For years, the primary benefits of BIM (building information modeling) have included things like detecting clashes, better visualization for clients, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) coordination. For the most part, the models have been contained to the office. However, the possibilities for BIM are expanding—particularly as technology is advancing to easily share BIM with the field.

Many providers of construction software are developing partnerships and new solutions that will enable the BIM data to easily be shared with the field staff.

The concept is by no means new, but the industry continues to come to market with new announcements to push this notion forward. As one example, LATISTA, www.latista.com, Reston, Va., announced yesterday its plans to bring BIM to the field. The construction-software provider introduced its 3D BIM Viewer for its Apple iPad field software.

How does the technology work? Construction professionals can import BIM data into LATISTA Cloud from software such as Revit and Navisworks from Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif. Once imported, models can be instantly accessed in the field.

With the viewer, teams in the field will be able to use an iPad to identify and resolve issues and initiate quality commissioning and general issue workflows directly from the model. The software is being demonstrated at Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Nev., this week, and is set for beta release in spring 2013.

This is just one new example of how technology is advancing to enable construction teams to easily share BIM data in the field.

As another example, the BIM to Field initiative, www.bimtofield.com, developed in late 2010, aims to extend virtual design-build data from the office to the field. Since the development of the alliance, the organizations involved with BIM to Field have developed new partnerships and products to carry its vision forward.

Yesterday, Tekla, a Trimble Co., www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Hilti, www.hilti.com, Schaan, Principality of Liechtenstein, announced Tekla’s BIM software now includes Hilti products. This builds on the joint venture that was initially formed by Trimble and Hilti in 2010.

Both Trimble and Hilti are making efforts to bring the information in Tekla’s models to the field in order to drive productivity for construction teams.

Trimble, one of the founding organizations in the BIM to Field initiative, has been taking a number of big steps—such as acquiring Tekla, SketchUp, and Vico Software, among others—to offer more advanced technology that enables construction teams to easily bring BIM data to the field.

As this technology advances, construction companies need to begin to consider how BIM might play a role in field operations going forward.