Adding Fun to Serious Work

Avatar and Avengers are fun to watch and became box office successes partly because of their use of 3D effects.  Or more correctly, 3D computer generated imagery (CGI).

This 3D revolution is reshaping the movie industry and audience experience.  But it is not just the movie industry.  It has serious applications in many other industries: automobile and aircraft manufacturing industries, healthcare and medical education, etc.  It pushes up productivity and effectiveness.

And of course, there is potential for the construction industry too.  That is why the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is promoting the 3D technology.

For years, architects and engineers have relied on the two-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings in their work.  2D is now gradually being replaced by the more superior 3D.

Their new tool, the Building Information Modelling (BIM), uses computer technology to create 3D building models.  With BIM, architects, engineers, building owners and facilities managers are able to see, work and fix problems before, during and post construction. This saves time and effort as rework and wastages are minimized.

This morning, I opened the BuildTech Asia Exhibition at the Marina Bay Sands.  This is part of BCA’s celebrations to mark the 2nd Singapore Construction Productivity Week.

One exciting activity is an online BIM Competition.  It has attracted more than 300 participants from close to 40 teams.  This is triple the participation rate at last year’s inaugural competition.  It speaks volume about how the industry has been venturing into the technology to up their productivity.

The real test is in the industry’s response to BIM.  That has been overwhelming.

BCA’s Centre for Construction IT (CCIT) champions the use of BIM and incentivizes technology adoption through the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (CPCF).  Some 250 companies have applied for funds from the CPCF to cover their software and hardware costs, training as well as consultancy.

They are also actively recruiting graduates with BIM training.  A recent CCIT survey found that on average, companies in the built environment are willing to pay 10 to 20% more for graduates who are BIM-trained.

Many projects here have been conceived and built with BIM involvement: SAFRA Toa Payoh and the Arts Science Museum were among the first building projects to harness the BIM technology.  The upcoming Sports Hub, the Star and the Sky Habitat are the more recent BIM projects.

Many more buildings will follow, as BIM transforms the way Singapore’s building professionals collaborate together.  The common aim is to deliver more competitive and challenging projects that will be the pride of our construction industry.


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