Blog / BIM & Construction Management

Understand BIM architecture and BIM software: Its benefits and main differences

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a methodology that allows the users to create real-world simulations through a virtual model built using collaborative work and software technology that allows all information and documentation related to the project to be stored and shared in real time with all the players involved throughout the life cycle of the project. In this way, the BIM architecture is more efficient, sustainable and profitable in terms of time and money. Therefore, the architectural plans modeled in BIM can be designed with the actual products and materials that will be used in construction, incorporating their geometry, properties and specifications. When it comes to BIM plans, the representation of the building that will be constructed is highly detailed. All the parties involved in the project through BIM software share detailed information and are able to contribute to finding the ideal solutions for the building. That way, on account of the virtually generated models at all stages of the construction project, it is possible to quantify, plan, coordinate, manage and retrieve information during any part of the life cycle of the enterprise that involves BIM architecture and also check the interferences, examine new design alternatives, and test the performance of the model under the action of several agents or conditions. Moreover, each of the elements has its own qualities and is linked specifically and parametrically with other objects of the project: if an object is changed, those that depend on it will be modified automatically, which facilitates the work during the architectural construction. Therefore, the BIM architecture covers everything from the visual representation of the object and its geometry to the relations and attributes in a way that allows the validation of the constructive viability of the solutions, predicting the performance and avoiding errors and waste.

BIM can make a huge difference

The obvious benefits of the BIM architecture have increased its use all over the world, making it even mandatory in some countries. And in other parts where the use of BIM methodology is still in the early stages, there has been already an increase of demand and various government initiatives to promote it.   In order to compete in the AECO market, being an architecture office with BIM experience is a great differential, it can also mean a competitive advantage and offer a new marketing approach, since it is "modern", sustainable, collaborative and even economical in terms of time and cost. In other words, a BIM office is a wise/intelligent/good office, updated and able to meet the needs of the market with greater efficiency. By contrast, those offices that haven’t passed to BIM, might be regarded as outdated because they didn’t go along with the process of digitization and stayed stagnant in the old way of doing things.

BIM architecture software

When a company decides to work on a BIM project, it is important that it masters the available software, understands the functionality of each and chooses the most feasible and compatible for the project in question. Among the BIM tools, the most important in the market for architectural projects are: ArchiCAD, Bentley Architecture, Revit Architecture and Vectorworks Architect.
  • ArchiCAD ArchiCAD is a full-fledged tool and the oldest available in the market. It comes with a large library. The platform is compatible with budgeting and energy calculation software and others.
  • Bentley Architecture Bentley Systems' BIM solution supports IFC format and is part of a large platform that encompasses specific software for structure, installation and modeling of complex elements.
  • Revit Architecture Revit, an Autodesk Software, is one of the most popular and widely used in the market due to the fact that it comes from the same vendor as AutoCad. The tool can read the files generated by Revit Structure and installations (Revit MEP), which facilitates the coordination and compatibilization of the complementary ones.
  • Vectorworks Architect Nemetschek Group’s Vectorworks is highly compatible with the IFC format for file exchange with other BIM tools. It is a simpler and cheaper platform, which makes it possible to design in the traditional way, like a conventional CAD program.

Some lessons from the BIM architecture

- BIM is not a software, it is a new methodology: through the use of adequate software it allows the virtual construction of a project with all the information shared and available in high detail throughout the construction cycle. - BIM increases efficiency and values the work of architecture offices: BIM methodology enables greater assertiveness and improves office performance, as it avoids errors and rework when it comes to making projects compatible. The documents are all shared, in a way that all players work with all the information in real time. Therefore, opting for BIM is a big differential and can become a personal and office marketing plan. - Architecture can be cost-effective Using BIM makes the budget of the works safer and more true to life, since each product used in the project comes with the factory specifications. In addition, it helps to save time and reduce costs. After all, when a project is NOT carried out with BIM, 88% of documents in a project are modified and 45% of documents are reviewed after the executive project. In these projects, the facilities waste is 25%, and as a consequence of the lack of integration between budget, purchases and supplies we have an additional waste of 10%. However, with the use of the BIM methodology these errors, waste, rework and loss of time and expenses, could be avoided. - The future is now and it is BIM Due to the advantages of the BIM methodology, many clients and governments have passed or will demand BIM projects. There are already several companies that have joined this revolution in the AECO sector and those who stay behind will lose the market to other offices and professionals. - The importance of BIM training Understanding BIM is not about learning to use the software, but rather knowing and understanding a work methodology that is supported by software and collaborative work. Therefore, it is a much broader knowledge that and in order to compete in the market, training becomes essential.To this end, it is important that the professional sets his or her adequate training with a specialized teaching staff that already works with BIM as the top priority. It is important to find a program whose teaching staff is composed of academics and leaders of companies, that this course offers theoretical and practical knowledge, that the specialization supports the learning of BIM software and that it also makes possible the collaborative work among the students, so that they train for the real world of BIM architecture.

Zigurat Global Institute of Technology