Vaduz launched a pilot project to test Building Information Modeling, a digital method to improve construction planning. It could open up new possibilities for the construction industry.

The firefighters of Liechtenstein’s capital city Vaduz are getting a new station. What’s exciting about that is not so much the building itself, but how the city plans to build it.

It’s a pilot project where the city wants to use the BIM method for the first time. BIM stands for “Building Information Modeling,” a digital construction planning method that should make construction and maintenance more efficient.

What is Building Information Modeling?

BIM enables a digital record of the entire life cycle of a building from the concept phase to deconstruction. You could say BIM models are digital representations of real buildings and their operations.

Vaduz’s mayor Manfred Bischof explains, “Today, planning is usually carried out independently by all experts and specialists and finally exchanged among themselves and superimposed several times to identify points of conflict. In the process, data can be lost and collisions overlooked. The BIM method enables a much higher level of detail and makes the information accessible to all project participants.”

BIM offers a holistic view of the construction process. It considers all building-specific data such as design, construction, erection, and the operation of the building. It also includes geometric and alphanumeric information of a building, such as the material used or the diameter of a water pipe. The modeling itself relies on dynamic and virtual 3D models that represent the life cycle of a building.

“BIM is not software, but a method based on end-to-end digital building concepts,” said Mayor Bischof. “It encompasses much more than looking at one phase of a building’s lifecycle in isolation or focusing on the design of a building using computers and software. The BIM method looks at the complete life cycle of a building, from design to deconstruction.”

Advantages 

BIM opens up new possibilities in digital construction. It enables planners to focus on the long-term use of a building and model the lifetime costs. Planners can use all the digitally recorded building data to plan potential building expansions or necessary renovations. That enables more precise financial planning and a total cost perspective.

Besides financial planning aspects, BIM also allows for more efficient construction planning. It enables better cooperation and increased transparency among all project participants, as all data is available digitally, stored centrally, and can thus easily be shared. That reduces errors and enables improved checking and schedule security.

Next steps

The firefighting station is a pilot project. The long-term expectation is that the BIM method can be used for all kinds of construction projects in Liechtenstein, both in public and private domains.

There will be an initial outlay in the first project phase as this is the first time the city uses this method. Costs should decrease with each subsequent project until the method has become established.

If used regularly and efficiently, BIM should reduce the city’s construction cost and improve long-term maintenance and environmental aspects.

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