BIM is the present and future of architecture

 

I often receive inquiries from colleagues with whom we initiate a conversation about the present and the future of architecture or engineering. We usually agree on the need for a constant professional update if engineers and architects intend to have access to the greatest number of professional opportunities in the competitive AECO sector. When the subject changes and we begin talking about BIM, the first question is often times:

What is BIM, and why is everyone talking about it?
Then, once explained, the following question I hear is:

Where do I begin?
That is a really important question. However, almost every time someone tries to answer the question, it becomes a conversation about software quite quickly.

In our studio we use AutoCAD and now we will have to go “somewhere else that uses it with BIM”, right?
Well, no. Of course you do not have to start that way.

It is true that many studies and technical offices make a software change and consider that, with that simple decision, they have already made the transition from a traditional system to a “more modern” one, concluding the update phase. Well, the only thing they will have done is strictly that: a software change. The models that generate with the new software will be simple 3D models equally good or bad as what they had created until then. They will continue to include virtually no relevant information.

On the contrary, the first step should be directed towards a reflection on the way in which the organization carries out each project. As amazing as it sounds, it is very common to meet many architects and engineers that have never done an analysis of their workflows or defined their standards of information production. Therefore, it is convenient to start by giving a clear answer to both questions.

If you find yourself in this situation, what do you have to begin with? Your work, your projects and your last interventions, right?

Then sit down with your team and start by dismantling each project to its elementary components. Ask yourself how the design phase began, what made you decide on the type of structure used, why climate control has taken geothermal energy into account, what types of walls you use, think about if you have coded them so that they can be repeated for future intervention with similar characteristics. Contemplate the carpentry of windows. Everything.

Decompose everything you use frequently and create your own work standards, ask yourself what level of information you need to incorporate into each element so that this data is useful, without falling short or providing more information than what’s necessary. How do you receive the information that you will have to incorporate into the model? What should contain what you deliver and how you carry out this process? How does all of that information circulate in the organization and how do you manage access to it? The list is long, no doubt.

It is essential to define the entire process correctly, as well as the work flow and the information that will be needed in all phases in order to integrate BIM in an organization.

The correct management of model information is what will allow us to make the correct transition from the present to the future of architecture or engineering.
If we agree on this, then another day software may be discussed.

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