CEI Architecture uses building information modelling processes and software to design most of our new projects. This post is part of a series by Scott Chatterton, CEI’s in-house BIM guru, on the benefits and opportunities of BIM for us and our clients.
As an architectural firm we prefer to use BIM software—such as Revit—and we really see the benefits, especially when all consultants are on board. It allows us to collaborate on the building model and iron out clashes between the structural, mechanical, electrical and architectural models.
But it’s the owner and developer of the building project that really benefits. If a project enjoys full collaboration, including participation by the contractor, the owner and developer can see real, measurable savings in the time and cost of construction.
Every building is a prototype; we do not build the same design or “re-use” a set of drawings over and over again. If we can design it digitally using building information modelling, we will solve many of the problems and issues that normally come up during construction. It’s far easier to make those changes and corrections in a digital model rather than in the field during construction. It’s much cheaper too!
As architects we gain the benefit of fully understanding our digital model, which enables better expression of the “design intent.” We can (and do) create a great service and product using traditional, non-BIM methods—remember the drafting board?—but BIM allows us to do our jobs better. We can now analyze the design and its implications to a greater extent because we have a digital, 3D version of the building prototype that we can interact with from every possible direction.
Using BIM allows us to provide a better service, but the true benefit of the building information model comes into play after the design is done. Being able to confidently pre-fabricate duct systems, estimate quantities and volumes of materials, and even be able to prefabricate a bathroom and plug it in to the building. All this can be done with BIM. Time and money can be saved just by the ability of a contractor to create a construction sequence, check access for cranes and trucks, or access the staging area on site.
All of this and more can be done using building information modelling. In other words, we all benefit.