The Impact of BIM on Civil and Structural Engineering

BIM benefits in project lifecycle

Civil and structural engineers play an important part in infrastructure life cycles, from project conception to delivery, operations, and eventual decommissioning. Engineers rely on accurate data to support multidisciplinary decision-making and inform operations at every stage. BIM has revolutionized the civil/structural environment, assisting engineers with turnkey project planning, design, construction, ownership, and maintenance.

BIM (Building Information Modeling) has been high on the priority list of all organizations involved in the planning, design, and construction of buildings. BIM is quickly evolving from a niche technology-based paradigm to the foundation for addressing many of the industry’s weaknesses, including quality, collaboration, communication, and productivity.

The core principle of BIM complements civil and structural engineers’ life cycle role by ensuring that information is created and structured in such a way that it can be reused by others, whether through collaboration with other disciplines to complete a task or through supporting activities that make it available for reuse by others in subsequent phases of the asset’s lifecycle.

Integrating BIM into Civil and Structural Engineering

Civil and structural engineering, unlike many other disciplines in the built environment, encompasses a set of skills and competencies that can be applied to a wide range of projects, from minor slope strengthening and flood mitigation schemes to superstructures like tall buildings and multi-span bridges.

Since engineers play a variety of roles on different projects, BIM for infrastructure owners has evolved into ‘Better Information Management’ across the asset lifecycle, with a strong emphasis on project orientation to give information to support asset management and being smarter about information extraction through operations and maintenance.

Following are some of the technologies and procedures associated with BIM and how adopting BIM might improve your role and the types of tools that support the project lifecycle.

BIM benefits in project lifecycle

1. 3D Design

A geometric representation and schedule of material properties make up an engineering design. Analytical models are used to determine and validate these.

Modeling in 3D (rather than two-dimensional drafting) with scheduling information incorporated against objects in the model and linked to the analytical model closes a loop to keep the design consistent and accurate.

2. Automated Drawing Production

BIM technologies help speed up the drawing production process if the design is already in a 3D model. Taking photos from the 3D model automatically updates plans, elevations, and sections. Any modifications to the BIM model are automatically reflected in drawings and schedules when using this method. 

3. Visualization

Having a photorealistic model of the real landscape to present an interactive 3D model gives a far more interesting way of consulting with customers and the general public than using engineering drawings.


LIDAR combines laser scanning with precise photography to create a 3D point cloud, delivers a considerably richer depiction of the real environment than a standard topographic survey, minimizing the need for exploratory site visits. Although the Scan-to-BIM procedure produces realistic 3D BIM models from the point cloud, the point cloud is often sufficient as a contextual tool without human conversion.

5. Clash Detection

In BIM Level 2 each discipline creates and manages its own 3D model. The conflict detection procedure guarantees that the various models are synchronized in order to eliminate any issues during development. It’s also possible to detect ‘soft collisions,’ which are instances where there isn’t a physical clash but where the proximity of interface components could cause an issue during maintenance.

The FUTURE is BIM Shaped

6. Common Database

A common data ecosystem that provides a single source of project information is a useful tool for effective collaboration and communication. Workflows for document approvals and audit trails for when and by whom decisions were made provide substantial value to the system.

7. 4D BIM Modeling

The planner can validate the schedule by merging the 3D model with a building program to avoid schedule clashes and resourcing problems. Several 4D BIM tools allow the planner to create a construction schedule based on the 3D model, guaranteeing that nothing is overlooked.

8. 5D BIM Modeling

The 3D model is combined with the cost schedule in a 5D model. The computer can determine volumes and dimensions for computations using three-dimensional objects in the model. The estimator can depict a project’s expense profile by combining the 4D and 5D models.

9. Simulation

The 4D model can be modified to recreate the construction sequence at a greater level of sophistication, making the model a digital dress rehearsal of the construction activity. Plant and supplies can be modelled and animated to help with logistics and as the basis for a creative staff briefing.

10. Accessibility

Tablets and smart phones eliminate the need to lug bulky paper drawings around and fill out quality forms on the job. A device connected to the Common Data Framework can immediately read and save data in the central database. Quality assurance, risk assessments, and material records can all be sent promptly, and managers can monitor the processes in real time to ensure they are being followed appropriately.

11. Information Exchange

Nobody wants to sit around at the end of a project, filling in all the paperwork, shipping it to a customer, and manually updating asset management systems. The handover process for the health and safety file is much smoother through a digital information exchange when using a BIM technique, which involves adding to a basic design model during detailed design and construction with inbuilt quality checks.

Why BIM?

As per the UN, the world’s population will be around 9.7 billion by 2050. The global AEC industry must look for intelligent, productive and progressive ways to design and build not just as a means to keep up with global demand but to help create spaces that are smarter and more flexible. BIM represents a new paradigm within AEC, one that encourages integration of the roles of all stakeholders. This is why BIM mandates are increasing across the globe.

Stanford University Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering (CIFE) study based on 32 major projects using BIM indicates benefits such as:

  • Up to 40% elimination of unbudgeted change
  • cost estimation accuracy within 3%
  • Up to 80% reduction in time taken to generate a cost estimate
  • Saves up to 10% of the contract value through clash detections
  • Up to 7% reduction in project time

There are Game-Changing Benefits of BIM in the AEC industry. BIM is an intellectual model-based process to plan building model data that is typically coordinated and measurable and thus AEC professionals can more efficiently design, build and operate buildings and infrastructures.

A true BIM model consists of the virtual equivalents of the actual building parts and pieces used to build a building which means a building can be “built” even before its physical realization through a virtual model.

INDOVANCE Inc delivers a full range of BIM modeling projects. We work on parametric family creation, model creation for all LOD (Level of Detail), 4D, 5D and 6D support and model phasing, as well. We also provide complete support for CAD to BIM, point cloud to BIM conversions, and PDF to BIM conversions.

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website or contact us on +1-919-238-4044.