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15 August 2017

BIM and Industry 4.0 Shaping the Future

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is contributing to the industry 4.0 revolution, which is shaping the future of the construction industry, according to an article published in GIM International, by guest writer Mark King - EMEA BIM solutions manager for Leica Geosystems.


To the uninitiated, some of the content of the post may be difficult to comprehend, so we thought we would break it down.


What is Industry 4.0?


The article states that the construction industry is on the cusp of a - “new industrial age” - a fourth industrial revolution being hailed as ‘Industry 4.0’. This sees construction utilising automation and data exchange throughout the manufacturing process to improve efficiency and accuracy.


Employing technologies including cyber-physical systems, the internet of things and cloud computing, Industry 4.0 will - “Revolutionise not only how physical structures are designed, built and maintained, but also how they are subsequently used”.


King, M ‘How Industry 4.0 and BIM are Shaping the Future of the Construction Environment’, GIM International, 23/03/2017,


While there are different expectations of potential outcomes, with some predicting autonomous machinery carrying out aspects of production, what is widely accepted is that the use of technology will fundamentally improve the construction of our built environment.


BIM Driving Industry 4.0


BIM is a driving force behind Industry 4.0 due to its ability to utilise digital data and facilitate collaboration. Increased access to real-world data assists in avoiding errors and identifying where time and cost efficiencies can be made throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset.

However, the availability of digital data is all but insignificant if there isn’t a method for it to be shared. BIM maximises the benefit of free-flowing digital data by providing a common platform for the exchange of information, encouraging issues to be solved collaboratively. This is significant as Industry 4.0 is underpinned by industry trust and collaboration.


Future Vision


Mark King states that: “Better availability of relevant information, rapid issue resolution and collaborative working in the design, construction and operation of projects are among the key ways in which digitalisation is improving efficiency and resource use”.

While we may not know where the path leads, or fully grasp the benefits offered by technology, is clear that the construction industry is at an exciting point in time where possibilities are limited only by the imagination - BIM is at the forefront of this revolution.