Building Information Modelling, popularly known as BIM, has been around as a concept since the 1970s. However, it’s application is relatively new, and the industry is still lacking in its complete knowledge of BIM’s usage. This intelligent model-based process creates 3D design models containing every information needed for the construction of the structure. It facilitates the coordination and collaboration between various teams and stakeholders associated with the project. Architecture, engineering, and construction professionals can design, collaborate, and build infrastructure more efficiently if they use BIM to its maximum potential. And that is only possible if the multiple misconceptions about this game-changer are cleared.
Although almost all architectural firms are aware of different BIM software, only 58% of these had adopted BIM as per the AIA Firm Survey 2020. Even out of the firms using BIM for design visualization, only 26% of them were using it for managing the model during construction or for energy performance analysis. This leaves a big lacuna in the possibilities and actual application of BIM.
Let’s understand BIM better by busting some common myths about it.
Myth #1: BIM is a software
Truth: BIM is a process/methodology
BIM is an entire process and not just a single software. Coined by Phil Bernstein of Autodesk, the term ‘Building Information Modelling’ or BIM was adopted by other companies like Bentley Systems, Graphisoft and the rest of the industry as its popularity increased. However, Autodesk did not invent BIM. The first mention of a virtual model was suggested by Charles M. Eastman of Georgia Tech as the “building product model” in his publications in the 1970s. There have been numerous individuals, organizations and software companies that have contributed to make BIM what it is now i.e., a holistic process of creating and managing information for a built asset. Basically, BIM helps create efficient designs and an intelligent digital representation of an asset across its lifecycle.
Myth #2: BIM is Computer-aided design
Truth: BIM is more than just design
Building information modelling is not Computer-aided design. CAD was a replacement for pen and paper to make a graphical representation of the building components. Earlier, architects and engineers spent maximum of their time conceptualizing and drafting. Eventually, blueprints and drawings were replaced by CAD drawings. This was a groundbreaking event and sped up processes drastically. What CAD did for blueprints, now BIM is doing for CAD. It has revolutionized digital renderings from merely lines, arcs, and circles to parametric objects that have rules embedded in them. These rules are driven by data and can be as simple as requiring a window to be wholly within a wall, so when a wall is moved, the window moves with it. But overall, they streamline the process from conception to management post-construction.
Myth #3: BIM is only to create 3D models
Truth: BIM does a lot more than 3D model creation
BIM does consist of mainly 3D modeling to digitally develop an accurate virtual model of the building. However, these complete computer-generated models contain more than just well-defined geometry. Every parameter of the render consists of pertinent data required to facilitate the construction, fabrication, and procurement of materials to build the final building. The BIM 3D models consist of attributes like building geometry, spatial relationships, quantity of components and geographic information, which allow the project team to identify issues and resolve them in the virtual space before the actual construction in the real world.
Myth #4: Revit and BIM are the same
Truth: Revit is not BIM. Revit supports BIM
Building information modelling is a process and Revit is a software package. There are other BIM technologies like ArchiCAD, which was the first of its kind. However, Autodesk Revit has been the de facto leader in BIM software across the globe since Autodesk acquired it from the creator Leonid Raiz’s company in 2002. So, this confusion is understandable. Revit is used to design BIM 3D models. Its popularity is due to many factors including the fact that it computes data and creates drawings and models with exceptional detail and is helpful in complex projects. It also includes parametric modeling, energy analysis, automation, better collaboration through cloud systems, and scheduling.
Myth #5: BIM is only for architects
Truth: BIM can be used by anyone in AEC including clients
The success of Building information modelling stems from its collaborative nature. The information database of the 3D model can be used by architects, MEP engineers, contractors, estimators, and project managers alike. The BIM technology allows members of the project team, working on different levels of the model can share the information and documentation, while working together on a single model. The different stakeholders can implement changes and corrections in real time on the same model. BIM for construction industry aids in the smooth transition from conception, planning, design to construction, and even post-construction operations and maintenance. What’s more is that BIM is not just limited to new buildings; it can be used for renovation and restoration of older structures with the help of laser surveys.
Myth #6: Using BIM is expensive
Truth: BIM saves time and money by reducing the design phase and foreseeing issues
The initial cost of acquiring the software and training all stakeholders in the technology might be high, but it is an investment which reaps multifold benefits in the future. Visualization of the finished product in BIM models produces more efficient designs. With the involvement of the cost estimators and contractors, estimations and material proposals are prepared quickly. This reduces the design and planning phase of the project, increasing the opportunities for multiple projects and thus, higher revenue. With precise timetables, pricing estimates, and prior identification of incompatible elements, errors can be avoided in the construction stage. The final client can also understand the building before it is constructed and can predict the power consumption and other factors too. This increases trust among all the players and the client. And after all, happy customers equal to more referrals.
The Future is BIM
The most important aspect of Building information modelling is the cloud collaboration it offers. Based on AIA’s Firm Survey, 100% of the large architectural firms are using BIM, and they are outsourcing services to BIM practitioners across the world. Outsourcing can assist AEC firms with cost-effective and practical project design services.
At Aligned Studios, we assist AEC firms with augmenting their staff with exceptional designers, engineers, and other BIM practitioners. We specialize in customizing solutions for architectural, engineering and construction firms to help them streamline workflows, generate more business, and increase speed-to-market. BIM, especially the inter-disciplinary cloud collaboration, is the future of AEC, but are you making the full use of it?
Schedule a call with us to know how you can use BIM to accelerate your firm’s growth.