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TECH TALK- Technology in the Construction World

Kristen Ernst, VDC Manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Kristen Ernst, VDC Manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co

A guest blog post by CREWBaltimore member Kristen Ernst, VDC manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

The construction industry is known for valuing consistency over change. In the 21st century, however, society wants its built environments bigger, better, quicker, and safer. Construction visual technology is one of the innovations being embraced by this otherwise conservative industry.

A typical project starts with an Owner’s vision, which requires a Design team to create the desired space. Add in a Construction team to make it a physical reality and then an Operations team to maintain it.

How can you make this time-tested process more efficient?

The answer — Building Information Modeling (BIM)


What is BIM?

Known as “BIM,” Building Information Modeling has transformed how projects are planned, designed, constructed, and managed. A 3D visual is inherently easier to work with than the same in 2D. You can see the actual scale of objects, know the properties of the objects, and figure out how they fit together correctly. This has directly affected how projects can be phased and constructed more efficiently.

What Are the Benefits of BIM?

BIM, for better or worse, can bring more project information to all of the team members’ fingertips. It does this through the D’s: 3D, 4D, 5D, and 6D. Each one adds a layer of information that would not be relayed within the standard process.

  • 3D adds the third dimension to what was once designed with just 2D lines.
  • 4D adds the element of Time by linking a schedule to the model.
  • 5D adds Cost by assigning cost to the model components.
  • 6D adds Life Cycle data for Facility Management to those components

Each D adds valuable information, but some projects do not require all four Ds to be successful. That’s important to remember, considering that each D comes with a cost of its own. Knowing how the Owner, Operator, and/or Management team(s) want to use a model through the project and at turnover will help guide how the project’s design should be initiated.

construction modeling

This proves that, even with new technology, communication and collaboration are still principal ingredients for a successful project.

In the upcoming CREWBaltimore Tech Talks, we hope to explore more real estate technology and how it can benefit your projects, properties, and daily activities. Whether it’s optimizing 3D model data or laser scanning for accurate as-built conditions, it will be covered here!

Stay tuned and look to your fellow CREW members for assistance in taking your company to the next level!