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BIM: "A Digital Paradigm Shift"

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The architecture profession in currently facing at least three important transformations: the integrated practice, the re-emergence of sustainable design, and building information modeling.

BIM is a digital paradigm shift, in many ways similar to that of the CAD revolution of the 1980s. What is BIM? How is it different from CAD? And how, taking advantages of these differences is it possible to use a digital model to assist in the design of sustainable buildings?

Building Information modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and further managing all the building data during the life cycle of the building itself (both in building and construction). The process utilizes a variety of 3 dimensional building software’s to digitally represent the building process. Autodesk defines Building Information Modeling (BIM) as “the creation and use of coordinated, consistent, computable information about a building project in design and construction.” They have developed Revit Architecture for architects and Civil 3D which can be used in concurrence by both architects and civil engineers respectively. BIM has hence enhanced the process of work compatibility in the building design and construction effectively.

Today, BIM is becoming extremely popular in the design, engineering and construction industry. Firms all across the world are moving towards the use of BIM and think that BIM plays a key role in delivery of projects in terms of saving time and costs efficiently. Various aspects of BIM are explored and tools are developed continuously in order to make BIM more and more, a part of the building technology. Skills are being developed at all levels to integrate BIM as a part of the design process. The gap between design and actual construction can be bridged through adoption of BIM software’s and this could be of relief to developers, investors, construction personnel, architecture, and engineers. Through various case studies, it has been repeatedly established that BIM if utilized appropriately, can certainly improve the delivery of building projects. Inter-compatible software’s are being developed steadily in order to respond the industry’s ever increasing demand. Vectorworks Architect is one such software that facilitates BIM in an extremely flexible, design oriented manner in both 2 and 3 dimensions. Vectorworks Architect improves upon the existing design and does not facilitate replacing it, hence easing the workflow. Revit is purpose built for BIM and helps to design and deliver in an efficient manner. In the last few decades, more and more professionals have started adopting BIM and this trend has found customers major global markets.

ááá Some of the commonly used BIM applications are Bentley Architecture, IDEA(IntelliCAD based), Allplan BIM 2008 (2D and 3D planning), Solibri, ArchiCAD etc. ArchiCAD, Vectorworks Architect and Revit are commonly used due to ease in functionality and user interface. Revit helps to explore conceptual design through formal studies and develop these initial ideas through the design process into documentation and the actual construction of the design. Any change that is made at one level is updated throughout the project further resulting in coordinated design documentation.

á BIM Benefits
  1. Better understanding of design concepts – shared understanding of issues
  2. More focus on value-added tasks
  3. Faster cycle times
  4. Reduced errors and omissions
  5. Less waste: rework, materials, time
  6. Fewer translation errors and losses
  7. Increased site safety
  8. Better estimates – cost and time

The fundamental shift has been from CAD as a drafting tool to BIM which is more of a three dimensional design and documentation tool which also can be used as a comprehensive project database. BIM works in three dimensions, which not only helps to detect errors right from the very beginning, but also helps to generate 2D drawings easily. This reduces changes which are usually made at a later stage. Beyond this, it can be used to derive topographies, structure, track schedules, cost estimation etc. as per drawing updates.

Sustainable building design and construction is the need of the hour today and BIM facilitates aids this process by integrating well with the LEED building rating system. LEED-certified buildings will help to transform the built environment into a sustainable world by providing the right environment for occupants and demonstrate the building owner and occupant’s responsibility towards the environment. Credits are awarded to each building which meets the specified prerequisites and performance benchmarks. The use of Revit in design development provides essential data that can be used for sustainable design. BIM provides assistance in this process by making information available by facilitating collaborative project management, i.e. providing access and distribution of information and further making it available in various formats to all the participants in the building process. This is done in order to avoid loss of information and ease viewing, reviewing and access to all data. The information can be tapped by various users for multiple uses- project planning, project management, costs estimation etc. Technologically, this is done also to span geographical and time boundaries and hence enable efficient data exchange, project management and collaboration. This is further enhanced in large scale, complex building projects as it enables accurate and proficient project communication.

The main advantage of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the compatibility and interoperability that it offers through technology which facilitates ease in exchange of information. This is most essential in the building process as information travels through various hands to essentially get compiled in one single database. Information travels from concept design by an Architect to localized Structural and MEP consultants to specialized landscape and Lighting consultants and then back to the architect who further sends them to the site; the possibility of data getting lost is tremendous. BIM fosters this exchange in digital formats with ease and efficiency through three dimensional CAD software solutions.

BIM services include and aid schematic design, design development, construction documents, and working drawings for both Engineering and Architecture. Building Information Modeling has set a new platform in the design and delivery of construction projects. With many such players in the market, BluEnt works towards implementing and integrating BIM as a part of our process, by adding the practical working knowledge and previous experience. BluEnt helps in providing BIM solutions which are not only rich in knowledge and content, but also add on to the usability and experience to the industry.

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