Mitigating the Risks of Offsite Manufacturing through the Application of BIM

Mitigating the Risks of Offsite Manufacturing through the Application of BIM

Arman Hashemi (Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/ij3dim.2014100102
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

The Iranian construction industry is facing several problems including low productivity and immense housing scarcity. It is generally believed that industrialisation and offsite manufacturing can increase the productivity of the Iranian housing industry. Yet, one of the major issues of the Iranian construction industry is defective management during design and construction processes which has considerably increased the risks of offsite construction in Iran. BIM could theoretically address these issues thanks to its potential advantages such as improved efficiency, productivity, and quality. As one of the key stakeholders, architects have a major role in the current situation of the Iranian construction industry. A questionnaire survey was conducted in architectural SMEs to study the normal practices of architects during design and construction processes on site. Frequent design changes and defective communication between stakeholders were identified as the major issues. The results reveal that BIM in general and integrated design in particular could effectively address the aforementioned issues mitigating the risks of offsite construction in Iran.
Article Preview

1. Introduction

The inability of the Iranian construction industry to satisfy the country’s massive housing demand has transformed the housing demand and supply into one of the major challenges facing the government. Iran needs over a million residential units to be constructed annually to overcome its housing demands in a period of 16 years (BHRC, 2009). Around 95% of all construction projects in Iran are related to housing (SCI, 2013). It has been argued that industrialisation and offsite manufacturing can improve the current situation by increasing the housing outputs in Iran (Hashemi & Hadjri, 2014; Darjzi, 2010; BHRC, 2009; Hashemi, 2009). The Iranian construction industry however suffers from various shortcomings which increase the risks of application of offsite methods in Iran.

One of the major issues which may increase the risks of offsite construction is the lack of communication, coordination, and planning during design and construction stages. Construction has historically been the outcome of several independent ideas of clients, designers, engineers, contractors and other stakeholders who have had their different inputs in different stages of the project. This situation makes the industrialisation of construction industry much more difficult than other industries (McEvoy, 2014). Collaboration and effective communication between different stakeholders during design and construction are therefore critical for industrialisation as well as for the efficient and successful delivery of construction projects.

Accurate planning and design is required when it comes to offsite fabrication (Eastman et al., 2008). Decisions should be made and fixed in early stages of the project (CABE, 2004) as late changes may be too costly (Hashemi & Hadjri, 2014; NAO, 2005). Designers and manufacturers should also work closely together in order to decide on an appropriate construction system (Burwood & Jess 2005; CABE, 2004; Pasquire & Connolly, 2003). Building Information Modelling (BIM) can potentially improve the coordination of different stakeholders by improving the communications processes throughout the design and delivery of the projects (NHBC, 2013).

This study intends to study the current situation of the Iranian construction industry in terms of design and construction management processes in architectural practices and evaluate the potential of BIM to mitigate the risks of offsite construction in order to improve the productivity of the Iranian housing industry. To this end, a questionnaire was designed and distributed in architectural SMEs to study the normal practices of Iranian architects during design and construction processes on site. The levels of collaboration/communication of architects with different stakeholders as well as the amount of design changes in various stages of projects were studied.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2017): 2 Released, 2 Forthcoming
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2012)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing