Building Information Modeling (BIM) the Next Frontier

Douglas C. Gehring

We all want and need to work smarter and quicker.  A fast-growing trend for building design professionals is the incorporation of Building Information Modeling or BIM objects as a design tool. Similar to today’s film directors moving from 2D to 3D movies, BIM objects are the next generation of drawings and allow building and design pros to easily visualize projects, improve design quality, reduce change orders and improve project scheduling,

BIM enables a project to be shown in a three dimensional model and includes all the additional properties that go along with it – information data sheets, websites for the products in the model and specification documents. It becomes a one-stop-shop for all the resources you need for the design. For architects, BIM is a productivity enhancement tool.

The use of CAD giving you a two-dimensional view could not, for example, show if there was a wall inadvertently intersecting with an HVAC duct. The three dimensional BIM model shows details such as this which saves designers from costly errors. The BIM drawings get sucked into this building information model for the whole project and can automatically generate plan elevations, sections, and other details so when the designer wants to change one element, it changes it within the whole model.

BIM is a growing industry and from its positive reception by the design community is not going away.  There is still standardization that needs to be done with the tool but it is quickly becoming an accepted part of the design process. Architects and general contractors are the largest forces out there pushing for BIM.  Manufacturers will most likely need to provide these models more and more once professionals see the value of BIM.

BIM also includes building performance software, sustainability modules and other efficiency modules evolving frequently to meet the needs of sustainability initiatives in the building community.  BIM objects are available through Reed Construction Data’s proprietary SmartBIM Library™ as well as many product manufacturers’ websites.

Two states, Wisconsin and Texas, have adopted BIM as the design tool of choice for all state projects. When states begin to adopt these tools you know that growth for the tool is imminent.

Now if we could only get James Cameron to create a few Avatar BIM Objects.

Douglas C. Gehring, P.E., CSI is director, marketing technical services for CertainTeed Gypsum