Carbon induced climate change, squandered energy, and declining resources have emphasised the increasing need for sustainable buildings to be high on the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry’s agenda.
The development of Building Information Modelling (BIM) allows an accurate virtual model to be created digitally and provides a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility. This can be used to form a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle from initial conception to ultimate demolition.
Application of BIM on construction and building projects means that crucial design decisions can be made based on information that is better and more reliably understood – enabling better and more reliable predictions of environmental performance (the efficiency of rating process) and the environmental impact of the building project.
Nevertheless, there is often still be a mismatch between the ingrained traditional procurement route and the use of BIM for sustainable design, leading to poorly optimised decisions both initially and throughout the process. This can be due to the different expectations, perceptions and understanding of how BIM can influence sustainable design and construction as viewed by different stakeholders.
We know that the carbon content of construction materials and the construction process itself are massive contributors to global warming, and we know that effective deployment of digital technologies and processes in the building and infrastructure industry can address carbon emissions and reduce waste.
As an industry, collaboration of strategy and alignment of process could result in a powerful synergy of sustainability, digital construction, the built environment and the global struggle against climate change.
Though construction is gradually accommodating the need to change, it is as yet a slow process.
A drive towards high performing, highly energy efficient buildings, the conservation of resources, and the minimisation of waste, can only take place when new efficiencies are identified and implemented. This means understanding and utilising data and digital technology and exploiting it fully. In an industry traditionally slow to change, rapid digital transformation is required.
The benefits and outcomes of BIM and sustainable design adoption require collaborative action throughout the industry to be realised tangibly if digital tools are to be an optimised weapon in the multifaceted fight against climate change.
The why is evident. The how is more problematic.