According a/the project cycle. Smith, 2014 argued that the

According to the US National Building
Information Model Standard Project Committee Building Information Modelling (BIM) is defined as a digital
representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM
is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a
reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from
earliest conception to demolition (NBIMS-US, 2016). BIM covers a lot more than
just geometry. Eastman 2009 argued that BIM covers “spatial
relationships, light analysis, geographic information, and quantities and
properties of building components.” (Cited in Goubau,
2016)  Eastman further mentioned that BIM is the current star
player in the construction industry, even though the technology has been around
for about a decade now, it is in recent years there has been an increased buzz
and enthusiasm been created within the industry for BIM. In keeping with the
previous definition of BIM, it is safe to say that it is not just a technology
but is a process. A process spanning the current and future generation and
management of the physical and functional information of any given project. It
is the output of the process are what determines what is BIM or what we refer
to as BIMs. They are ultimately digital files that describe every aspect of the
project and support decision-making throughout a/the project cycle. Smith, 2014
argued that the misconception of BIM is that it is nothing more than a 3D
modelling but BIM is actually a lot more as in involves much more than that.
Within the BIM system, there are subsets and similar technological features
more than just 3D which is referring to the depth, width and height but that
the BIM system can be extended easily by including further dimensions such as
4D that refers to time, 5D which is cost, 6D which as-built operation, 7D which
represents sustainability and 8D being safety (as cited in Goubau, 2016).

Smith 2007 postulated that the concept of BIM
is to build a building virtually, prior to building it physically, in order to
work out problems, and simulate and analyse potential impacts. The heart of BIM
is an authoritative building information model. While according to Kymmel
(2008) virtual building implies that it is possible to practice construction,
to experiment, and to make adjustments in the project before it is actualized.
Virtual mistakes generally do not have serious consequences provided that they
are identified and addressed early enough that they can be avoided in the
actual construction of the project. When a project is planned and built
virtually, most of its relevant aspects can be considered and communicated
before the instructions for construction are finalized. It is like running a
simulation of construction project by considering all aspect of construction
life cycle. In term of the types of information or data that can be derived
within BIM. Stated in Eastman 2009, he explains that BIM could provide 2-D and
3D drawing with non-graphical information including specifications, cost data,
scope data, and schedules. Further stated that BIM systems creates an
object-oriented database, this means that it is made up of intelligent objects,
for example representation of doors, windows, and walls which capable of
storing both quantitative and qualitative information about the project. So,
while a door represented in a 2D CAD drawing is just a collection of lines, in
BIM it is an intelligent object containing information on its size, cost,
manufacturer, schedule and more. But BIM goes beyond further by creating a
relational database. This means that all information in the BIM is
interconnected, and when a change is made to an object in the database, all
other affected area and objects are immediately updated. For example, if a wall
is deleted, a doors and windows within the wall are also deleted, and all data
on project scope, cost, and schedule are instantly adjusted (Goubau, 2016).

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Furthermore, Eastman et al, 2011 stipulated
that to extend the application of BIM to integrated practice in construction,
BIM should be used as a building model repository. A building model repository
is a database system whose schema is based on a published object based format.
Building Model repositories are object based, allowing query, transfer,
updating and management of individual project objects from potentially
heterogeneous set of application. In this application, building model
repository will be a central of information where each project participants are
oriented to a single source of information. According to Hardin 2008, BIMs
information can be both visual and database driven. The concept of linking the
visual representation with the spreadsheet, quantity, or other data source, it
is associated with it being pushed further into the realm of open-ended
systems. Eastman 2009,
highlighted that there were objects and tools to the BIM system. He stated that
BIM represents a design as a combination of “objects” that are vague and
undefined, that they were either generic or product-specific, solid shapes or
void-space oriented (like the shape of a room), that carry their geometry,
relations and attributes (cited in Goubau, 2106).

Moreover, BIMs design tools allow the extraction of
different views from a model for production of drawing among other things.
These different views are automatically consistent, as they come from a single
definition of each “object instance” (Eastman, 2009). Objects are also defined
as parameters and relations to other objects, so that if there are changes in a
related object, dependent or adjacent ones will automatically change or adjust
(Eastman, 2009). Each element of a building model can
carry attributes to automatically select and order them where cost estimates
and material tracking and ordering can be provided (Eastman, 2009). To add, BIM takes the traditional paper-based tools
of construction projects, puts them on a virtual environment and allows a level
of efficiency, communication and collaboration that exceeds those of
traditional construction processes (Lee, 2008). As such BIM will provide
potential beneficial to construction projects
in the Caribbean as it will revolutionize the construction industry throughout
the Caribbean. This digital technology will introduce a way to design that is
more adept than the likes of traditional Computer, Aided Design (CAD) drawings.
BIM is a process incorporating new more effective techniques and technologies
that will result in a better and more efficient project and quite simply, it
will allow us to build better buildings, at a faster and cheaper rate by
producing digital data in a more accurate data in a coordinated and managed
way. BIM encourages a collaborative approach to the design and project
management of buildings through the new world of digital construction that will
greatly benefit AEC and clients and other key stakeholders. The traditional 2
dimensional drawings focus on Length, Breathe and Depth using lines but with
BIM, it adds more dimensions into the process, such as time, cost and
performance management, which will be very good for the regional industry now
and in years to come. The BIM system is critical in order to achieve high
efficiency and productivity throughout the Caribbean construction industry. The
adaptation of such technology, when integrated successfully, as seen throughout
Europe, will transform the manner in which we see, design and project manage buildings.
Clients and AEC need not be worried about BIM, but be cognizant of its benefits
and attributes as the experts of BIM as assured its benefits and end product as
in seen in the London 2012 Olympic stadium which was completed in 2014. 

