Introduction. India is a rapidly developing country and its infrastructure development is at an extremely large scale. In the human body, it is the DNA that controls the growth and development. But, when it comes to a city it’s the municipal authorities i.e. local government that are responsible for getting the task done. In other words, Municipal authority refers to political administration of the smallest subdivisions of a country’s territory and population.
For any construction project to be done in India, it is required to have a project sanctioning done by these municipal authorities. In order to sanction the plan, the architect prepares the layout and related data. It is later submitted for scrutiny to these municipal authorities, which either pass or reject the project proposal. With India being at its rapid pace of development, it is often found that illegal construction projects come into existence, which violate the FSI and other buildings bye-laws. On the other hand, exploitation of builders and architects at the hands of corrupt officers.
Solution to this problem is the integration of technology in governance and private construction. Implementing latest IT techniques such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a mediator and a making use of this BIM platform for sanctioning, scrutiny, execution and verification can be the solution, which is well proven in the Global market. BIM can be integrated with cloud platform and a service could be developed to receive and retain clearances from government officials, here by using Digital Signatures. In this way every required document is maintained on one platform which is secure and accessible to all authorized users.
Background. As of the current scenario many countries in the west have found application of BIM in their construction and city planning. As per study Published by Jack C.P. Cheng & Qiqi Lu in 2015, The United States is the largest producer and consumer of BIM products. It is to be taken into consideration that the since the starting of 2009, United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has mandated BIM for all major constructions and renovation works. In Europe, BIM is used on a large scale and AEC-UK published several BIM protocols for different software platforms which contain these four types of information.
Figure 1. BIM goals in Europe; Image Credits:ITCON.org
From the figure 1 (accessed from Jack C.P. Cheng & Qiqi Lu, 2015), it is to be noted that government organizations of these European countries has already set the guidelines and plans to inculcate BIM in their governance.
Proposed Concept. It is well known to all of us that Infrastructure development is happening at a larger pace in Indian market. And, BIM technology, workflows and protocols are well accepted as best solution for the problems in the AECO industry within the Global and local market. BIM adoption in delivering building and non-building projects is crucial for our Indian AECO industry. It is essential for the policy makers in India to set-up and implement BIM standards and guidelines for maintaining the uniformity in the BIM project delivery. It is very much essential for the policy makers to make it clear on what should be the expected deliverables at different stages of the project delivery. At the moment, the project sanctioning procedure in most Indian Municipal offices is based on paper-work and tedious scrutiny, this system takes more time as well as lack in transparency. In the context of this article, we intend to define and alternative solution that could be implemented to eradicate the defects of the system currently under action.
Figure 2. Bubble of Construction Project Stakeholders
Consider a general construction project and stakeholders, typically the Builder/Contractor, the Architect, the Structural Engineer, the MEP consultant, a few others and the Local Construction regulatory authority. As previously mentioned a common platform could be developed and access protocols can be established to regulated the modifications and commenting. Consider the following features that could be implemented in the sequence: (1) Initially the Architect prepares the draft and receives the affirmation from the builder or the construction owners; (2) Then the Model is forwarded to the Local Construction Authority with the concerned fees and the model is examined for all requirements to keep a check on all norms. This is the pivotal phase as the time of submission of model and the permission to proceed or the failure in authorization is recorded to penalize the officer for making inexplicable delays in conclusion; (3) Once the model is authorized the construction can be commenced under the guidelines specified in the model and could be monitored by all the relevant stakeholders; (4) During the construction phase the safety officer can inspect and confirm if the work is as-per the requirement and with the standards specified. It is to be noted that most construction sites require clearances at various completion phases such as plinth, slab, etc. from the local construction authorities; with having a shared platform the respective authorities can visit the site and mention specific comments and authorize the work using their digital signatures, thus eliminating the hassle of paper-work and also remove the chances of corruption that is mostly observed under such circumstances. As the model can be included with proper coordinates (DCAMM , 2015) that could be adopted to verify the building offsets and other parameters to be in conformity with the local construction norms. Having this type of feature will facilitate transparency for all stakeholders.
What more could be done? (1) Small errors due to negligence in safety can be eliminated as the government and the contractor both are required to update on a regular basis; (2) While at the certification stages such as plinth certification or slab checking the concerned party can have an updated object available for verification and checking; (3) These days on construction sites flex and banners are placed which have information on it, this can be replaced by bar codes which can be verified by the authorities for verification. As all verification require use of digital signatures the transactions shall be secure; (4) Delay in decision and sanctioning can be monitored and actions could be taken against the offender, this improves the efficiency of construction as at many instances there is excessive delay at the hands of municipal authorities.
Recently, the Government of Maharashtra has issued RERA act which requires builders to provide a detailed description of their expense on projects, such expenses can be easily monitored by automating the BIM parameters. RERA Maharashtra or Apna RERA is an abbreviated form of Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Apna RERA act offers solution for promoting real estate construction in the maharashtra state. Here, it is essential to submit the estimates and material quantities during the project application, the paperwork creates a lot of work but with a BIM model all the material quantities and works could be automatically performed. Generated information from BIM models can be updated on a real-time basis in correspondence to the modifications in the construction plans without having to manually update all the documents and reiterate the entire application procedure.
As the information is being stored on a shared platform, later in the future, the algorithms can be developed that could implement machine learning and later provide automated predictions of the city development and other allied problems that could possible arise out of sanctioning a particular project thereby adding to conservation of the environmental and cultural aspects of the city. The data could be analysed anonymously to predict results and information for the future projects and predict growth of the city and allied difficulties such as disaster relief spots in the city.
With so much information about the construction in the locality, the government organizations can add it into the Geospatial systems (GIS) and plan for utility services and prepare for hazards (natural and man-made). The demographic study would be simplified and could provide better and efficient transportation design.
“Such things are possible but the first step towards the is the Standardization of parameters in BIM, just as structural design is having IS codes; different and relevant key parameters should be devised.”
Current Limitations. Before we dwell into this BIM concept, a few key problems are to be accounted: (1) Limitation to implementation in current scenarios, only a few industries in India use BIM; (2) Development of software environment and training of human resource; (3) Cyber-security and privacy infringement; (4) Unavailability of hardware and software infrastructure.
This concept can establish a huge revolution in the construction sector in India but it is only possible if our youth or aspirants are trained for BIM technologies, processes and protocols.
DCAMM 2015. BIM Guidelines for Design and Construction. Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA.
Jack C.P. Cheng, & Qiqi Lu. (2015). A Review of the efforts and roles of the public sector. Journal of Information Technology in Construction – ISSN 1874-4753.
RERA Maharashtra – Apna RERA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2017, from http://www.apnarera.com/documents/rera-maharashtra-document.pdf
I express my heartfelt gratitude to Amarnath CB for his immense help and support and for being highly motivating and instrumental for this endeavor.
Mr. Sayyed Shadaab is an Active Member at India BIM Association. He is a Co-founder and blogger at hyonkows.com, he shares innovative technical knowledge on his blog. Having published a few research papers in reputed journals on diverse topics from Solar power to implementation of radio waves in construction and Accident Identification. He is tagged as ‘The Engineer for the Digital Civilization’, currently pursuing Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Savitribai Phule Pune University. He’s obtained higher schooling in Bifocal sciences and Electronics. He’s been working on implementation of IT to the Construction and has worked as freelances for a number of firms. He is also a member of Student chapter for ASCE. He can be contacted through LinkedIn / mobile: +91-8888577262/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org