The instantly memorable drama with which Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 5th Symphony announces itself to the listener transcends time. One doesn’t even have to be much of a Classical Music fanatic to be familiar with that iconic introduction.
Sports motivational videos, movie soundtracks and countless more have used the motif as shorthand for “this is dramatic”, so deeply is it engraved in public consciousness.
The 5th symphony used doubled winds and brass and paired flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets – something that was unprecedented for that era. A few dots and squiggles on a piece of paper combined with the appropriate ‘technology’ of the time brought together several components of a grand orchestra to create a masterpiece. Such is the power of being able to being able to bring all individual components and elements together in one unified endeavor.
The complex intricacies that make up a construction project have always been an obvious candidate for the influence of technology. Once a laggard in adopting enabling digital platforms, the construction industry is now making up for lost time in dramatic fashion. As we enter an age of unparalleled, high value, megaprojects – to rebuild developed nations and rapidly ramp up infrastructure in developing ones – 5D BIM Modeling is taking centrestage, as the definitive end-to-end enterprise solution for the industry.
Bigger, better, faster and smarter
So what is 5D BIM Modeling, you ask? Well, to begin with, the BIM part refers to Business Information Modeling. This, essentially, is a means to ensure that the entire construction process, from design to collaboration and across multiple teams and individuals, is data-driven and empowered by transparency and highly specific insights. The ‘5D’ half of the term refers to being able to extend traditional 3D virtual modeling to include parameters such as materials and layout, in terms of the cost and time involved.
With smart cities, digital transformation and cognitive technologies coming to the fore as empowering enablers of the world of tomorrow, they are also playing a crucial role in aligning the construction industry with exponential growth. Governments in the Middle East were already in the throes of a proactive transformation towards becoming more diversified post-oil economies and some of this enthusiastic momentum seems to have been harnessed in the service of an emphasis on digital transformation as well. In any event, the region is emerging as one of the leaders in embracing a tech-empowered future, across the globe. As home to a dynamic and ambitious construction sector, it would be likely to emerge as a trendsetter in the digitization of the industry as well.
A potent new solution appears
MTWO, a 5D BIM enterprise cloud solution created in collaboration by RIB Software SE of Stuttgart and Microsoft, is fast gaining a reputation as an industry leading platform in addressing the needs of a new and digitally empowered construction sector. A combination of RIB’s flagship product, iTWO 4.0 and Microsoft Azure and Dynamics services, MTWO delivers a state of the art enterprise solution, to unlock unprecedented optimization of efficiencies and resource utilization. The great strength of the MTWO solution stems from its complete automation of modeling; providing a unified platform for ERP, estimation and surveying tools; as well as ensuring that it the software has transparent access to all relevant enterprise data, throughout the building lifecycle and the entire value chain of the project.
Accessible through an intuitive user interface, and compatible with all connected devices, MTWO helps organizations make the leap from big-data to smart data. With its enterprise-wide, global-scale multi-project management capability, multiple language settings, multiple measurement standard compatibility and multiple workflow capacity, absolutely nothing stands in the way of MTWO as a unified platform – not even the involvement of multiple currencies and tax systems! This is a truly and comprehensively, end-to-end solution.
So where is all this leading us next?
Imagine granular detail across sub-contractors, suppliers and stakeholders – and the resulting streamlined view compounded by uniform reportage, estimating, and process optimization. Now add an empowering layer of AI and Machine Learning, which retains insights from all previous projects and continually refines them to benefit all future ones, in an iterative process that makes the operation smarter with each passing day. What might such an operation be able to achieve? What level of productivity and performance can it reasonably aspire to? The mind boggles! As dramatic as it sounds to say it, this truly is the dawn of an era in which construction eco-systems will redefine their capabilities and powers.
The renewal of the Hanover Central Station was one of the first large-scale European projects to be undertaken using a 5D BIM approach. The project management experience, and the quality of the project, were so radically improved that Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) has since moved all project activity across to this new model of working. “We plan to standardize complex projects on BIM in the next five years. Our team has made a huge commitment on this”, says Heinz Ehrbar, Senior Consultant for Major Infrastructure Projects.
With 7D BIM – which adds sustainability and facilities management considerations to the mix – already on its way, the once tech averse construction industry may well emerge as one of the epicenters of digital transformation. Few human activities involve stakeholders as diverse, interdependencies as complex and quality concerns as exacting. Not only will 5D BIM modeling be an ideal way for the construction industry to do things, in the very near future it will be the only way.