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BIM and Lean 4.0: how to apply them together to improve engineering processes


It is common to find construction projects with lots of wasted material. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of planning, which is also responsible for delays in delivery and in budget overruns. It is in this context that the combination of BIM and Lean 4.0 proves to be beneficial, uniting the work methodology of lean construction with BIM processes to organize production. 

This post explains why to use BIM and Lean 4.0. together and the competences needed for their application.

BIM and Lean 4.0: why use them together?

The administration of construction projects requires the integration of processes, technologies and people focused on the strategic objectives of the project. 

In this sense, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and principles of Lean Thinking have been applied jointly, bringing significant changes to projects in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, and operations. In recent years, this joint application became an essential characteristic to processes in the construction industry, to improve the quality of the documentation produced, as well as constructability and assertiveness.  

In addition to the short term impacts it has on productivity and quality, BIM stimulates changes in project management, providing the resources needed to promote a greater quantity and plurality of information, which is one of the main fundamentals of Lean thinking.  

In Brazil, companies linked to civil construction still face barriers and many challenges in the adoption of BIM, particularly due to a lack of clear guidance and studies that can reaffirm its benefits in increased productivity, efficiency, and quality. 

These benefits prove to be important competitive advantages for the market – both domestic and international – and that allow companies to reach their goals for organizational sustainability. 

BIM has enormous potential to support the transformation of design and construction processes, helping to improve the quality of the project, eliminate conflicts and reduce the need for rework. 

Not by chance, it is seen as a tool for visualizing and coordinating workflows, to avoid errors and omissions, improve productivity and support management of deadlines, costs, safety, and project quality.

Competencies for the application of BIM and Lean 4.0

When we speak of BIM and Lean 4.0, the focus is on the interoperability of systems, the analysis of data – geometric and non-geometric – and the multidimensional visual administration (nD) of the project. All of this is related to automation of processes during the lifecycle of the operations.

In this context, the Digital Obeya Room  concept should be highlighted, which is a structure that helps administer interdisciplinary projects in the industry. This concept focuses on digital workflows, the analysis of data collected and the visual management of project planning and control. 

This new approach is focused on the technologies of system integration, data analysis by means of indicators, combined with multidimensional visualization, to generate continuous improvements based on the  Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle. Various systems are integrated to provide access to different information needed to manage the project and can be visualized in the Digital Obeya Room.

Here, it is important to highlight the fundamental difference between integration and interoperability. The first concerns the flow of information between two or more systems without the need to adopt new standardized file formats. Meanwhile, the second refers to the use of formats and languages structured and standardized for the exchange of information between different systems.  

In this regard, interoperability is an essential premise for the implementation of the Digital Obeya Room, given that the purpose of this model is the management of information. 

Thus, a technological architecture is presented that works with the interoperation of different data bases, working with neutral formats that allow the orchestration of processes along the life cycle of a project. 

The field of BIM and Lean 4.0 aims to explore the compatibility and complementarities of the two methodologies, associating technologies that allow digital transformations of processes in lean systems, with interoperability, data analysis and visual management. 

In addition, this synergy offers an interdisciplinary management approach  to support decisions inherent to the PDCA cycle, as well as Lean 4.0 practices to automate lean systems in dynamic environments.

The CERTI Foundation develops projects based on OpenBIM. We have vast experience and are involved in the construction and approval of decrees and ISO norms related to BIM, contributing as a member of ABNT. 

Learn how to implement BIM and Lean 4.0 in your project. Contact us and speak with our specialists!