BIM and Economic Business Cases

by | Feb 10, 2014 | Uncategorized

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has the potential to increase the transparency and consistency of data across the planning design and operation phases of infrastructure projects. This is because BIM provides increased “clarity of project intent for all stakeholders—better informing decision making and reducing risk”[1]. It also ensures “data fidelity and continuity across the lifecycle of a project—improving quality and productivity”[2].

BIM is an information-rich, model-centric process with the power to “design-in” resiliency into infrastructure assets

The venerable 100-year old decision-making tool of economic cost benefit analysis (CBA) has traditionally been used on infrastructure projects to decide whether to proceed and occasionally which alternatives to design. It is costly, focuses at a high level and fails miserably to answer the question every stakeholder group has: “what is in it for me?” Fortunately CBA can be re-engineered. CBA, supercharged with risk analysis and multiple account and stakeholder views, can be dropped into a BIM chassis with exciting possibilities.

[img alt=”CBA” src=”×186.jpg” data-mce-src=”×186.jpg” height=”186″ width=”300″>

The BIM concept of data layers means that local, geographically-based economic and risk data for a project can be overlaid on visually rich, three dimensional views. The increased clarity of project intent, risks, and outcomes has the ability to help stakeholders understand and visualize the value and business case for resilient infrastructure. The benefits of using CBA inside BIM are that:

  • BIM defines relationships between objects and keep changes consistent and coordinated, so as the design changes so can the economic costs, benefits, and risks.
  • BIM can show the economic business case for design alternatives while maintaining constraints such as AASHTO codes, design or safety criteria, and local or community standards.
  • BIM is visual, enabling better analysis, simulation, and communication. When combined with risk-based multiple account cost benefit analysis, it becomes a powerful stakeholder visualization tool.

[1] BIM for Infrastructure: A vehicle for business transformation Autodesk

[2] Ibid.


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