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Prospects for the use of BIM technologies in the fit-out field

17 June 2022

Despite the fact that information modeling technologies are now being discussed primarily in the context of their mandatory implementation for developers, their application in the fit-out segment is no less important. Pridex analyzed the prospects for using BIM in fit-out projects, and also identified the main obstacles and growth drivers.

Fit-out is the process of equipping a building with engineering systems, building interiors and creating multimedia infrastructure. The first projects using BIM technologies in this area were implemented in the mid-2010s. At the moment, the preserve of BIM is super-large projects: information modeling is used by most customers in this segment, including Sber, Gazprom, Tinkoff, etc. Nevertheless, the tendency to complicate interiors and their techniques creates economic prerequisites for the use of BIM, including by medium and small customers.

According to Pridex, in five years projects with an area of more than 10,000 sq. m. will completely switch to the use of information modeling technologies. In addition, BIM will be applied in more than half of projects with an area of 5,000 sq. m., and in smaller segments the share of such projects will grow by an average of 10% per year. However, the realness of this forecast will depend on how effectively market participants will be able to solve existing problems.

Динамика стоимости строительных материалов в 2022

Drivers and obstacles

The main obstacle to the widespread use of BIM design in the field of fit-out is the lack of BIM models for already implemented projects — even in the case of new buildings, this practice is still an exception rather than the norm for the market. In such conditions, designers and general contractors of the fit-out segment are forced to stay in the CAD environment.

Besides, the transition to information modeling will inevitably require additional resources from the company: buying software, powerful computers with a large amount of memory, training current specialists, or attracting new ones — at the same time, designers with experience in BIM, as a rule, want to earn 10−20% more. The easiest way to compensate for these costs is to increase the cost of design services (by about 15−20%), which does not always suit the customer. On the other hand, if the transition to BIM is considered in the long term, it is assumed that it should earn its keep by increasing the efficiency of business processes and reducing the deadlines for completing tasks. However, it is important to realize that it is not enough just to design in BIM — a full-fledged business transition to the use of this technology is needed, the establishment of work in a common data environment (DPS), which will be used by specialists at construction sites, production and technical department, auditors, etc.

And of course, the issue of using software by foreign developers under sanctions is still not fully resolved: for example, in March, Autodesk, the creator of Revit software, which occupies more than 50% of the Russian market, suspended its activities in the Russian Federation. Of course, there are domestic analogues, such as Renga or nanoCAD, but the transition to their use will require additional time and money.

As for the drivers, at the moment an important role in accelerating the transition to BIM technology is played by the government, which is interested in increasing the transparency of the construction industry, as well as the possibility of stricter control over projects funded (partially or completely) from the governmental budget. The introduction of mandatory use of BIM at the legislative level by companies engaged in the construction of government-ordered facilities, and in the future by all developers working in the shared-equity construction segment, will certainly increase the speed of new technology solutions implementation.

Besides, despite the complexity and high cost of the transition, information modeling is also interesting to contractors, as it reduces the time spent on each construction stage, as well as reduces the likelihood of critical errors that could jeopardize all further work — this is especially important for the early stages of the project. Thanks to the capabilities of BIM, the contractor can quickly and objectively assess the impact of any adjustments, replace materials for wall/floor/ceiling finishes with minimal costs — without additional time for editing and recalculation of specifications.

Working with the use of BIM models is primarily beneficial to companies with a high business culture, which activities are focused on the effective alignment and coordination of production processes.

What are the advantages of using BIM in fit-out projects?

  • Keeping data up-to-date at all stages of construction thanks to the work of all project participants in a single environment;
  • Reduction of time spent on project operations — several specialists can work in one file/model at once;
  • Prevention of design errors with the help of automatic search and collision detection tools;
  • High-quality and uniform documentation thanks to the template system;
  • No errors in specifications — automated data collection eliminates the possibility of inaccuracy;
  • The possibility to link project data with construction and installation schedules and budget estimates, which allows avoiding errors in calendar planning, as well as procurement and supply of materials for construction projects.
  • Dmitry Vishnyakov,
    Managing Director of Pridex

    "The use of BIM is beneficial to all market participants, as it allows to work with construction projects in a single environment, always have up-to-date data on hands and timely implement the necessary changes in the project, which otherwise would result in a loss of time and money. Within the framework of pilot projects, we have already managed to fully evaluate the designated advantages of the technology and in the near future we plan to expand its application to all our customers. I think that the transition to information modeling is an integral part of competitive development, and the existing problems can only affect the timing of this transition, but not the final result."

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