The value of BIM (building information modeling) extends from commercial to residential and across the world. The technologies associated with BIM provide a way to complete projects in a much shorter timeframe as well as a method to address challenges such as difficult soil conditions.

For example, in Hong Kong, AECOM,, Los Angeles, Calif., is using BIM on two projects—a commercial development in Kwun Tong and a residential development in Pokfulam. Each project has a specific set of challenges that BIM can help address.

On the commercial project, the client requested a 26-floor building to be designed and built in a short period of time. In order to meet the scheduling requirements, the AECOM structural team proposed using BIM. A combination of Revit modeling software and structural technology allows AECOM to accelerate the design and production process. The project is expected to be completed in March 2013.

Alan C.H. Yuen, principal engineer, AECOM, says, “The concept took approximately two months to develop, compared with perhaps three to six months with the traditional approach, and the structural design was completed in about two months, when it would have normally taken three to four months to complete for a building like this,” says Yuen. “By using BIM, we were able to reduce the amount of time spent on construction by 5-10%, and we were able to save the client money.”

For commercial contractors, being able to save owners both time and money is a top priority, and BIM is one way to accelerate the schedule and minimize costs.

For the residential development project in Pokfulam, which is scheduled for completion in September 2013, AECOM is responsible for site formation, foundation, superstructure, and building services design for the project. The biggest challenge is the land has a 100-meter difference in its levels, with difficult soil condition—not to mention a number of existing buildings, retaining walls, roads, and paths around the site.

To address these challenges, AECOM created a model that includes site survey, architectural design, and proposed structural design to help the client and the architect see where the structure won’t work. With the model, the team can adjust building plans.

As more projects across the globe become BIM-enabled, companies are discovering technology can help solve critical business challenges. For the AEC industry, BIM allows teams to collaborate early to discuss and address challenges in design and construction to help move the project along at a faster pace and a lower cost.