Digital technologies have brought changes to many industries, and construction and architecture are no exceptions. Computer-aided designs have become the norm, and BIM (Building Information Modeling), with its collaborative features and vast amounts of data, is not far behind. Architects of the past may have needed their sharp pencils and tilted drafting tables, but nowadays, computers might be of greater use to them.
Still, not all architects are entirely familiar with BIM. Even among those who are, some don’t understand why BIM is as important as everyone claims. For both of these groups, we’ve prepared a short introduction to BIM and some of its benefits and uses.
What Is BIM?
Building Information Modeling, or BIM, can be defined in two ways. In more specific terms, modern design software helps architects and engineers construct and design buildings. To that end, the software creates a 3D model of a building with all the necessary information for its construction and maintenance. This data isn’t limited only to geometry and spatial relationships but also includes:
- Light and daylight analysis
- Space planning
- Energy analysis
- Cost and amount of required building materials
- Potential issues the building might face during its lifecycle and their resolutions
In other words, BIM software provides an insight into the building as a whole, even after its completion. Thanks to that, it allows for better planning and more innovative problem-solving.
Looking at it more broadly, BIM isn’t just software, though. It’s also a new movement in construction that promotes increased efficiency and collaboration. The whole team should work as one from contractors and designers to builders and engineers. And thanks to the newly available tools, that’s more than possible.
Why Is BIM Crucial for Modern Architecture?
Modern architecture has moved way past 2D blueprints and drafting tables, and it’s now entered the age of BIM and computer-aided design. But how much of a difference do these tools really make? And what are their benefits exactly? Let’s take a look.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
Before BIM, smooth communication between architects, constructors, managers, and builders was much more difficult. Each project required meetings and discussions to ensure everyone was on the same page, which inevitably slowed down the progress. Even exchanging files wasn’t ideal and often led to confusion and mistakes.
But now that BIM is here, all that is in the past. Thanks to its excellent collaborative tools, all the information fits in one document stored on the cloud. Everyone who has access to it can add and update the data and follow the changes live. That way, all team members are up to speed at all times, which allows for smoother cooperation and faster task completion.
And when the tasks are completed quickly, so is the project. Thanks to that, contractors can get faster returns on their investments, and architects can move on to new projects. In other words, BIM leads to overall improved efficiency.
No Material Waste
No matter how carefully we calculate, it’s quite easy to overestimate how many materials we need. You may think it’s better to buy too many than too few, but that’s not necessarily true. After all, purchasing too many materials means spending the money that could be saved or used during another stage of the project.
Luckily, BIM is a perfect solution for this problem. The software can precisely predict how many materials the project will require and draw up the estimated costs. And every time an architect or a contractor changes the documentation, the materials and cost data will also update. So, as long as you follow the information in the documentation, you’re sure to avoid buying too many materials and racking up costs.
Ensuring that you don’t purchase more materials than you need is not the only way BIM can help you reduce your costs. The various calculations the software conducts minimize the risk of errors and unexpected repairs down the line. And that’s not all, either — certain AutoCAD Architecture versions can even suggest cost-effective solutions in the design stage.
Even once the project is complete, the maintenance cost will be lower than without BIM. In fact, BIM can show you anticipated operational costs for the building, so there should be no unpleasant surprises at any stage.
Thanks to better collaboration and more accurate calculations, the end result of any project is sure to be of a higher quality. With so many people seamlessly working together and giving their ideas, it’s easier to come up with a perfect solution. The software also allows us to play around with various designs until we settle on the right one — completely free of charge!
BIM is already slowly changing the architecture and construction industry, but that’s nothing compared to its impact in the future. It helps everyone working on the project — the architects, contractors, construction workers, and managers. What’s more, BIM software allows for greater creativity and experimentation, at least during the design stage. It’s no wonder then that its adoption and integration have already started.
No one can quite tell how BIM will develop in the years to come. But one thing’s certain — we should all be there to follow it. After all, if our goal is to design the best possible buildings for our clients, BIM is just the tool we need.