Glossary October 12, 2020

Why is BIM design relevant in the modern architecture? BIM design software and process.

Table of Contents

Architectural design refers to the organization of the elements and components that make up a building or structure. It entails the way that they function coherently as a whole and give the structure form and functionality.

Over the years architectural design has undergone an evolution. From the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the norman architecture; the gothic architecture; the baroque style that originated in Italy; up to the modern architectural design, different forms of technology and methods have been used to improve building designs.

The modern architectural design started at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is characterized by much simpler designs that does not include much ornamentation when compared to the elaborate designs of the victorian, islamic and romanesque styles. The current architectural design relies more on sophisticated, innovative technology in the building design. The use of reinforced concrete, together with steel and glass is a primary characteristic.

What is BIM?

BIM, Building Information Modeling, is a technology system that makes it possible for architects to create a digital simulation of building design making the detailed information necessary for the execution of the whole project effectively manageable throughout the entire project lifecycle.

BIM creates a digital representation of the building or structure being designed and demonstrates how it will function. This allows architects to visualize the whole building before construction and the ability to predict how the structure will perform after construction, including when subjected to stress from the elements of nature.

The relevance of BIM design software

BIM design software are programs compatible with BIM, and developed for such purpose. Examples of BIM software include programs like ArchiCAD, Revit, AllPlan, BIM 360, and Tekla, to mention a few.

Revit is capable of making designs in 4-dimensions and tracking different stages in the whole project. It is used for coordinating building designs in a team that consists of members from different disciplines.

BIM 360 is capable of providing the team working on a construction project with real-time data, thus, increasing the speed of making decisions.

ArchiCAD is a BIM design software that allows computer-aided solutions into the building design throughout the lifecycle of the project; thus, it integrates BIM functions with computer-aided solutions. AllPlan gives the architects and building engineers room for more flexibility and creativity, allowing them to have full and precise control over their work.

Building information models can be extracted from a computer and shared within the project team in order to enhance work on a particular building project. A wide range of persons can use BIM software. Individuals, organizations and even government establishments may utilize BIM design software for the design and construction of structures. BIM has applications in projects that have to do with electricity, water, communication, transport, oil and gas, and so on.

CAD, computer-aided design, and BIM, are related in a way that some may find it hard to distinguish between the two; however, there are differences between CAD and BIM. CAD refers to using the computer to create designs and drawings of higher quality. With CAD, an architect can make 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional drawings of structures. CAD represents elements of building design with only arcs and lines, unlike BIM. CAD’s limitation is that there is no distinction between the elements of architectural design.

Various BIM levels

Despite the fact that BIM for design is a relatively new approach to construction and architecture, “BIM levels” is already an accepted concept. Different levels of BIM design processes define the list of criteria required to be BIM-compliant at this specific level.

Currently, the most commonly used BIM levels are levels 0 through 3. There is also 4D BIM, and a few others but examples of these are too few and far between to be considered industry standards, for now.

  • Level 0. This level is mostly represented by an unmanaged CAD, in 2D, with traditional paper drawings as the main sharing venue, and PDFs if transferred digitally – basically, creating different sources of information that cover basic properties of the project but not connected in some way. Surprisingly enough, a large part of the BIM software for design providers is well ahead of this level as it is right now.
  • Level 1. Level 1 is arguably the most popular BIM level and works as a combination of 3D CAD for concepts and 2D for documentation and product info. At this point, the CAD standards are obeying BS 1192:2007, and data sharing is using a common data environment (CDE) as its basis (models themselves are still not shared though).
  • Level 2. This level’s most crucial cornerstone is collaborative working – when different parties are using their 3D CAD models (does not have to be the same shared model) but can share the design information using a standard file format. This kind of interaction allows different parties to create a federated BIM model and carry various checks on it. It is worth noting that each participant’s software must support one of the common file formats, such as IFC, COBie, or others. Level 2 BIM has been set as the main method of working in the UK government for all of the projects in the public sector by 2016.
  • Level 3. As the end goal for many BIM-using companies, this level is represented by a full collaboration between all of the different parties involved in the process. Everyone in the project has access to a single shared model that has a centralized repository. This kind of approach completely removes the major layer of risk that is conflicting information, since everything updates in real-time. This kind of advanced cooperation is sometimes referred to as “Open BIM”. There are some issues that are of concern, in this case, namely copyright, liability, and so on, but they are intended to be resolved sooner than later – via robust appointment documents and software originator r/w permissions (for copyright) and via multiple shared-risk procurement routes like partnering (for liability).

As you can see, there’s a lot of complexity that BIM software for design provides, via different levels, strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s still safe to say that the potential advantages are easily outweighing the negatives.

Why is BIM design relevant in the modern architecture?

