Modular construction components or equipment are fabricated and assembled offsite, and relocated to the actual onsite location for installation. As modular construction becomes more significant than conventional building methods, BIM plays a greater enrichment role in reinforcement and streamlining processes. Construction digitization with BIM for modular members produces unprecedented time and cost savings.
In 2018, the modular construction market value was estimated at $114.6 billion and is projected to peak at $196.2 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR rate of 7.1%. (Source: www.alliedmarketresearch.com)
Modular construction through offsite fabrication is accurate and efficient for fabricators and contractors. Fabricators can manufacture modular components, while contractors and onsite installation crews can drive clash-free installation. BIM acts as a significant integrator to build modular members based on the manufacture, execution, and evolution of prefabrication panels.
3D visualization supported by BIM plugs workflow inconsistencies, promotes communication, and encourages coordination and manufacture of MEP members in modular construction. Mentioned below are some of the most striking benefits of BIM adoption for modular construction projects.
As of 2020, more than 80% of residential construction in Sweden has been achieved through modular construction.
TrueCADD were approached by a Formwork Production company from the Netherlands for a commercial building project. The client's requirements were a coordinated 3D Revit model with complete sheet setup, schedule floor layouts, and component sheets. The team at TrueCADD created accurate 3D formwork models at LOD 450 through BIM360 reinforced by GA and fabrication drawings.
The deliverables included component sheets, floor plans, and detailed sheets with precise dimensions, accurate part count, GA wall drawings with accurate details, and production drawings. With all the deliverables in place, the client could leverage quick and hassle-free documentation. Reduction in 20% production time was achieved with 100% output quality through end-to-end solutions, BIM360, and Revit automation powered by Dynamo.
Conventional construction tools and methods are time and cost-consuming. Onsite manufacturing of building components or equipment brings in challenges for fabricators, contractors, and other specialty contractors for prefab, precast, and formwork. The intensity of these challenges continues to elevate as construction projects become bigger, complex, and time-bound.
Some of the challenges include:
- diminished schedule performance
- greater construction costs
- lower project quality
- higher project delays
- additional rework
Modular construction driven by Building Information Modeling (BIM) drives higher schedule performance through 4D visualization reinforced in a 3D BIM model. Information stored in a 3D BIM model is accessed and shared by multiple stakeholders. Shared data in a centralized repository keeps multiple teams on the same page from start to finish.
High-quality visualizations of modular members in a 3D environment enhance scheduling performance for equipment, materials, and resources with quick feedback from multiple teams from design to construction.
Coordinated and clash-free 3D BIM models enriched with 5D cost estimation with accurate Quantity Takeoffs lead to precise cost estimates for each modular element. Identifying key cost parameters with 3D visualization gives project stakeholders the capability to reduce manufacturing costs.
Offsite fabrication of modular members with precise quantity takeoffs can help reduce material waste and improve cost predictability.
The use of customized Revit families reinforced by Dynamo automation, APIs, or plugins drives higher dimensional accuracy of modular units. The use of BIM for spatial coordination through 3D visualization improves fabrication and installation outcomes for modular construction.
Detailed shop drawings from coordinated and clash-free 3D models improve fabrication accuracy and quality of modular members, leading to significant improvements in construction quality.
The production of modular members for modular construction is further reinforced through preemptive clash detection and resolution within 3D BIM models. Fabrication drawings extracted from interference-free 3D models drive greater fabrication accuracy to manufacture modular units.
Accurate and installation-ready modular members reinforced by data mitigate rework leading to time and cost savings.
5. Modular construction elements improve onsite safety with 3D BIM visualization and accurate drawings sets
Modular construction members manufactured and assembled in an offsite facility enable greater safety for onsite installation. Fabricators and contractors use BIM-ready coordinated shop drawings, GA drawings, installation drawings, etc. to improve manufacturing and installation capabilities.
3D visualization through BIM models helps enhance onsite safety by identifying hazardous or hard-to-reach spaces. Comparison of accurate 2D drawings, photos, and 3D models makes it easier for installation teams to get higher construction clarity and future sustainability.
Rapid and sustainable construction can drive healthy economic development. The adoption of BIM has accelerated modular construction to support higher urbanization and population. As these benefits are significantly evident, modular construction proves to be an effective and sustainable solution for the construction sector.
Integrating BIM into the process makes modular construction workflows beneficial and successful with higher margins with an enhanced quality of products. The standardization of prefabricated modules with an integrated BIM repository and 3D visualization of relevant information improves construction efficiency.
Harika Singh is an academician and published writer. Her passion for engineering and technology reflects in the in-depth coverage she provides on technology trends. 20 years of work association with institutes of repute across India and the US positions her to provide valuable insights to business stakeholders on achieving scalability and operational efficiencies through digitalization.