By Charlie Popeck and John Cribbs for Green Ideas Building Science Consultants
The future of the AEC industry is dependent upon building designs that allow owners to reduce operation, maintenance and occupant costs. In order to unlock business opportunities for your AEC firm, providing better ROI for clients in these areas must be demonstrated, and Building Information Modeling is the key.
Three-dimensional (3D) Modeling has been used by many industries in recent years, but now, 3D Modeling for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry has finally taken hold. 3D Modeling (also known as “Building Information Modeling” or “BIM”) is now required by many owners, both public and private, because they recognize the benefits that BIM offers. But many industry professionals do not understand the application of different types of 3D Modeling that make up the BIM universe, resulting in sub-par designs and impaired long-term building performance.
We always like to start with a definition, so here goes. According to the U.S. National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee “Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition”.
In addition to a typical building plan that represents a design in width and height, BIM adds the third dimension of “depth” to design, a fourth dimension (time), and a fifth dimension (cost). This permits a BIM to include not only the geometry of a building, but also energy and daylight analysis, spatial relationships, geographic data and even properties of building components.
BIM software packages define building objects parametrically, meaning that objects are defined as parameters and how they relate to one another. This leads to one of the most impactful advantages of BIM (in my opinion) …when a particular object is changed, all other related objects will also change.
This allows not only a more coordinated design effort, but also permits the use of advanced energy and daylight modeling techniques, which have the capacity to accurately predict how the completed building will perform from an energy/daylight use perspective, as well as quantifying how elements like building louvers (used for shading and daylight control) are ultimately affecting building performance.
These items are hugely important to the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings. In fact, many building codes and green building rating systems now require that energy and daylight models are completed during the design phase in order to meet code requirements and/or earn certification. In many areas of the world, these models are required to get a building permit.
Join Green Ideas High-Performance Building Consultants in this article series as they illustrate the various applications for BIM within the AEC industry, answering many of the questions that you have about BIM and how to implement a BIM workflow into your business operations in order to differentiate your firm for future success.