Construction Site Communication Study Using the RAM Management System for BIM Adaptation

Construction Site Communication Study Using the RAM Management System for BIM Adaptation

Raid Yahia Shrahily (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom), Benachir Medjdoub (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom), Hynda Aoun Klalib (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom) and Moulay Larbi Chalal (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2016100104


The UK's construction industry is witnessing an annual increase in costs due to a lack of communication between the different organizational operators on the construction site that often leads to construction defects. Meanwhile, a cost-reduction strategy plan using BIM has become a fundamental requirement for the government, aiming to keep costs under control. To facilitate BIM adoption in the industry, the BIM strategy was introduced in four phases, with each stage entailing a number of criteria. The industry has seen a global reaction to the Level 2 BIM program and a significant cost saving of 840M in 2013/14 in Europe. However, the industry is unable to match the level 3 BIM, where a collaborative model file server is required as a common sharable platform to achieve efficient communication. This study contributes toward formulating a communication framework in the UK industry to understand communication issues and manage defects. A survey was targeted at construction industry practitioners and academics, with a total number of 328 participants.
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The construction industry is considered to be a key sector of the UK economy. 57% of construction budgets is wasted or becomes non-added value, as estimated by the Construction Institution (McNell, 2008). Over 20 billion per year in the UK is wasted on construction defects, much of which is caused by communication failure between the organizations operating on the construction site (Ernest, 2004). The government started a BIM implementation strategy that consists of 4 levels. In 2016, level 2 BIM compliance became compulsory in the public sector. This step has led to strong collaboration between the government and the industry to reduce costs further. BIM implementation has shown that an additional global 804M was achieved in 2013/14 in France (compulsory in 2017), Germany (compulsory in 2020) and other EU nations, as recorded by the Cabinet Office (Modelling & Plan, 2015).

The majority of communication tools used on-site display building information as 2D drawings, (e.g. plans, sections, site plans) which unfortunately often proves to be ineffective and can lead to construction errors, as only experienced and well-trained organizational personnel are able to use them to communicate effectively on construction sites (Wang, 2006). However, the upcoming BIM level 3 raises the complexity level, requiring the integration of a multidisciplinary model using a web based environment in a centralized server instead of local servers. However, a similar system of a web based environment BIM server model has not been proposed until now (Gu & London, 2010).

Building construction is a complex set of tasks that involves a number of different parties and many activities that need to be organized to perform together at the same time. Regardless of the project size, construction companies find it beyond their capabilities to perform all construction activities without interacting with a number of organizations, including architects, engineers, consultants, contractors, clients, etc. In addition, a wide range of data needs to be dealt with, ranging from architectural data, structure systems, mechanical services and other factors, that increases the complexity even further (Steel et al., 2009).

Typically, 2D drawings and other types of documents are the most commonly used medium for communicating and sharing information on construction sites. Because of construction’s need for frequent information updates, companies try to find a solution to improving communications with other departments, such as using software tools to define the design model details. Although software tools do help companies to organize and manage complex data, designs are still frequently rendered as 2D drawings when they need to be communicated to other collaborators on-site (Howard & Penttilä, 2006).

2D drawings are essential for any project to succeed as a communication tool. Their importance is not only in helping to describe the design project, but they can also serve as information records to identify miscommunications easily in the case of a design issue or construction defect occurring on-site. 3D models are often used to provide additional information compared to the 2D versions. In the case of architecture and design practices, 3D models tend to be used to share knowledge, such as about the building materials employed on the building façade, to create a virtual affect and so convince the clients about the design. In contrast, these types of materials were intentionally selected for presentation purposes only and were not meant for construction site use (Steel et al., 2009).

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