The construction industry in the 21st century is facing a huge challenge. Building Information Modeling(BIM) is emerging as a technological, procedural and strategic new approach to the fields of Architecture, Engineering and Construction providing a way for iterating, documenting and managing a design through most of its life-cycle from conceptual design, design development to construction through operations and management. The bulk of the time spent on a design project is in the detailed design and construction document phases of a project, while the building's general appearance, performance and cost are largely decided during conceptual design.
Since CAD easily helps visualize the design concept, where the conceptual design phase is mainly the responsibility of the architect, most curricula in architectural education are currently designed with more focus on CAD and less or no focus on BIM. As a result, most architecture graduates do not posses enough BIM knowledge or skill that is urgently needed by employers. This creates a growing gap between academia and the design and construction industry that needs to be addressed.
What is BIM?
The concept of BIM has existed since the 1970s. The term Building Information Model first appeared in a paper by van Nederveen et al. However, the terms Building Information Model and Building Information Modeling (including the acronym "BIM") had not been popularly used until Autodesk released the white paper entitled "Building Information Modeling".Jerry Laiserin helped popularize and standardize the termas a common name for the digital representation of the building process as then offered under differing terminology by Graphisoft as "Virtual Building", Bentley Systems as "Integrated Project Models", and by Autodesk or Vectorworks as "Building Information Modeling" to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. According to Laiserin and others, the first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, in its debut in 1987. - Wikipedia
“Building information modeling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. The resulting building information models become shared knowledge resources to support decision-making about a facility from earliest conceptual stages, through design and construction, through its operational life and eventual demolition” - Wikipedia.
A BIM model can be holistically used throughout the design process and the construction process as well as during operation and facility management. The model is essentially a database from which all data can be extracted smartly to meet the needs of the viewer at any time and applicable format. This model is also parametric. However, BIM represents a design process that does not prioritize abstract representation or fragmented conventions of communication but instead privileges the contextual construction of a formal/spatial systemic intelligent simulation (Ambrose, 2009).
The possibility of starting with building rather than ending with building might radically reposition curricular goals, concepts and knowledge in the design studio. The design studio must now reflect new ways of teaching and addressing emergent digital design methods and processes, and critically evaluate their effects and possibilities in architectural production (Ambrose 2009).
Levels of BIM maturity
BIM is being used at the moment at a number of different levels of sophistication: Level 0 Unmanaged CAD, in 2D, with paper (or electronic paper) data exchange. Level 1 Managed CAD in 2D or 3D format with a collaborative tool providing a common data environment with a standardised approach to data structure and format. Commercial data will be managed by standalone finance and...