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Integrated BIM & IoT in the AEC Sector

Integrated BIM and IoT
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Do you want to weigh up the current scenario of integrated BIM & IoT in the AEC Sector? Well before delving into the BIM & IoT techniques that are bringing complementary views of the construction project, let’s consider how BIM service providers and IoT are defined in the context of project delivery? 

What is BIM?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an established paradigm for the growth of improved project delivery methods. Accurate BIM-centric project delivery for AEC professionals helps in making high fidelity and accurate identifiable building component data with descriptive and operable metadata.

What is IoT?

IoT (Internet of Things) is defined as an interconnection of sensing and activating devices delivering the capacity to share information across platforms through an integrated framework, developing a shared operating image for innovative applications. IoT technologies encompass sensing, identification & recognition technologies along with hardware, software, cloud platforms, communication technologies, algorithms, data processing solutions, energy storage, and security appliances. IoT mainly exploits standard protocols & technologies, out of which IoT device constitutes to be the main subset. Typical IoT devices comprise intelligent & smart mobile devices, single board computers, and different sensors and actuators.

Integrated BIM & IoT Bringing Complementary Views of AEC Project

The possibility of connecting BIM service providers and IoT data sources is a new development. Building Information Modeling and IoT data provide complementary views of the project that complement the limitations of each. Building Information Models provide high fidelity representations of the project at the component level. By integrating geometry, spatial location and scalable metadata properties, 3D BIM models provide a high-fidelity operable dataset seizing the as-designed building objects, properties and spatial organization as a set of virtual assets. IoT data improves information by providing real-time status from the actual operations in construction.

The potential information from sensors is highly variable but includes positioning, physical measurements, and weather-related information. The data is organized as time series data of individual sensor point samples with the higher-level organization into equipment. Both BIM and IoT information can be accessed through various mechanisms, like manual interfaces of proprietary systems, programming APIs allied to applications, potential database links to the systems, and export via open standards.

Various open standards are evolving in BIM services and IoT fields. BIM and IoT devices are adopted in various aspects of energy management, construction monitoring, health & safety management, and building management. The concept of IoT is not just about IoT devices like sensors and actuators, the prime concern is the interconnection of sensing & actuating devices providing information sharing through the internet.

Current Scenario of BIM & IoT Device Integration

While the BIM and IoT device integration is still in the nascent stage, AEC professionals should understand the current scenario of BIM and IoT device integration including:

  • What are the established application areas for BIM and IoT device integration?
  • How to categorize these application areas?
  • What are the integrated techniques for BIM and IoT devices?
  • What are the restrictions for both the application domains & integration methods?

BIM & IoT Integration for Construction Domains

  • Construction Operation & Monitoring
  • On-site environment monitoring – Real-time sensory inputs capturing realistic environmental conditions, combined with BIM models to calculate equipment operator’s instruction.
  • Resource Monitoring Sensors like Bluetooth Low Energy sensors & motion sensors used to track the movement of labors, materials, equipment in complex construction sites incorporated with BIM models to visualize moving paths, monitoring resource status & labor behaviors.
  • Communication & Collaboration – BIM model could be correlated with real-time construction data captured from IoT tags, sensors & mobile devices to enable in-time communication & collaboration among various parties.
  • Construction Performance & Progress Monitoring – Integrated with BIM models, data could be leveraged to monitor construction process & update construction schedules, for instance, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) & GPS sensors can be used to collect data position of construction components for comparison against BIM models.
  • Health & Safety Management
  • Health & Safety Training – Sensor collected location data and BIM models were used to analyze safety & productivity, providing real-time & post-event visualization through a VR environment.
  • Onsite Monitoring for Health & Safety – IoT devices integrated with BIM tools help to achieve real-time data queries, risk identification, visualization & notification over BIM models.
  • Construction Logistics & Management
  • Automation in Prefabrication – BIM and IoT devices like RFID tags are effective tools for prefabricated component manufacturing, logistic, tracking, visualization with BIM model and automatic assembly.
  • Lean Construction – Digital technologies like IoT and BIM services can assess work progress, constraints & productivity using constant & reliable information flow, expediting the development of Lean Construction.
  • Facility Management
  • Building Operation & Maintenance: BIM integrated with IoT devices can create beneficial platforms for assisting O & M practices like real-time data access, checking maintainability, creating & updating digital assets & space management.
  • Building Performance Management: BIM enables interoperability, visualization, automation & integration with IoT devices, facilitating real-time management of building performance data.
  • Energy Management: BIM for Energy Management was focused on real-time energy usage visualization & monitoring at building and city scale, energy performance analysis & energy bench marking.
  • Disaster Management: BIM & various types of sensors can be effectively used in disaster & emergency response both at the building and urban scale.

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