Abstract: BIM: A Technological Advancement in the Field of Architecture. Introduction:

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1 BIM: A Technological Advancement in the Field of Architecture Abstract: BIM (Building Information Modeling), an innovative parametric software has seen widespread use in architecture design firms worldwide. This software enables architects, contractors and other consultants to work simultaneously and cross collaborate to produce a more refined, feasible and sustainable final product. BIM enhances the efficiency of the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) world to a point where buildings can be edited digitally in real time. This software addresses project complexity and aids in managing the diverse demands and requirements of designers and contractors. Moreover, the rise in sustainable solutions for construction is aided by BIM s capabilities for positive sustainable change. The arrival of this technology has led to large levels of organizational change in the architectural design process and promises to continue to play an important role in both; quality of products and efficiency gains in the industry. Introduction: In today s world of construction, sky scrapers are being built taller, buildings are being placed in more remote locations, projects are becoming increasingly complex, and strict building codes with legal aspects are adding challenges to the built environment. These challenges can only be met with significant and improved communication, coordination and management, which highlight the importance of data and information management. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its 2004 report states that data management errors severely cost the construction industry up to $15.8 billion a year, which is 3-4% of the total industry [3] Cross collaboration in the world of construction has become a key element and the emergence of BIM (Building Information Modeling) to bridge the gap between client, architect, contractor and consultants is an important development. The shared knowledge quality of BIM enables all stakeholders to view the entire life-cycle of the building to participate in all aspects of design, especially those related to energy management, and provides a foundation for architects and contractors to mitigate the negative impact of wasteful energy on buildings through environmentally sensitive design and construction practices [4]. Thus, the role of BIM in all aspects of construction highlights the importance of this new building information modeling software.

2 What is BIM? BIM (Building Information Modeling) is software that allows for a realistic digital representation of a building to be created for owners, architects and contractors to collaborate on all aspects of building design. BIM is used in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry and contributes to improved, rapid, and efficient outcomes. BIM integrates many specialized fields and allows for ease in the design, construction and maintenance phases of a building. See Figure 1, which shows how BIM provides a powerful and integrated platform which has the capability to receive diverse data and information, undertake analyses, and provide output that contributes to effective decision making for building design. Figure 1: What BIM has to offer Source [7]: Getting the Most out of BIM: A Guide for Clients by Dr. John Connaughton, AECOM Current software used in the industry is either two dimensional, architectural drawings, or three dimensional, visual models; BIM bridges this gap. Only some software allows for partial overlap between the two working environments (2D and 3D), both essential to design. BIM supports development and testing of different design ideas where a user is able to constantly switch between a two dimensional and three dimensional working frame. A design team member could move a wall in a plan, and this change would be reflected in elevations, sections and other related views in a documentation set [2]. The BIM model can be holistically used during the design process, helping the designers apply changes and thus improving efficiency.

3 3D Visualization: The primary use of BIM is to create realistic visualizations of a building. The BIM model helps designers by comparing various design alternatives and by offering a design to the client and community. In the past, life sized or scale models of projects were built for architects to show clients how they envisioned their ideas. Physical model building, a time consuming and expensive method, is now utilized less as architects can design a hyper realistic model in BIM and provide animated walk-throughs along with highly accurate renderings. By applying correct materiality and lighting, architects can now show images such as Figure 2 during the design phase of a project. Figure 2: Hyper realistic renderings Source [4]: Building Information Modeling for Sustainable Design by Autodesk Revit White Paper. BIM is a paradigm shift for architect and places more emphasis on conceptual design to allow for better communication between the architect and the client [1]. The relationship between the architect and client is a core element of any construction project; the need to build consensus on the innumerable decisions that contribute to good design and within budgets can now be done better with BIM. Throughout architectural history, drafting (drawing) has been the primary mode of representing design ideas; now with BIM, the design philosophy is shown as a 3D virtual model, providing a spatial understanding to the client [1]. With the aid of BIM, this relationship can prove to be less turbulent, in turn, ensuring a successful final product. Often, there is a gulf between the thought process of an architect and client, however BIM allows an architect to share a variety of options such as; elevations and perspectives in one complete, cohesive program. This access to a range of documentation in one program makes the design intent easier to communicate, and thereby permitting appropriate decisions to be made.

4 Change Management: Modifications and change are repetitive, normal processes in the development of design part of a project. During the arrival of BIM, multiple types of software were used to prepare architectural drawings to guide contractors. If a significant change needed to be made, this would result in making this change in each and every type of software, a time consuming process. The BIM platform stores data in a centralized location and changes are automatically made in all aspects of the model. This helps speed up the design process, the documentation, and provides stringent quality assurance by automatic coordination of the different views [6]. Figure 3 illustrates a plan drawing (top view) of a building in BIM and the intense amount of red marks signifying corrections needed to be made. Such corrections are simple to execute in BIM as compared to other types of software for architectural design. Figure 3: Modifications on a project can be infinite, BIM allows for changes shown in the figure to be executed with ease Source [7]: Getting the Most out of BIM: A Guide for Clients by Dr. John Connaughton, AECOM

