•   By bimengus
  •   November 20, 2019

The future of resilient construction – Building Information Modeling


The world of construction and infrastructure has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most critical aspects in construction engineering is the presence of the word or phenomenon called “disaster”.

Through modernized tools and processes like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and autonomous technology or automation, disaster risks can be mitigated substantially.

3D modeling has changed the world of construction wherein it serves as a catalyst to save cost & time. These new improvements have changed the way AEC professionals design, analyze, and build projects.

The current plot

Looking at the current population scenario, it is important to reflect technological advancements from the AEC fraternity, and provide a means to help the current population through sensitive conditions.

The word “disaster” carries a myriad of meanings, which could range from human errors in building infrastructure, usage of low quality materials, lack of skill, or natural disasters.

The lack of knowledge in people that move from a rural setup to an urban one creates inferior or substandard construction that lacks optimum structural components to withstand disasters.

Understanding the word “resilience” comes from an understanding that talks about the capacity of a person, system, or thing to recover with flexibility. It is important to understand that resilient construction is not the same as sustainable construction.

New technological tools and processes use resilient tools and technology to design buildings, communities, or landscapes that respond extremely well to any kind of construction disaster.

Moving from a traditional workflow to a BIM or automated workflow has contributed to the resilience factor. A legacy or traditional retrofit comprises of processes that include limited scalability in terms of –

Data Compilation

Architects, engineers, and various AEC professionals are included in this process wherein a survey records all the measurements of building elements viz. floors, walls, doors, etc. This is the first data stack; the second data stack is collected and analyzed for seismic parameters.  

Data Conversion

Vulnerability judgment – Data in terms of vulnerability includes seismic processes like earthquakes, floods, etc.

Structural study – In order to come up with a seismic calculation, structural engineers take into consideration the exact structural configuration of the building or project.

Retrofit outline –As a conclusion of the vulnerability assessment, the architects and engineers come up with a proposal that includes building elements like beams, column, etc. This structural analysis ensures the building is resilient during a natural disaster.

  1. Documentation

This process includes the process of creating high-quality documents or document stacks that include crucial information like –

  • Existing building plans
  • Study of structural analysis
  • Retrofit information
  • Building details
  • Cost estimation or BOQ

Construction Process

Once the construction process is complete and approved by all the parties – internal and external, the installation of elements like slabs, walls, and various other elements begins.

With this traditional retrofit method, the project experienced a myriad of bottlenecks that made the whole process inefficient and non-resilient.

  • Traditional methodologies to create spreadsheets
  • Absence of an integrated platform for all the stakeholders
  • Manual modeling techniques to include digital models into a retrofit setting
  • Manual hand-sketching techniques for a geometric survey

BIM’s contribution in disaster management

New processes like BIM integrated with modern tools and technology optimizes disaster resilience, performance, and sustainability for a construction project. BIM can be referred to as an Information and Communications Technology nerve center that facilitates the use of information at every stage of the project lifecycle.

The deployment of BIM is extremely beneficial for every project phase or lifecycle viz. design, development, FM, and demolition. The role of BIM for pre and post disaster management can be listed as –

Pre-Disaster Phase

The Design Phase –

  • Assess design options
  • Facilitate design team involvement early on in the design process
  • Minimize construction waste
  • Run structural performance & resilience simulations

Design and Construction

  • Adopt health and safety standards

Construction Phase

  • Use lean processes to improve onsite construction


Post-Disaster Phase

Evacuation & Rescue –

  • Quick evacuation
  • Asses or evaluate evacuee conduct or attitude
  • Governing BIM data compliance
  • Furnishing accurate BIM data corresponding to disaster management
  • Escorting evacuees to the nearest safe locations
  • Optimizing fire safety

Recovery & Reconstruction

  • Deploying 4D BIM to enhance quality management and optimize the process for change orders
  • Enhance new construction resilience

In Summary

As we move forward into the future, the frequency and magnitude of these natural disasters may elevate due to various global factors, and construction resilience would be one of the most critical aspects of in terms of sustainability and precautions require the presence of global collaboration.

BIM processes and technology will play an important role in terms of construction project management, environment resilience, etc. It is also important for the concept of resilience to be integrated into work culture and practices that augment productivity.

The adoption of BIM can be adopted to build professional governing bodies, necessary training, relevant education, universal codes, and robust frameworks.

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