|Shane S. Jenkins
The traditional architectural method involved hand drawing lines, arcs and circles to convey to the client the Architects/Designers interpretation of the their vision. A wall drawn with two lines 3-1/2” to 4” apart had no meaning and much was left to interpretation by many individuals. The advent of the computer and CADD (Computer Aided Drafting & Design) allowed Architects/Designers to efficiently produce drawings yet lines, arcs and circles still had no meaning. CADD made the drafting part of the process more manageable but the scheduling, estimating and purchasing did not change because information could not be easily shared between disciplines. This need has pushed the process to advance again. The demand for the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is being led by the customer/client because they feel the traditional method of practice is inefficient.
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle and goes far beyond just switching to new software. The process produces the BIM (Building Information Modeling), which encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information and quantities/properties of building components. BIM requires a paradigm shift, a change to the definition of traditional architectural phases and more data sharing than most architects and engineers are used to. A BIM model is a living design. In the BIM model these lines, arcs and circles all contain design information that can be used and modified over the lifetime of the building, from initial concept design through construction and ultimately facility operations and maintenance. In the case of an entire building, the BIM model stores material make-up, pricing information, manufacturer and more. This stored information in each model is for every single element of the project, all of which can be extracted to generate plans, elevations, sections, schedules, material quantities and cost estimates. For the Architect/Designer, BIM is a design tool. It allows them to show a prospective client exactly what the building will look like rather than having to explain to them their vision. This improves communication and project expectations between the Architect/Designer and client. The bottom line is that BIM is here to stay and estimates put it as the primary design tool and process in as little as eight to ten more years.
The value of architectural services rests in the knowledge and experience to assemble information and execute projects. BIM allows the Architect/Designer to change the business model, spending more time on design and reduced time on construction documents. With more time to design, Architects/Designers will be able to produce more efficient and innovative designs. Companies that focus on maximizing the integration of this knowledge rather than staying trapped in processes that have not changed for hundreds of years will become the leaders of the BIM revolution and BIM/ Design Resources, Inc. is poised to be one of these leaders. Change in technology has allowed AEC (Architectural, Engineering & Construction) companies to have more information from a BIM model than a traditional set of architectural plans could provide.