The
benefits of implementing BIM go beyond the coordination of geometry and clash
detection as stated in the forgoing discussion, a BIM model contains
intelligence and can generate very accurate bills of quantities that meet SMM
standards of measurement. A BIM model can also be used to create energy
analysis and carbon footprint calculations essential for designers that adopt
leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED). The intelligent model can
also drive facility management software so that the benefits can accrue over
the life of the construction project. When considered in a holistic way BIM is
an investment strategy
that cannot sensibly be ignored by participants in the construction sector. Although
BIM is far more developed in northern Europe it is being adopted at a rapid
rate in North America. Caribbean developers, consultants and contractors need
to give serious and urgent consideration to adopting BIM skills if we are to
ensure that we can offer cutting edge technology and tools to our Clients. BIM
is an essential prerequisite for Integrated Project Delivery and Design-Build
processes that are also becoming increasingly popular, therefore, now that the
construction project is experiencing a slow period, it is a good time to
upgrade its processes. BIM growth is necessary in Jamaica’s construction
industry. It has the potential to fuel a new and productive future in the life
of Jamaica and the Caribbean construction project lives (see Figure 7).

 

 

 

 

 

The impacts of BIM
implementation as a visualization technology, future potential and challenges
in construction projects within Jamaica and the Caribbean will be investigated
in this study in comparison with that of the traditional methods. The effects
of these changed outlooks on the length of the lifecycle phases will be
assessed and investigated. Qualitative and quantitative data will be used to
collect from existing literature, an online questionnaire and interviews. The
research considered all building construction projects in Jamaica and the
Caribbean, however scope will be limited to using online questionnaires of
building projects only. These will be grouped by several stages such as design
concept, design developed, and technicality of design and Construction
stage. The group of participants in the data collection represented will
be architects and engineers, contractors and sub-contractors, along with
clients, owners and operators in the industry. In doing this research, the use
of qualitative data is important to identify reasons based on assumptions,
observations and experiences that need to be tested, hence data collected might
be subjective by nature (Naoum, 1998). Moreover, with this research being based
on BIM implementation, future and challenges including cost, quantitative data
is also collected in the questionnaire, which is the quantification of
qualitative data. This gathered data will be reviewed against literature to
indicate similarities or contradictions.

 

Given the various positive outcomes for each stage
of the project lifecycle when BIM is implemented, we strongly recommend the
implementation of BIM in all stages of construction projects. The existing
theory has identified various benefits that are produced for inception, brief,
design, production, maintenance and decomposition stage of the AEC projects. We
emphasize one most significant benefit for each stage of the project. In the
inception part BIM is used as a conceptual tool.

Therefore constructing 3D models and capturing all
the relevant data leads to various positive outcomes in all stages of the
project lifecycle and for all the stakeholders. To achieve the benefits of BIM,
a transition, as well as specific technical mind set is obligatory. The absence
of direction for this development and the reduced amount of studies rooted in
reality to support firms in their adoption represent a significant drawback and
barrier to the extensive use among the AEC industry. Project managers trained
in BIM should therefore be assigned as project leaders more often, as they are
likely to implement BIM in a project, and build awareness.

It is also vital to comprehend how the notification
process operates with the model to guarantee that any alterations to the overall
design have been fully understood, tested and affirmed by other parties to the
contract. One possible answer to this problem is for the project team to
acquire a particular single project insurance policy. This could solve
contractual matters between the parties and remove the difficulty in setting
the consultants’ relevant responsibilities. BIM utilization will probably raise
significantly due to a push for public projects to use such technologies, which
may affect the way project teams agree to deal with insurance requirements.

In addition to improving technology BIM facilitates more effective
decision-making in the project design and project production stages. BIM use
cuts cost of design and can speed up the market entry, all the while reducing
the ambiguity and integrating multiple disciplines, which includes data, design
and documentation. BIM benefits architects as it eliminates manual checking
work and as it facilitates quick decision-making and execution on various
project tasks. In the operation stage, the informational output of BIM
encompasses parameters of project performance, both on project operations and
the economic aspect of it. These parameters enable informed decision-making and
help ensure positive outcomes of the project. When utilized effectively BIM
could also lessen the construction time, reduce overhead costs, support digital
project documentation and even make sure relationships between key stakeholders
are respectable.

