Are the stairs in the right place? Do any cables overlap? Thanks to a new method, buildings can now be visualised in 3D before they are even built.
This innovation, which originated in England and Scandinavia, is gradually becoming established in Switzerland. It is known as BIM, which stands for Building Information Modelling.
So what can this digital system do? It allows buildings to be transformed into reality, so that they can be virtually visited before a single brick is laid. Traditional construction blueprints are two-dimensional. BIM allows a 3D view. Everyone involved in planning a project, from architects to building services engineers, produces their digital models on the basis of the relevant structures and building data. The BIM specialist then merges all of this information into a single model, allowing potential owners and developers to conduct a walkdown of their future building while wearing virtual reality goggles.
BIM allows buildings to be created in a new way, which can reduce costs in future.
BKW gained initial experience with the construction of the maintenance depot in Luterbach (Solothurn). Markus Zurflüh: “This was a pilot scheme. We had no previous experience on which to base a comparison.” The results were as follows: with BIM, planning took concrete shape at a much earlier stage, paving the way for more efficient, lower-cost execution.
One of the questions which arose during the organisation of the project team was which participants should be brought on board, and when. “Sometimes it was a case of worlds colliding, because there were no uniform guidelines,” recalls Zurflüh.
“Once you’ve mastered BIM, you definitely gain an advantage in the market in future.”
This new way of working on a shared platform requires discipline. “Modifications have to be communicated, and processed by planners in a coordinated manner. This requires the platform mailbox to be regularly checked,” adds Zurflüh.
He stresses that the use of BIM in Switzerland is still in its infancy. However, he is convinced of its benefits: “Once you’ve mastered BIM, you definitely gain an advantage in the market in future.” For Zurflüh, the way ahead is clear: “We will be continuing down this road. Once BIM has become second nature for us, building will become cheaper, and above all more efficient.”