Monday, May 20, 2013

Building Information Modeling: Collaboration in Design


Building Information Modeling

The construction and architectural industry has been in great crisis in the past two decades. This was mostly due to lack of communication between the inter-disciplines that share knowledge on the lifecycle of a building. This resulted in most complex and large projects to be over budget, a failure to meet planned dead-lines and design inconsistencies.

However, BIM and GIS are revolutionizing the design and building industry in a myriad of ways through its design software platform that offers solutions to planning, designing, construction, and management of data throughout the building’s lifecycle.


Today there are vast resources in the construction industry to design and build a sustainable environment. There is a need to plan, construct, restore or renovate on new or pre-existing buildings, that focus on its sustainability efforts. One of the tools that makes this process efficient and manageable is BIM. A base process design tool that enable the user/users to create, manage, design and most importantly share information on the building life cycle, from the concept of planning, design, and the business logistics as well. BIM support processes such as: cost management, construction management, project management, and facility operation. Essential components to sustaining a built environment through shared knowledge and green technology. BIM is not only a design software tool, but also a business analyzing platform that help projects operate and maximize efficiency by:
  • Improved visualization 
  • Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information 
  • Increased coordination of construction documents  
  • Increased speed of delivery 
  • Reduced costs 
  • Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required, for estimation and tendering

Business Benefits

  • Enhanced collaboration 
  • More increased interoperability 
  • More opportunity for innovation 
  • Greater consistency across the enterprise 

Industry Drivers

  • Mega cities 
  • Sustainability 
  • Project funding/financing 
  • Global infrastructure 
  • Project delivery 
  • Attracting and retaining talent 

Professor Marcela Oliva, the head of LATTC Architectural Design Program emphasize through her class lectures and projects the significance of how we rethink and look at our built environment. In a class lecture on site analysis and landscape drafting, she spoke on how BIM technology allow us to zoom in and out in an abstract relation of the sustainable model. She believes this technology will not only change how we think of our built environment, but also allow us the ability to transform the construction industry. She explains the process is accomplished through a paradigm shift in how we document a building. Here are some view points on the process explained by Professor Oliva:

Utilizing the skills and ideals of the younger generation in collaboration with an experienced workforce to implement visual skills and talents

Architect teachers and instructors need to re-evaluate how they teach students to be prepared for today’s work force.

Architect teachers must explain the entire process of the life cycle of a building and how architects must manage and manipulate space to empower people with sustainable practices and functions.

From: Wiki-Commons
According to an online article, Phil Bernstein, an FAIA architect and industry strategist, first used the acronym BIM for “building information modeling.” Jerry Laiserin then helped popularize and standardize the term as a common name for the digital representation of the building process as then offered under differing terminology by Graphisoft as “Virtual Building”, Bentley Systems as “Integrated Project Models”, and Autodesk as “Building Information Modeling” to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. According to him and others, the first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft‘s ArchiCAD, in its debut in 1987. 

It is believed, and strongly considered that BIM is the design software to revolutionize the construction and architectural industry at-large. This design tool is reshaping how we document, analyze, and collaborate in the life cycle and built environment of a building. This technology facilitates:

  • Communication of ideals, methods, and procedures 
  • Understanding of spatial qualities and quantifying its properties 
  • Increased manufacturing 
  • Communication barriers elimination

I believe BIM will continue to innovate the building and design industry with its revolution of design software platforms that is vastly improving the operation efficiency of many architectural, construction, and design companies. BIM is definitely a paradigm shift in the right direction for the design and building industry, if not for the "cost barrier."  Many firms still feel that the adoption of  such a radical technology, cannot justify the expense needed to overhaul their workflow.

On Wednesday, we will show you not only is it not as hard as one may think, but more profitable than one could ever imagine.


Written and Formatted by:
Todd Hummons
Content Director

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