Electrical Industry Ready for BIM – But BIM Not Ready for Electrical Industry

Contractors ready to go beyond 3-D modeling as soon as software contains necessary databases

Washington, DC Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) contractors seek to maximize the value of Building Information Modeling (BIM), but the software is lagging for the industry.

At a recent presentation to NECA, Janice Burse, coordination manager at Dynalectric Company reviewed the current state of BIM for the electrical industry. She covered the working definition of BIM and its limitations.

“Electrical contractors are utilizing the “B”[building] and the “M”[modeling] aspects of BIM, but need databases to be built to fully realize the “I” or information,” said Burse.

Currently, the databases include broad aspects of electrical work such as lighting and junctions, but don’t include specific pieces of conduit making it impossible for electrical contractors to go beyond 3-D modeling. Software vendors are working to improve functionality of the BIM software for the industry, but haven’t given a specific timeline for completion.

Meanwhile, NECA contractors like Dynalectric are working with what they have to meet requirements. Dynalectric produces 3-D models for all projects over 2-inch conduit and is training its staff on the latest software platforms so that they can read the latest documents.

Washington, DC is a hotspot for BIM. The federal government is a strong proponent of BIM because it is a more efficient way to manage projects. The GSA and Army Corps of Engineers are at the forefront of the technology and require contactors meet their specific standards.

“Electrical contractors are ready to fully embrace BIM, but the software has not yet caught up with our trade’s needs as it has for other trades,” said Andrew Porter, executive director of the Washington, DC Chapter of NECA.

About The Electrical Alliance
The Electrical Alliance is a cooperative effort between electrical contractors and skilled craftsmen to provide quality products and services to customers and to set the standard for efficiency, productivity, and safety within the electrical industry. It is jointly sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association and Local 26, IBEW. To learn more, visit News & Press or follow the Electrical Alliance on Twitter @dcelec_alliance.