Ultimately, in my opinion, this question boils down to the simple fact that with better information, more informed decisions can be made. Taking this away from construction for a moment, could you eat more healthily if the content of your food was labelled more clearly? The answer is clearly “yes”. And this is analogous to construction – the information about the objects that buildings are built from must be better. This will allow us to build better buildings, lower energy use, less waste and cheaper.
I include a few screenshots, below showing better information delivered to designers around recycled content. This is possible through well-structured information. Better information from manufacturers can be delivered. Information from different providers can link together to produce a more coherent information set.
|Fig 1 – Standard guidance on recycled content|
|Fig 2 – Suggested values for each product on market values|
|Fig 3 – Actual values from product manufacturers|
Software functionality can also help. Where standardised objects sizes are included then “clever apps” can instantly show information. If plasterboard is 2400mm high for example, then partitions can be highlighted where cuts will have to be made. Spaces can be optimised to ensure that waste is minimised.
|Fig 4 – Standardised properties|
The screenshot below shows a model representing a standard column assembly from the Laing O’Rourke manufacturing plant. Models, guidance and standard specifications such as these can be given to design teams early in a project. The time savings are obvious as are the environmental impact benefits. Waste on site is clearly only part of this overall picture.
|Fig 5 – Standardised BIM objects|