Why the construction industry is evolving from BIM to virtual twins

While building information modeling (BIM) was once considered a critical piece in efficiency driving construction project delivery, the truth is that BIM applications have not met the needs of GCs and specialty contractors. After more than a decade in use by architects and engineers, few construction companies can credit cost savings to BIM because the applications are not used in the field.

BIM’s usefulness as a specifications solution for architects does not translate well to construction. A BIM model of a door, for example, may contain sizing, acoustic information, fire performance and other characteristics, but it will not include the granular definitions of components needed to make a purchasing list. As a workaround, contractors are likely to flatten the BIM model into a paper drawing and create a spreadsheet from which to order components.

A construction virtual twin provides a solution. This is a digital representation of the physical processes and components of a development. The virtual twin provides a structural view of a project for contractors and a systems view for managing the entire design, engineering and construction process. An end-to-end collaborative solution such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can link these diverse views together. Oversight into the entire design, engineering, product manufacturing and construction process is critical for orchestrating the project and ensuring design intent is manufactured and installed correctly.

Virtual twins also capture the reality of production and construction processes in real-to-virtual loops. The virtual twin incorporates real-world feedback from the field and updates the model based on what happens on site. you can learn more about what productization is for the construction Industry. Read more in our white paper.

This article is excerpted from THE PRODUCTIZATION EFFECT: How integration-ready modules will transform the roles of general contractors, specialty contractors and the entire construction value chain. This white paper maps the path to productization and defines how general contractors, specialty contractors and the entire construction value chain can leverage virtual twins on an end-to-end collaboration platform, transcend the limitations of classic industrialization and leapfrog to personalized construction.


Akio Moriwaki

Akio Moriwaki

As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.