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Integration with BIM – The Future of ERP Software Development for Construction Industry

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BIM with ERP

By 2025, the global construction is forecasted to grow by approximately 70%. The annual economic output of construction Industry in UK itself is around £92 billion, and the industry has created employment for nearly 2.1 million people.

As the trend suggests, key growth indicators that will hence forth take the center stage are and lead the change are – lean construction, sustainable building design, improved collaboration and informed decision making. It is important that the construction industry leverages building information, fills in the dents due to skill deficit and bridges the gap between construction workflows and technology. At the crux here lies information and the various means of information distribution to various disciplines through appropriate channels.

The construction industry is information intensive, and its processes are accelerated by exchange of data. Data was previously exchanged through paper documents, blueprints, drafts and concept drawings. Later it was done via 2D CAD drafts, and today, information exchange has become extremely efficient through BIM. BIM is steering the construction industry through these digital data driven times.

Providing standards-based project handover is one of the key features of BIM, and this is where our focus lies. However, BIM can also present a lot of opportunities if it interacts with your business systems. This avenue still remains to be explored.

Several small and medium sized businesses in the construction industry use traditional financial management tools – these tools are not aligned to the nature of construction work and related facets. In order to align business systems and construction processes, it is important to integrate ERP and BIM. In addition to digitizing construction processes, BIM integrated with ERP systems can result in digitization and customization of resource management typically for construction projects.

How can BIM work with ERP?

ERP for AEC firms encompasses all business functions involved in construction and maintenance of assets. With BIM, it can be fully integrated with business functions typical to construction projects for example: procurement, project management, sub contracting, cost estimation, bid management, construction management, asset management, facility management etc, in addition to the usual finance and human resource functions.

Integrating BIM processes with ERP is the future

What makes BIM + ERP such a valuable proposition for the industry? – BIM aids design and construction planning, while ERP talks about planning and financial management. BIM allows buildings to be constructed virtually inside a computer; ERP helps in understanding what it will cost and how to account for it. A BIM model includes every element along with geometric and parametric information; it provides accurate quantity of materials and takes the guess work out from cost estimating. ERP on the other hand takes it from there and enables management of inventory, invoices and financial reporting.

So here, the basic premise of leveraging the available information and converting it into actionable insights is fulfilled via the BIM ERP integration.

While BIM if the present and future of construction industry, it is also the future of ERP software development for construction projects. We have time and again talked about the use of BIM throughout construction projects, and about how it will impact the overall productivity, time and money.

Not just the construction industry, the ERP software developers working for the construction industry also need to take note of this rising popularity of BIM, thus design their solutions to fit the bill. Integration with BIM is hence, undoubtedly the future of ERP software development for construction industry.

Bhushan Avsatthi
About the Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.