BIM design represents real components of a building with actual elements, unlike CAD that uses lines. Another advantage that BIM has over CAD is that it makes it possible for an architect to create drawings with both 4D and 5D, which are time and costs, respectively. With this, the different aspects in a building project from the first to last including programming, conceptual design, construction logistics etc, can be intelligently managed. Information on the maintenance, as well as renovation or possible demolition, can be managed using BIM. A range of modelling is possible with BIM. With BIM, the structure of the conceptualized building as well as the construction materials with their qualities and cost can be integrated into the model.

Simply put, CAD creates the drawings of a building design while BIM creates a detailed model of the building, which is then used to generate the drawings. The merit of BIM here is that it avoids having to make a drawing twice.

While working on an architectural project, the designer may decide to reduce the time assigned for decision making, adjustments and specification of the different components and elements in his or her model. This can be done by downloading specific ready-made models online and integrating them into the project. By this, costs can be reduced, and the quality of the architectural design is improved.

The BIM design process allows collaboration among all the workers involved in the building project. The architects, engineers, builders and others can work together in a very fluid and intelligent way through the use of BIM. Information can be shared effectively among the team members with each of the professionals contributing expert, related information about the model, thus forming what is known as a federated model (the combination of many different disciplines models into one all-encompassing model). This kind of model improves decision making, reduces cost and avoids unnecessary clashes within the team while enhancing better BIM coordination.

A special feature of BIM is that it defines components and elements as parameters, and also in relation to others in such that any adjustment made to a particular component automatically causes an adjustment to other components. This makes it easy to effect any necessary changes and make corrections.

BIM as an idea

The fact that BIM is all about communication seems to be widely understood, yet many companies refuse client-related interaction with BIM as a whole. The common example is people utilizing BIM for design as a system in general but not appointing team members with BIM protocol to define specific roles or responsibilities, and not defining information requirements, among other things.

This represents the so-called “passive” BIM user case. People can still partially benefit from a reduced coordination risk and better project outcome, but don’t get any of the more significant benefits of BIM design processes, therefore refusing to operate while exposing themselves to some of the known BIM risks.

Communication is a cornerstone of BIM, and this half-hearted approach does not bring anything more than a few minor benefits. Surprisingly enough, one of the most significant limiting factors to BIM growth as technology is people themselves, with trust issues, “blame culture” and many other problems that companies encounter on a regular basis.

On the other hand, if a company manages to overcome their doubts and committed communication as a part of the BIM idea, they’ll be able to get so much more out of the same BIM environment than ever before.

Revizto as a BIM design software

The fact that BIM is a hot topic right now is impossible to argue with – and there’s always a lot of competitors on the market for hot topic solutions and methods. Each of these different solutions can offer something new or unique for your business. For example, here’s Revizto, providing several important features alongside your usual BIM-ready platform (the one that has a lot of features on its own already), including:

  • Live model coordination, providing an easy-to-use model and a bridge between 2D and 3D environments.
  • Maximized 3D viewing efficiency, including a plethora of additional features, such as perspective views, authoring tool views, the ability to export camera views from Revit, and so on.
  • Clash detection visualization, offering a clear view of every object that clashes with a part of your structure, making it easier to discern where things went wrong.
  • Another level of context when it comes to 2D/3D transition, such as using the 2D sheet as a cut plane to the model to see all of the specifics from the 2D sheet on the 3D model.
  • Issue tracker’s combination with other tools, making it easier to use Revizto as a sort of a “notepad” about specific issues like elevators, areas with potential clashes, and so on.

One important idea that goes through the majority of BIM ideas is the creativity, the ability to look at the problem from a different point of view or use a piece of BIM software in an unexpected way, and more.

Conclusion

In this modern time, BIM has revolutionized architecture and enabled the designing of very large buildings and structures that can withstand the elements and stand the test of time. With BIM, the chances of human errors and miscalculations in building design is significantly reduced, thus, minimizing potential complications to the minimum.

As the need for buildings that are more sustainable increases, the importance of BIM in architectural design is evident. Using BIM in building design leads to better construction and management of buildings.


About the author
James Ocean

BIM/VDC Specialist. James Ocean is Head of BIMspiration at Revizto and keeps everything moving onwards and upwards. From supporting and teaching our internal team as well as our clients, James shows us the ins-and-outs and how to best leverage Revizto to maximize workflows, cut costs, and get all types of projects through the finish line.

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BIM in design. BIM design software. BIM design process Today, discussions about the architectural design of the modern world is usually accompanied by the mentions of BIM design. While some people are aware of the relevance of BIM in modern architecture, others are not. Hence, this post contains the reasons why BIM, its designs and software, are fundamental to the current architectural design. 2020-10-12
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