5 Data Management: Behind the visual aid of a three-dimensional model, there are large amounts of information required for the next stage of building development, which is construction on site. Information that is not visually represented, such as scheduling, helps designers to gain a better insight into the coordination and planning of each project. Scheduling, a tool in BIM, consists of lists of repeated elements used in the construction of a building: doors, steel members, floor tiles, columns, windows etc. BIM automatically collates this information in an organized manner as shown in Figure 4, which indicates how the data streams can be exported from BIM to a Microsoft Excel file, allowing for a better understanding of the quantities required of each component. This example shows a variety of doors from Single Decorative to Single Flush that the architect can provide to the contractor and client. Moreover, the lists of schedules are automatically updated each time a modification is made in the 3D model [2]. Figure 4: Example of a door schedule Source [8]: Benefits of Building Information Modeling for Construction Managers and BIM based scheduling by Mehmet F. Hergunsel

6 This also provides information on labor requirements and clarifies the necessary coordination over the life cycle of the project. BIM allows you to calculate costs at all stages of the building design as each schedule provides accurate cost estimates. As the design progresses, interim estimates help to identify problems early so alternative solutions can be applied. This process allows for designers and the owner to make informed decisions regularly, resulting in higher quality construction that meets the allotted budget [1]. BIM also integrates the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) system into the BIM model. The interior guts of a building, which compromises of the complicated wiring and piping that run behind walls allowing for smooth functioning of a building is organized with the help of BIM. Figure 5 depicts the transfer of a three dimensional visualization of chilled water and steam pipes into reality. All these elements can be prefabricated on BIM and this reduces onsite installation time [8] Overall, labor costs, and on site decision making is made an efficient time-saving process. Figure 5: 3D Piping translated into reality Source [8]: Benefits of Building Information Modeling for Construction Managers and BIM based scheduling by Mehmet F. Hergunsel

7 Sustainable Design: The environmental impact of construction and buildings in the United States is significant. Commercial and residential buildings consume close to 40% of total energy and account for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition construction and demolition produce 136 million tons of waste every year [4]. The concept of sustainable design is not new; however the use of technology to analyze and accurately predict a building s environmental impact has become an important element in the construction industry. Some examples of how BIM can promote sustainable design are by allowing architects to identify key areas that relate to environmental sustainability: Building orientation, Building Massing, Day lighting, Water Harvesting, Energy modeling and materiality [2]. Figure 6 shows how the materiality aspect affects sustainable design through sun studies of two different materials, a glass curtain wall, and a masonry façade. The two West Elevations allow the architect to analyze and compare the best solution for the project. Figure 6: Two different sun studies being tested on BIM Source [5]: BIM-based Sustainability Analysis: An Evaluation of Building Performance Analysis Software by Salman Ashar, Justin Brown and Rizwan Farooqui

8 The focus of sustainability in architecture is emphasized because BIM allows all members of the design team to integrate their work; each user is able to gain a better understanding of all systems in the building. This collaborative process enhances the coherence in all building systems and provides a foundation for sustainable design. The use of one single model integrated with sustainable analytical tools will yield a positive effect on the future of the built environment [5]. Another example of a sustainable approach to design can be seen in Figure 7 where the two images show a realistic 3D visualization and a pseudo-color intensity radiosity model to calculate how to maximize solar access for balanced natural lighting [4]. Given the role of energy in all aspects of people s lives, with homes being significant energy users, and emissions by the built environment, the role of BIM in making an important contribution to sustainable design is evident, and growing. Figure 7: Day lighting analysis Source [4]: Building Information Modeling for Sustainable Design by Autodesk Revit White Paper

9 The future of BIM: The limitless, yet realistic and feasible opportunities with the use of BIM have propelled the world of architecture to new heights. Saving time and money while providing seamless communication between all parties involved with the design, construction and maintenance of a building, BIM is indeed a much needed technological advancement. Knowledge management during the design process highlights the advantage of BIM to ease communication and procurement management. BIM is a relatively new technology in an industry typically slow to adopt change. Yet many early adopters are confident that BIM will grow to play an even more crucial role in building documentation. With competition in the construction industry a realistic challenge, as more companies smooth the creases with the use of BIM, most firms will turn to BIM as the primary design software. Keeping pace with new innovations for a specialized industry, such as architecture, is important for any successful business and the rapid implementation of BIM paves the way for this program to dominate the market for many years to come.

10 References: [1] Chuck Eastman, Paul Teicholz, Rafael Sacks, Kathleen Liston. BIM Handbook Introduction, in BIM Handbook: A Guide to Building Information Modeling, Second Edition, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011, pp [2] Eddy Krygiel, Bradley Nies. Methodology for Sustainable Solutions, in Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling, First Edition, Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, 2008, pp [3] Patrick C. Suermann, Raja R.A. Issa. Evaluating the Impact of Building Information Modeling (BIM) on Construction. Pd.D. dissertation, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2007 [4] Autodesk Revit White Paper, Building Information Modeling for Sustainable Design, Autodesk Revit White Paper, [5] Salman Ashar, Justin Brown, Rizwan Farooqui. BIM-based Sustainability Analysis: An Evaluation of Building Performance Analysis Software, M.S. thesis, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL, Florida Int. Univ., Miami, FL, [6] Yusuf Arayici, Charles Egbu, Paul Coates (2012) Building information modelling (BIM) implementation and remote construction projects: Issues, Challenges and Critiques, ITcon Vol. 17, Special Issue Management of remote construction sites and the role of IT Systems, pg , [7] Dr. John Connaughton, Getting the Most out of BIM: A Guide for Clients, AECOM, pp. 1-28, [8] Mehmet F. Hergunsel. Benefits of Building Information Modeling for Construction Managers and BIM based scheduling. Pd.D. dissertation, Worcester Polytech. Inst., Worcester, MA, May, 2011.

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