The word building in building information modelling (BIM) can be misleading as some believe BIM only applies to vertical construction. However, this is not the case. More and more civil engineering firms now realise the benefits of using BIM processes and tools as part of their infrastructure projects to eliminate waste and improve efficiency.

Keep reading to learn how civil engineering professionals now use BIM processes and tools to deliver projects digitally.

#1 Achieve more accurate quantity takeoffs more quickly

The traditional quantity takeoff process in civil engineering projects is a three-step process:

  1. Selection of individual elements from 2D drawings
  2. Automatically determining the dimension for takeoff using software
  3. Inputting the quantities into the quantity takeoff list

For estimators, this means they either have to collect information from a site that has not been prepped by a surveyor or scale information gained from drawings or photographs. BIM tools can eliminate the need for this manual work and help estimators to make more accurate cost estimates.

#2 Problems can be fixed in the office before they hit the field

Changes in any construction project are inevitable, especially in civil engineering projects. But these can irritate if they are avoidable errors that negatively impact budgets and deadlines. This is one of the main reasons why more and more civil engineering firms are adopting BIM technologies – to improve their chances of uncovering potential issues before construction begins.

#3 Project data can be organised and aligned more closely

One of the BIM process’s most critical elements is using a common data environment CDE model, which acts as the single source of information for everyone working on the project. Having everyone work on one model helps

  • eliminate data duplication
  • enforces modelling and work standards
  • catch issues before they affect production
  • simplify planning

#4 Reduces time spent on data prep

Civil engineers deal with infrastructure projects, which are usually much longer in time than residential building projects. They also tend to require more data from a wider variety of sources. This is where BIM can have the most significant impact, as it allows all of this data and design information to be easily shared with field teams and fleets.

#5 Smoother project coordination

The use of BIM eliminates redundancies and reduces the need for manual data management, allowing coordinators to track and share accurate onsite data across the whole team.

#6 Track and clarify project progress more easily

Adopting BIM processes for civil engineering projects allows the project to be set up so that data flow between office and field, design and construction can be controlled more effectively. Data from the field, such as what has been done, where and by whom, can be fed to the BIM coordinator, who will then produce volume calculations and get a clear picture of how any changes will affect the project.

More and more civil engineering firms should cotton on to the value that BIM technologies and digital building techniques can bring to their business – especially as infrastructure projects continue to become more complex.

If you want to improve collaboration and constructability on your next civil engineering project, please get in touch with the team at The CAD room on 0161427 0348 or email us at