BIM and the modern architectural design

GlossaryOctober 12, 2020

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.

Why is BIM design relevant in modern architectural design?

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 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.


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.

World Trade Center Lausanne Avenue de Gratta-Paille 2 1018 Lausanne, Switzerland
+41 21 588 0125
BIM in design. BIM design software and processes 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
World Trade Center Lausanne Avenue de Gratta-Paille 2 1018 Lausanne, Switzerland
+41 21 588 0125