Using BIM can save geotechnical specialists tens of thousands of dollars a year but these savings can pale into insignificance, when compared with the additional costs that can arise if a ground-related problem is discovered during construction.
This is just one of the wider benefits of using geotechnical BIM. While these can be difficult to quantify, they are certainly significant:
- Desk studies and site investigations are more focused
- Engineers can react faster to potential issues on site
- A more complete picture of the ground can be built
- Understanding of ground behavior is improved, leading to better design
- Communications with the team, clients and stakeholders are improved
- Rapid delivery of 3D visualizations of the ground, from a variety of angles, can reduce project risk and costs during construction.
A fully-integrated, multidisciplinary BIM, including a ground model, can deliver significant value to both geotechnical engineers and the wider design team. Site investigations are more focused and offer better value for money, the understanding of what is going on in the ground is improved and communication of complex problems to non-geotechnical professionals is far easier.
Ultimately, geotechnical BIM is an important aid for geotechnical professionals and should increase the value of geotechnical engineering among the project team and in the eyes of the client.