Digitizing Material Data Is Essential for Building Material Manufacturers in the Long Term

NBS International published its BIM Report 2016 based on a survey conducted with construction industry professionals from the U.K., Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Japan. According to this report, 90% of the respondents are using building information modeling (BIM) to produce 3D visualizations, more than 70% of BIM users use it for clash detection, and around 50% use BIM for performance analysis. Clearly, there is a new level of awareness towards BIM and the majority of industry professionals think that it will be an integral part of design processes in one way or another. As the construction industry transitions towards digitization, the BIM landscape is loaded with various software solutions satisfying specific designers’ needs. We recently published a report detailing these BIM solutions ([see the report “Beyond Material Innovations: How Construction Technologies for Digitization and Automation Will Compete and Influence the Industry”] client registration required). It is essential for building material manufacturers to understand this landscape and how these solutions might influence them in the short as well as long term. This insight points out the benefits of BIM for material manufacturers going forward.

  • Material manufacturers gain visibility through making product data available in BIM object library. Since architects and engineers are now using digital systems for design and documentation, they opt for products of which material data is available in open BIM format. In addition, generative design processes that can select materials without designer input is on the way. Regardless of how the selection is made, BIM integration is essential in a long-term digitization strategy.
  • Quantifying the value of intangible benefits is becoming possible. There is increased demand on products contributing not only to energy efficiency but also indoor health and well-being, and we see efforts to determine the economic value of these qualitative benefits. For example, Autocase for Buildings puts a dollar value on the benefits associated with LEED credits, including productivity gains, improved health, and reduced absenteeism. This helps material manufacturers easily communicate the intangible benefits of their products.
  • Getting feedback about a product’s life cycle will be easier. Major building material suppliers are already unveiling their BIM object libraries. By populating BIM object libraries, manufacturers have the opportunity to know more about the projects that consider using their products. In the future, they can even get feedback on the conditions, and actual performance of their products in any project. Based on this feedback, they will be able to offer product upgrades or further improve their products for better future applications.

Digitizing product data is the first step that will bring further development opportunities for material manufacturers. Each company should look into digitizing their product data and benefiting from the different opportunities that are relevant to their business.

By: Tugce Uslu