BIM in the Electrical Industry

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a source of technology meant to improve the planning process of projects so that workers can anticipate any potential conflicts with a complex project, look for opportunities to improve an installation and coordinate with other trades on a construction project. 

BIM is still a relatively new option, but it presents many great advantages for working on projects. That said, Maddox Electric has been using this technology for over a decade as we continue to push the limits and solve some variables still causing electrical construction projects to face difficult challenges. We will discuss how BIM has been impacting the electrical construction industry as well as ways that Maddox Electric implements BIM.

Ways BIM Improves Electrical Construction

BIM is still not widely used within the electrical construction industry because it’s so new. When contractors use BIM to plan the design of a project, the technology is often not used to its full potential.

The key for these professionals is to use BIM during the preliminary design stage to detect and anticipate errors before beginning the detailed design and subsequent installation stages. Utilizing BIM in the early conception phase of the project will help contractors save time and money by not having to face the problem on the ground or at the job site when the error occurs. Here are four more ways BIM can help with electrical construction:

  1. Better organization: BIM can be a great way to plan the design of control and electrical rooms.
  2. Time savings: Complex installations are no longer as difficult to plan. BIM can cut the time used to design and model complicated installations.
  3. Renovation convenience: BIM is extremely valuable when it comes to working in a building that’s currently in use. It makes it easier to replace any product installed or do a compliance upgrade because you can easily pull up the model to see the information.
  4. BIM software: Some software applications workwith BIM to analyze energy efficiency and sustainability. The software analyzes for standard energy and renewable energy to eliminate energy waste.

Where BIM Falls Short

BIM is still in its infancy and facing advancements throughout the next few years. Some key elements make it difficult for electrical contractors and engineers to entirely rely on it because it does not provide the same efficiency for the electrical construction industry as it does for other sectors:

  • Lack of standardization: Typically, there is a design model and a construction model. Because of this disconnect, as design changes arise, designers aren’t looking at the potential impacts of the change on the construction model.
  • BIM design software: BIM is unable to design cable concepts, which are crucial in the electrical construction industry. 
  • A requirement for user-friendly tools: BIM currently lacks multiple tools for every design phase related to industrial and sustainable requirements. Requirements include making BIM the only platform to perform all electrical engineering modeling, design and analysis.
  • File downloading: The files BIM downloads are in megabytes, so it can be challenging to download the model and data needed. 

How Maddox Electric Uses BIM Technology

BIM is still in its infancy and will go through advancements over the next few years. Some key elements make it difficult for electrical contractors and engineers to entirely rely on it because it does not provide the same efficiency for the electrical construction industry as it does for other industries: 

  • Design coordination: As a design model gets transferred, our BIM team quickly assesses opportunities for our installation. We do this with careful coordination of other trades.
  • Pre-fabrication: We use BIM to tackle time-saving prefab projects, such as overhead racks, light fixture assemblies and device installation.
  • Shop drawings: BIM has a huge benefit in creating installation shop drawings that are fully coordinated. This gives our installers the confidence in knowing their installation will be correct the first time, saving owners and contractors time.
  • On-site models: At our projects, our installers have BIM stations with large screens where they can view and access the model in real time. This benefits the whole team by allowing on-site coordination to occur with no delay in information. 

Our team at Maddox is always looking for innovative techniques for the projects we’re assigned. If you’d like to learn about the innovative and creative techniques Maddox Electric Company uses, contact us for more information.