Empowering Structural Engineers through BIM

One of the major challenges that structural engineers face in every construction project is to deliver quantifiable return on investments in form of time and cost savings. To achieve this, it becomes imperative that they accurately evaluate the relationship between the architectural elements and structural framing with building systems. With the advent of BIM, it has changed the way in which the structural engineers are analyzing structures with multiple complexities and delivery projects faster.

It has been a few years now that BIM has assisted structural engineering firms in creating reliable and coordinated design models. According to Autodesk, “Building information models let structural engineers design, visualize, simulate, analyze, document, and build projects more efficiently, accurately, and competitively (Autodesk, 2012)”.

The most important benefits of BIM for structural engineers are increased productivity, better coordination and improved visualization and simulation of problems and their resolution.

Productivity

The most important contribution of BIM to structural engineers is the increase in productivity. According to Sacks & Barak, 2007, “The production of the construction documents in 2D is the most labor intensive part of structural engineering”. This process is completely automated with BIM. Sections such as reinforcement detailing, numbering and rebar schedules are automatically generated from the BIM model. This saves a lot of time and effort, thereby, increasing the productivity.

Coordination

BIM generates a coordinated model across various disciplines. This single model is used across all different phases of the project such as designing, analyzing, implementing and documentation. This, in turn, contributes to better coordination between the structural analysis result and the overall design of the project, thereby increasing consistency throughout the project.

The BIM model also serves as a base to present the structural analysis and design results in a way that can be comprehended and visualized by all the stakeholders. It also documents these results, thereby storing the information of the project in one place.

Visualization and Simulation

BIM provides window to the engineers to isolate and filter any area or element of special interest from the structure and are able to visualize it in 3D. This provides them with enhanced project understanding which, in turn, aids in optimizing the outcomes by exploring design alternatives during the design stage.

Simulating different scenarios of a project aids in analyzing and creating a better and sustainable design. It is one of the most important benefits that BIM offers to structural engineers. The analysis tool allows evaluation of the performance of the structure digitally before it is built. Simulations of design clashes, installation conflicts and work flow management can be performed prior to the commencement of site work. This will improve site planning and implementation efficiency considerably.

Using BIM not only enables in increasing the productivity but also serves as a base to store and present the results from the structural design in an easy and shareable way at one place. Structural engineers being early adaptors, more and more structural engineering companies are moving towards implementing BIM. To increase their productivity, they often seek to outsource it to specialized BIM service providers. Tesla Outsourcing Services is one of the preferred BIM services provider offer cost effective and quality BIM services. To know more about our services, visit www.teslaoutsourcingservices.com or email us at services@teslacadd.com .

Bhagwati Pathak is an Executive Director at Tesla Outsourcing Services. Technical Project Management, BIM, Client Management, and Leadership are her forte. With an expertise in BIM and a flair for writing, her articles provide a direction to contractors, sub-contractors, engineers, and architects in employing the right methodology for an Architectural, Structural, or MEP CAD / BIM project.

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