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25 May 2023

Exploring Digital Twins: The Natural Future for BIM?

Exploring Digital Twins: The Natural Future for BIM?

Digital twins are quickly becoming a buzzword in engineering and architecture, thanks to their ability to create virtual replicas of physical objects and systems.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a technology that has been around for some time and is widely used in the construction industry. But how do digital twins and BIM relate, and what advantages does a digital twin bring to the table when used in conjunction with BIM?

What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real-world object or system. It's created by collecting data from sensors, cameras, and other sources to create a digital model that mirrors the physical object, process, or system.

The digital twin can be used to monitor, predict, and optimise the performance of the actual object or system, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions and increase efficiencies.

What are the capabilities of Digital Twins?

Digital twins offer a range of capabilities that can benefit various industries. They allow businesses to reduce downtime, optimise processes, and improve operational efficiencies.

Furthermore, digital twins can help businesses reduce maintenance costs, repairs, and upgrades by predicting when maintenance is required and identifying potential issues before they become problematic.

Digital Twins and BIM: A Synergistic Relationship

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a technology that allows architects, engineers, and construction professionals to create digital models of buildings and infrastructure projects.

BIM models contain detailed information about every aspect of the building, from room dimensions to materials used in construction.

While BIM models provide a level of detail that was unheard of in the past, they are typically static and don't reflect changes made after the project is completed.

This is where a digital twin comes into play.

Extending the Value of BIM with a Digital Twin

Digital twins leverage BIM models by using real-time data to create a dynamic, virtual replica of the building or infrastructure project. This allows businesses to monitor performance, identify issues in real time, and optimise operations.

Using digital twins in conjunction with BIM offers several advantages for businesses, including:

  • Create an Operational Handover: A static BIM model is out-of-date once a building starts to be used, making the existing handover process not fit for purpose. However, by transitioning to a Digital Twin, your BIM model evolves in real time as the building matures during operation.
  • High-Quality Data: BIM models are naturally rich in building data, when combined with an effective asset repository, it creates a seamless transition into creating a Digital Twin.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Digital twins provide real-time monitoring of building or infrastructure performance, allowing businesses to validate designs and improve future construction projects.
  • Predictive Maintenance: By monitoring maintainable assets in real time, businesses can identify issues as they arise and make quick, informed decisions.
  • Optimised Operations: Businesses can optimise facilities management and increase efficiencies by utilising BIM models from construction to identify asset locations, maintenance schedules and manuals in real-time.
  • Data-led Decision-Making: Digital twins bridge the gap between BIM and data-led decision-making, providing decision-makers with real-time data to inform their choices.

Digital twins and BIM are complementary technologies that can provide significant benefits for businesses in a range of industries. While digital twins are still in their early stages, early adopters are already experiencing increased efficiency, reduced downtime, and optimised operations.

Overall, digital twins offer exciting possibilities for optimising various engineering processes, and their adoption will continue to grow as more industries recognise their potential.

To find out more about how beneficial it can be to transition from a BIM Model to a Digital Twin or to get a personalised demo of the Twinview platform, get in touch with Digital Twin experts.

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