How to transition from CAD to BIM: Part 1

Tips for transitioning from CAD to BIM: Part 1
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Throughout the history of construction, the methods of graphically documenting a construction project have evolved according to the changing needs of the sector. In fact, in the past 40 years the AEC industry has completely moved from manual documentation to digital construction. First, it was by computer aided-technology and today it is moving towards BIM. Looking at the advantages offered by BIM this shift it is not really surprising. However, the AEC professionals who have been operating on CAD for a long time may find it difficult to make the move towards BIM. In the current article we will be looking at the top tips which could make the transition from CAD to BIM a little smoother.

  1. Understanding your project requirements:

Each project is unique and there is no definite guide on whether CAD or BIM is ideal for a given project. A lot of companies today opt for CAD Services when it comes to conceptual planning like creating quick sketches during initial phase or to gain the basic idea of the scale. This is faster as compared to 3D modeling which can take time. Moreover, CAD can also be useful when it comes to small projects but for large projects where multiple disciplines are involved it is always better to use BIM as it allows for enhanced collaboration and coordination.

2. Know your resources:

BIM requires specific resources in terms of software, hardware and human. If the company doesn’t have the proper infrastructure then implementing BIM firm wide could come with some significant amount of investment. Servers might need to be updated, RAM with proper capabilities might need to be installed, internet speed could need to be updated etc. Plus, the BIM software like Revit, Tekla, ArchiCAD etc. themselves also do require some amount of investment. On top of this there is the training of the staff for them to be able to understand how to use BIM software. These investments don’t need to be implemented at one go together and it can be a proper phased out plan of implementation. The company must at the start have a plan which also clearly states the timeline and have cost associated with it.

3. Smart Small:

It is not possible to transform into a company using BIM overnight and doing so could in fact create more problems like delayed project timelines and more mistakes. Ideally it is the best to slowly use BIM for small projects and gradually increase the size and the number of projects as experience builds on. Starting small and simple allows the team to gain an exact understanding of how BIM works and doesn’t demotivate them. Moreover, in small projects the consequences of mistakes are also not that big which means that fallbacks of errors will not have extremely large time or monetary consequences.

4. Know the benefits:

BIM has a variety of benefits and it is essential to understand and clearly communicate these benefits to the team. The team members who have been working on CAD for a long time might be a little hesitant about the shift and may not understand the benefits of shifting to BIM. It is essential to convey the importance of BIM and state its various benefits like for instance Clash Detection Services can be used to detect any interference in the pre-construction stage or BIM collaboration capabilities can allow multiple teams located in different areas to work together etc. They should also be informed of the reasons why the company is shifting to BIM like mandatory requirements in BIM, ability to work with other companies who use BIM etc.

In part one of this article, we have looked at the four tips that the construction companies must keep in mind when moving from CAD to BIM. In part two of this article, we will be looking at the three other tips which they should always be careful about.


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