In the retail facility construction sector, time to market plays a decisive role in project success. Whilst employing building information modelling (BIM) tools has clear advantages over traditional CAD-based workflows during pre-construction planning and post-construction facilities management stages, it is worth exploring how BIM can help project teams respond to the retail property owners’ time to market needs.

Since 3D BIM modelling involves parametric components containing data pertaining geometry, cost estimation, quantity take-off, and time schedule, the design development and regulatory approval cycle is greatly reduced. This is mainly due to the fact that the changes made in both individual models (for architectural, structural, and MEP services) and the federated model are reflected real-time in the construction documentation, working drawings, and shopfitting drawings.

Additionally, BIM enables 3D coordination and constructability analysis at an early design stage thereby drastically cutting down on change orders and request for information (RFIs) on-site. This increases on-site efficiency as the integrated models are tested for geometric clashes, workflow clashes, and clearance clashes. This, in turn, keeps project costs on track as unexpected delays can prove to be financially detrimental to the retail owners either in terms of delayed lease incomes or increase in interest payments.

Retail construction projects involve high risk and multiple dependencies. BIM-based planning helps project stakeholders to mitigate this risk and keep the forecasted consecution schedule on time and within budget. For instance, consider a retail renovation project wherein construction and build activities have to take place parallel to the ongoing operations. Using BIM’s 4D capabilities by linking the time schedule element to each architectural BIM modeling component can help project managers draw accurate forecast and reduce the impact of on-site activities on their current operations.

Another key factor that impacts retail property’s time to market is how well the unforeseen circumstances and delays are encountered so as to bring back the project on schedule. This is where 4D BIM plays an important role as it helps the project manager to analyse the time deviation and accordingly map out a recovery plan to compensate for the same. This increases the predictability of the project whilst enabling the on-site team to respond to contingency measures and keep the schedule intact.

Adopting BIM reduces the design and planning cycle times, enables 3D coordination and clash detection, helps analyse the project’s constructability, accurately simulates the schedule of construction, and increases the responsiveness of the team to unexpected project delays thereby positively impacting the time to market.