BIM and ERP integration, the future of construction projects?

BIM has been a buzzword in the construction industry for some time now. At its most basic BIM is a graphical software that must be capable of representing both the physical and intrinsic properties of a building as an object-oriented model tied to a database. It is now considered industry standard procedure and in 2011 became mandatory for government projects. Industry take up for BIM has been strong and many architects believe clients will increasingly insist upon BIM capabilities.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software has also seen a huge adoption rate in construction circles. A flexible, construction tailored and cloud based solution is recognised as providing competitive advantage. It is increasingly becoming a case of “cost of NOT implementing” as opposed to “advantages of implementing.

However, many construction firms are operating with a gap between their BIM capabilities and their Business Management ERP solutions. This is perhaps understandable. Both solutions often require a huge amount of customisation to become fit for purpose. The highly specific requirements of a House Builder compared to a Civil Engineer means implementation of ERP and BIM can be time consuming.

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Businesses are missing a vital trick.

A Cloud based software that incorporates both BIM and ERP is a truly end to end construction management solution. The ultimate goal of implementing a construction solution should be the ability to manage your operations from a single interface. BIM/ERP integration can offer this. To explain how it is worth considering what exactly BIM and ERP Offer:

• BIM is a design technology that creates 3D Visualisations of construction projects using a coherent system of computer models. This allows Real Time collaboration across all departments rather than utilising separate sets of drawings

• ERP is a Business Management solution that manages Financials, Operations and Projects and allows companies to run their businesses, automate key processes and save costs.

When combined these create a powerful Project Management system that revolutionises construction projects.

The Process

BIM creates full size, three-dimensional building projects inside a computer. ERP allows users to determine the final cost, the time frames involved and where the equipment and subcontractors are going to come from.

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BIM accounts for every system, duct, structural column and pipe. ERP schedules the productions and ensures the project needs are met.

The products combined ensure building projects are completed on time, with a minimum of errors and changes. Collaboration between all departments becomes seamless and a huge variety of tools are available immediately.

BIM and ERP take the guesswork out of projects.

The Solution

4PS Construct is an end to end Construction ERP solution based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The BIM Bridge within the product seamlessly links BIM and ERP functionality to create a highly powerful Business Management Solution.

The Key Characteristics of the BIM Bridge are:

• Enrichment of BIM models
• More Efficiency
• Design integral during realisation
• Always up to date
• Open BIM standard IFC
• Bridge between technique and operation

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