A detailed plan and well-defined objectives regarding BIM which would
allow for more effective adoption and implementation should be constructed by
project owners and managers.

The current
research identifies relevant factors and outcomes of BIM, and sets up a
framework for a future study. The critical review of BIM benefits contributes
to the existing body of literature on AEC and BIM. Based on the review of
factors a conceptual model testing the relationship between various BIM
outcomes, and factors impacting implementation should be constructed and
empirically tested. These types of qualitative studies would help fill the gap
as the prevalent research in BIM is mostly of qualitative nature 

 

Challenges to the implementation of
visualization technology in Jamaica and the Caribbean

The challenges to the implementation of visualization
technology in Jamaica and the Caribbean Construction industry varies. The stem
from the lack of appreciation by the senior managers, many companies and entity
may not take up on the implementation of visualization technologies. The
challenges or barriers noticed in the literatures are the adversarial
relationships in the execution and procurement processes as the client could be
involved from the start to finish using the collaborative approach as discussed
in case study. Lack of knowledge and shortages in ICT Skills is a barrier and
this is the main reason why the traditional techniques and tools using 2D
drawings is still being used by the industry, this can be easily curtailed. In
the construction industry 3D skill is short and limited and it does not have to
be, technology can be self-taught and it is effective in the long term running
of a company. The time available for tendering a project also poses as a
barrier to the implementation of technologies because the time between the
releases of tender documents and submission is limited and to develop 4D models
process can take a few weeks. Another is that there is a fear of transparency
of information and this poses a key concern among construction industries. This
is so because the client could use the information provided at any time against
the construction company since delays and errors would be visible to the
client. The other kind of fear is the use of explicit information about the
technical aspects of the operations which companies may not wish to share with
others to protect their opportunities for obtaining future contracts. In
comparing the construction industry of Jamaica and the Caribbean to the
international industry, such as the United Kingdom, 80% of the subcontractors
have less than 20 personnel, whilst the local region industry is fragmented
with many small subcontractors. Another is the overwhelming resistance to
change as there is a serious reluctance to change their working styles with a
belief that the traditional approach still satisfies the job requirement.

However, responsibility assignment of project
parties becomes a challenge as BIM permits numerous project members to
participate in modelling process at the same time. Additional challenges
encompass BIM standards, interoperability, collaboration, and change
management.

On the other hand, with anything in life there will
be challenges and the use of technology is not excluded. Despite the growing
need for improved technologies in the construction projects, challenges are
presented to the introduction of the technology in construction. Due to the lack of appreciation by the senior
managers, many companies have not and will not take up the implementation
project. The challenges comes in forms of adversarial relationships in the
procurement and execution processes. This is where 4D model use, shows us that
the client could be involved from the start and collaborative approach is seen
as essential. Another being ICT Skills Shortage. As we know not everyone has
garnered the tech savvy nature and there are 3D skill shortages in the
construction industry and the traditional way of developing 2D drawings is
continued by the industry in construction projects. Another existing challenge
is the time available to tender. Time is very vital in any given
business-client affairs and the time between the release of tender documents to
submission is relatively short and construction companies do not have
sufficient time to develop 4D models since the process can take a few weeks.
Whilst transparency can be good, it can also be a fear to those who understand
that errors are possible. Fear of transparency of information is a challenge
because there is a key concern among construction companies that the client
could use the information provided against the construction company since
delays and errors would be visible to the client. As well as the use of
explicit information about the technical aspects of the operations which
companies may not wish to share with others to protect their opportunities for
obtaining future contracts can be another fear. 
And the last but not least is the greatest of them all. The Caribbean is
very resistant to change- and with this reluctance to change working styles
with a belief that the traditional approach still satisfies the job requirement
has been a challenge.

However, with the growing need and demand for new
and improved technology, the future potential of BIM especially in the construction, an industry
typically slow to adapt to change is positive and endless. Using BIM to
steer this dying need will facilitate the visible and necessary changes needed
for construction projects in the Caribbean as it will improve visualization,
productivity through information retrieval, increase coordination of construction
documents, linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials,
location of details and quantities required for tendering, increase speed of
delivery and reduce overall cost. Information modelling and automated
quantities technologies can provide the industry with consequential
opportunities to raise the quality of the industry to a much higher and
sophisticated level. Having the capability to simulate a range of data options
with real-time cost advice and carry on throughout the detailed design,
construction, and operational stages, BIM will surely place construction
practices at a higher value.  

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The implementation
of visualization technologies in construction projects in Jamaica is very slow
despite the international influences and new improved visualization
technologies. The advancements in 3D, 4D CAD and virtual reality are capable of
handling complex models and can change the culture of the nation’s construction
industry. Serious initiatives are required to encourage the implementation and use
of visualization technologies are seen as essential and researchers, developers
and industry must work together to deliver affordable solutions for the
construction industry and lessons must be learned from the benefits gained by automotive
and aerospace industry in the forgoing discussion.