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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is "BIM"?

BIM is short for “Building Information Modeling” is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle[1]. Typically it uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction.[2] The process produces the Building Information Model (also abbreviated BIM), which encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components. (courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_Information_Modeling)

Computer Aided Drafting started out as a drafting tool, that was like drawing by hand on paper but made changes and duplication much faster. It also was not a messy, smudgy, or hard to keep clean process. The old way of drafting with pencil and paper is now an art form and those who still design this way, produce amazing drawings.

Old style Blueprint with Hand Drafting.

As we have progressed over the years, everything in our lives has changed, too. What would we do without or cell phones, laptops etc?? I know when I lose my cell phone I feel lost and it’s the end of the world, until I find the stupid thing.

So to the computer aided drafting programs has progressed, from complicated 2d systems that at times seemed slower then hand drafting because of slow computer systems. Now we are at a stage that the computers are way more capably of handling the new 3d software systems that use the new “BIM” technology. Software companies like Autodesk ‘Revit’, Graphsoft’s ‘Archicad’, Nemetschek ‘Vectorworks’ etc. have been developing these programs to be able to design from scratch to final construction drawings - using one model.

The model is drawn and developed in 3d and is uses parts and blocks that are real world building components. So with this new way of drawing, we as designers have now the access to see our designs before they even dig the ground for the first time. Since working with a real life size model, it is like viewing the real building in every aspect of the building can be studied from how we interact in the spaces, to HVAC duct systems, how the building is constructed, to energy studies to how the building sits on the site etc..

"Revit" generated overall view of Hotel

Interior courtyard "Revit" generated model view

Ariel photo of completed Hotel

Front Perspective view of Custom Home "Revit"

Perspective view of custom home concept "Revit"

"Revit" Interior view of concept kitchen

These programs make our job of conveying our designs to our clients easier to understand and see how it will look when built. We as designers have imagined our designs and can see what they may be when built, from our experience - but most of our clients cannot visualize the final project when looking at flat 2d drawings on paper. With this instant feedback we receive from our BIM models, the decisions can be made quicker and more accurately so the process saves money and time.

This technology is also used in building huge airliners like at Boeing and so far is very successful.
From these programs we can add finishes, trees, cabinets, people, cars, pets, carpets, art, etc; that will be used so that everything from how we interact with the spaces, to what the walls will look like. We can get an almost photo like images as if we have the project built.

As a designer, I feel much more freedom to explore options and to provide my clients with more then they can imagine, before we ever get started designing. This gets my imagination and creativity flowing and it is so much more exciting to see my clients visualize what we have designed for them. This gives you a glimpse of what we find so exciting about the future of designing for our clients and how we are able to effect our built environment in a positive way.

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