International construction giant Skanska has deep ambitions to work with its customers and project stakeholders towards the delivery of future proofed Deep Green projects – high quality buildings and infrastructure with nearly zero environmental impacts. Encompassed by the contractor’s Journey to Deep Green, the sustainable vision is being supported with Building Information Modelling (BIM).
BIM is the process of creating digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility, a practice that has moved from an innovative approach to design and construction for early adopters just a few years ago, to commonplace within the industry. As demands for green solutions continue to increase in complexity, the application of BIM to promote project sustainability (known to Skanska as Green BIM) has significant potential to offer added value to the industry’s triple bottom line.
Skanska’s Business Development Director and resident BIM expert Tiina Koppinen said: “For us, BIM offers new opportunities on our Journey to Deep Green™ when combined with environmental project data and used to promote sustainability. Green BIM helps us and our project stakeholders, such as architects and designers, to make informed decisions earlier in the design process. This makes a greater impact on the resource efficiency and performance of a building or infrastructure project.”
Though BIM is widely regarded as an essential tool, the use of this technical software does require an upfront, and sometimes additional, financial investment. This can be problematic for businesses when they are tendering for a project and do not want to make a risky investment at that stage. However, earlier investments and analyses will generally create cost reductions later on in the project life cycle, for example in the operations period. Such investments help to fully optimize the building and its use, resulting in significant life cycle savings.
“When using BIM in carbon, water and energy aspects of projects, upfront time, resources and costs will be higher, but this tends to be recouped over the project life cycle. It has been recognized that the earlier you target a project, the greater the impact you can have in life cycle analysis-related reductions. So it makes sense to invest resources into this in earlier project stages” Koppinen said.
Skanska’s history of BIM began in 2003/2004 when the Finland region implemented its use, followed soon after by other areas. Uptake in operations was accelerated by a new goal set in 2008 by Johan Karlstöm, President and CEO of Skanska AB, whereby all projects for which Skanska has design responsibility should use BIM. The additional Green use of BIM was then adopted in 2009 as one particular application.