially correct, but not totally correct. 3D modelling is just a part of the whole BIM process.

Of course, there is an economic side to these obstacles as well. At the moment, with the restraints on funding, the industry is a little reluctant to change their existing processes to do something they're not familiar with. On top of that, if anybody's attempted it here in Australia, they probably haven't seen any major benefits.

That, however, is because it likely wasn't executed properly. That's where education is particularly important. BIM isn't about creating and building to a 3D model; it's a whole series of processes that go on through all stages of an asset's life cycle.

What will BIM deliver for Australian enterprises?

We want Australia to learn from the Asian markets' experience with BIM and to adopt those processes here. Thanks to what's happening in Asia, Australia is in a position of opportunity; we don't have to go through the learning process the way other countries have done. The processes have already been tried, tested and proven - we can adopt those immediately rather than have to go through the learning curve.

Once we do, we'll start seeing the real benefits of BIM, including reduced costs and reworks, a minimisation of risks and waste, and the ability to deliver projects ahead of schedule and on budget.

The next big step for us in Australia is to start using BIM models to bring all the data and intelligent information into a facilities management system. From there, developers and owners will be able to use that data for things like preventative maintenance, long-term analysis on energy requirements and quite a bit more.

Australia should be looking at everything that's been happening with BIM in Asia as an opportunity to hit the ground running. That's why Redstack is here to assist people in being able to adopt those processes with a minimum of pain and risk. We've done it before, we're doing it now and we'll continue to lead that area within the industry.

More information on BIM

Learn more about Building Information Modelling at our BIM website:

Contact us today for further assistance with implementing BIM at your organisation.

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