BIM from an Architect Standpoint

BIM from an Architect Standpoint
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BIM aka Building Information Modelling is no longer a new chip on the block. It has been around in the design and build arena for quite a while now. Industry has seen Virtual Construction Modelling evolving with many recompenses.  Lot has been written, debated and concluded with respect to the advantages, implementation, and utilization across multiple industries and disciplines. Today we shall discuss about BIM from an Architect Standpoint

While we all understand the benefits of using BIM during the design and construction process, the purpose of BIM Application is diverse across buildings, building types and people managing the pre-construction modules or onsite construction. Why does it actually differ? Well the purpose and expected results across multiple disciplines or stages are different. An Architect would rely on Virtual Construction Modelling for Conceptual Design, Construction Documentation, Visualization etc. 3D geometry representing the design paradigm like space utilization, aesthetic value, general arrangement of Architecture components and furniture, wall, flooring, material specs etc. comprise of Architectural scope. Along with 3D geometry Architects also toy around with multiple design options using this virtual platform providing multiple choices to builder and contractors. An Engineer focusses on data more. We shall not discuss the BIM from Engineer standpoint today as it is a vast topic to write on.

Let us have a closer look on advantage of BIM from the perspective of Architects.

BIM for Architects:

  • Enhanced communication:  Architects can develop a 3D BIM Model from CAD Drawings, PDF or scans. This model can be efficiently used to create a conceptual 3D Model, develop CD sets from the model and collectively share the designs with Sub-contractor, stake holders and Engineers working on the project. Changes or revisions can be directly finished in the design model that in turn reflects in the conceptual drawings. Sharing suggestions and design related ideas become much more organized and stress-free with collaboration tools available in BIM.
  • Visualization aspect:  BIM acts as a splendid medium to illustrate an Architect’s design ideas in form of a 3D geometry. An Architect can depict the aesthetics of residential, commercial or mixed use buildings by adding materials, properties, shape and size, dimensions, space utilization etc. using in BIM software like Revit and ArchiCAD.  Developing 3D renders from BIM Model or using a LOD specific 3D Model makes it absolutely convenient for an Architect to perform design presentations for Builders, stake holders etc.
  • Single Model for multiple stages: Virtual construction modelling offers a perfect conglomerate of design and utility. An Architect can efficiently utilize a conceptual model across multiple stages of BIM Modelling by invariably updating the model at different pre-construction stages. “Level of Detailing” and “Level of Information” are two parameters through which the model can be developed. An Architectural model acts as a base for other structural and MEP models.
  • Environmental research and Analysis: BIM platform supports Environmental analysis to a large extent. Impact of building construction on environment is hot topic currently. Energy analysis is also referred as the 6th Dimension in the BIM Modelling stage. Architects can analyse the utilization of materials in building construction based on the energy efficiency parameters. We can work with design features that assist energy analysis.  
  • CD SET development and approval:  Architects can deliver complete set of Construction Documentation Services using the BIM Model. These designs from preliminary stage can be built with high level of detailing, improving the collaboration process and design amendments post interdisciplinary meetings with Engineers, Contractors etc. parametric features of BIM result in quick updations of drawings. The updates reflect in the drawings automatically upon performing model revisions resulting in very less errors.    
  • Profitability and seamless design approval: Getting approvals from planning and commission is a very cumbersome task. The drawing set needs to be completely in sync with the construction protocols, by laws and codes. Design approval process has become seamless due to BIM intervention. We are familiar with the fact that BIM Modelling minimises error index by facilitating parametric features to modify drawings and 3D simultaneously.
  • Data Mitigation:  Information transfer becomes less complex and is easily accessible when data is saved in a BIM Model. BIFM (Building Information Facility Management) efficiently integrates a contractor’s model with the Facility management system of the building. Maintenance of building systems and other components get systematically managed with the help of BIM families.

Though this article is more focussed on an Architect’s perspective of BIM Model and how Architectural BIM Services benefit construction industry, it is important to understand an Engineer’s perspective for BIM too. Engineers delve deep into the analysis of a building prototype or virtual construction model from a data perspective.  They are more focussed on the “data and number” attribute which helps them develop models with accurate calculations that can be used for analysis at a later stage of construction, post construction management, facility management, repairs and refurbishment etc.

BIM Models conducive to extracting 4D schedules, costing and budgeting are principally conceptualized by Architects and further developed by structural, MEP Engineers with respect to their disciplines. Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineers handle a very critical segment of the BIM Modelling process “Clash detection and Coordination”. This process forms the crux of virtual construction by identifying collisions, design errors, interferences between multiple disciplines etc.  that can be resolved prior to the onset of construction.  The next article will certainly shift focus more to Engineer’s perspective. Stay Glued!

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