•   By bimengus
  •   March 23, 2021

Visualize digital twins in the field


  • One of the most impactful in the construction industry is digital twins
  • Improving the analytics capabilities of BIM is a key feature of Digital Twins
  • Virtual construction models can clone every detail of a given building
  • Individual components and specific materials are detailed with in-depth information
  • Depth of data in these models is crucial and valuable for construction firms
  • Detailed digital models can enable better information based on various scenarios in the field
  • It is the most detailed model as stakeholders can leverage a virtual copy of the real-world structure
  • Construction companies use digital twins to build detailed models of the existing object or structure
  • Various simulations can be tested viz. natural lighting, fluid dynamics, HVAC systems, etc.
  • Digital Twins convey a greater process-oriented characterization through a combination of IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Software Analytics, and Machine Learning
  • Digital Twins are also deployed to leverage better modifications, maintenance, and operations

Transformational advantages of a Digital Twin

  • BIM and Digital Twin strategies are built on common principles
  • Improve process visibility and support project planning
  • Unifies information from initial design for manufacturers, component selection, onsite delivery, etc. to maintenance and operations
  • Used in site construction to constantly update information
  • Reduction in site visits by stakeholders based on information stored & shared in the digital model
  • Manage and minimize change orders based on smart design & project planning to reduce the impact of schedule and budget on the project
  • Cost savings by avoiding project rework through data collected by sensors from the job site and updating the As-Built model
  • Improved collaboration based on a two-way information flow from the job site to the twin, and the twin to the job site
  • Every team stays on the same page with access to real-time data to make informed decisions
  • Improved worker safety through real-time tracking worker tracking in unsafe zones based on sensors installed in critical areas to monitor stress and load
  • Validate project deliverables and constructability through digital twins for reliable maintenance and operations
  • Monitor building safety with sensors installed in the structure to transmit data to the digital model
  • Test virtual sequencing and logistics to reduce construction and onsite costs
  • Optimize operational performance and sustainability

Resource Administration

  1. Build an information tunnel between the field and back-office
  2. Automated data distribution helps resolve resource allocation problems and labor cost bottlenecks
  • Jobsites become more affordable and efficient

High-quality and value-packed construction deliverables –

  1. High-quality deliverables help owners perform structural enhancements
  2. Offers invaluable insights on perpetual building operations
  • Clients can leverage DTs to optimize projects in the future

Connected construction –

  1. Utilize and share information from a centralized platform
  2. Update 3D BIM models with automated and constructible information
  • 3D models can integrate dimensions, model details, etc. to maintain model and data integrity

A practical example of a Digital Twin.

  • Consider multiple high-rise structures working on a centralized HVAC system
  • If any element of the HVAC system were to malfunction or perform below the required efficiency, sensors would send data to the digital twin and alert maintenance personnel at the earliest
  • This would reduce time-consuming and costly repairs of the HVAC system
  • It would also enable greater resident safety and staff safety depending on the type of project
  • Owners can leverage a better understanding of their buildings or facilities & manage them accordingly

Key considerations firms need to make before connecting BIM with Digital Twins.

  • Better data integrity to leverage effective insights
  • Granular data identification for design and operational adoption
  • Careful consideration of data interoperability between various technologies
  • Comprehensive capture of legacy data with a digital-first approach
  • Enable diverse teams to collaborate easily to leverage the best results
  • Extensive end-user access for process optimization, cost reduction, and efficient deliverables

Application of Digital twins in AEC and FM, Smart Cities

  • Prediction
  • Simulation
  • Monitoring
  • Lifecycle
  • Sensing
  • Optimization
  • IoT
  • AI
  • BIM
  • Knowledgebase
  • Linked Data

Optimizing onsite processes using Digital Twins

  • Effectively plan out the construction process through timeline planning
  • Computer-simulated models to calculate construction materials & tools
  • Plan manpower schedules using digital twins for clarity and efficiency
  • Monitoring discrepancies and mistakes in real-time
  • Proactive project tracking to stay on schedule
  • Track hazardous areas on the field using drones and sensors

The process to build a Digital Twin

  • Select the right software to build a digital twin viz. Dassault Systems, Procore construction, etc.
  • Build the model before construction by recording a digital twin in a computer model
  • Setup data-collection tools or devices like sensors, smartphones, IoT devices, etc.
  • Analyze and adopt data during the construction process

Transformational breakthroughs in Modular Construction with Digital Twins

  • Adopting Digital Twins for Modular Construction can help reduce costs and save construction time
  • Simulating onsite assemblies of manufactured components can be simulated to prevent rework and save construction time
  • As DT’s have begun playing a major role in modular construction, they can be scaled with these steps:
  1. Build generative design instead of traditional 2D drawings – helps speed up projects and saves time
  2. Analyze component performance before building – digital twins help manufacturers analyze component tolerances through expansion, deformation, etc.
  • Make data or information accessible to every team and project stakeholder – leverage the power of design algorithms with technical factors to avoid silos
  1. Capture and analyze data from the modular product – integrating sensors into fabricated components helps designers understand the component performance


  • The construction sector can significantly benefit from adopting Digital Twins in the construction sector
  • As BIM tools evolve, they need technology that can help unlock new levels of data visibility and coordination
  • Improving construction requires a true CDE that not only helps people in the field but augments design and operations as well
  • Perpetually improving everything that can be interacted with by combining multiple data sources will be the next step in sustainable construction.

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