Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is frequently used nowadays to transform building designs from 2D paper into 3D in a digital form. BIM is not just about geometry, it is also used to show the spatial relationships, analyse the light orientation, properties of building components, quantities etc.

A site in a digital model form

Building information  modelling can be considered as an illustrated prototype of either a building, a site or even a city. It allows any aim of a design's performance to be stimulated and assessed before it is built, helping us to understand the design more and easier. BIM is not just a 3D model, it's information gathered together that can be used by all the members of the team that work on a project.

It is a very convenient method to use in the industry as the digital model goes from one professional to the other allowing them to make the changes they need to do on their field of expertise. BIM goes through a life-cycle when a project takes place: Management of building information models, Building Information Modelling in construction industry and Building Information Modelling in facility operation.

While architects are mostly making models out of materials, architectural technicians are strictly required to know how to use BIM software. However, BIM is starting to becoming a fashion whereas actual models are slowly fading away resulting architects to be required to use such softwares too (in the same way of how AutoCAD was originally for architectural technicians and architects would draw by hand).

Softwares for BIM:

There are many different softwares that can be used to illustrate a 3D digital model. I have tried only three of them and these three I am going to talk about.

Rhino is a software which is about generally making digital models, not only houses, therefore this is not used only in the construction industry, it is a model making software for general views, and for this reason it's considered to be the hardest to use.

Screen shot of a work made with Rhino software

SketchUp is another software that can be used. A software special for designing buildings, personally I find this software the hardest to use as when I got my hands on it I couldn't draw a single line because of it's complexity. However, as I have previously seen from some of my colleagues work, if you manage to learn to use this software, a lot of realistic designs can be illustrated on it!

Samples from SketchUP software

A software I would highly recommend is Autodesk Revit. It is obviously provided by Autodesk, which means it's strictly for building modelling only.

Screenshot from a work of Autodesk Revit Architecture

I find that software very easy to use, especially if you know how to use AutoCAD (which is required). It is just like how AutoCAD is being used but what makes it even easier is the fact that you don't need to determine the wall thickness, or the design of the roof etc. Revit has all these things ready for you - you select to draw a wall, you set up what type of wall you want and with a single lien you have it all.

Another reason why Autodesk Revit is easy to use is when you draw your model you don't already draw it in a 3D form, you draw the floor plans and with a simple click, the software will turn your drawing into a model. And there you have it.

Screenshot from a work of Autodesk Revit Structure    

Note: Autodesk Revit used to be divided to two software: Autodesk Revit Architecture and Autodesk Revit Structure, Revit Architecture is based mostly on the design of the building and how it will look and Revit Structure is based on designing the structure of the building. Until 2012 these two softwares where divided like that but in the 2013 version Autodesk decided to combine the two in one software.


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