So you’re convinced that BIM will be a good addition to your firm. Unlike more conventional CAD, BIM is composed of intelligent 3D models which make critical design and construction processes such as coordination, communication, and collaboration much easier and faster. However, for these reasons BIM is also seen by many as a more complicated software with a steep learning curve, with the potential to take a large chunk out of a firm’s operating budget during the transition period. So how do you actually transition an entire firm’s process to BIM? Here are ten steps to guide you on your way.
These days, BIM is becoming standard practice. Most people involved in the construction sector—from the architects and engineers who use BIM to the governments that are implementing mandates for BIM in certain project types—are well and truly sold on the benefits it brings, including efficiency, collaboration, cost-savings, and improved communication. As a result, many practices these days that haven’t yet switched to BIM give the same reason: the dreaded transitional period.
Of course, these fears of transition are not entirely unfounded, as new software, staff training and teething problems are an inevitable part of upending your existing workflow. These initial costs create a barrier for many busy practices who simply can’t afford the time or money right now that would enable them to unlock BIM’s benefits down the line. The key to solving this conundrum of course is to minimize the initial costs—and one way of doing this that many experts recommend is to start your firm’s transition to BIM with a single pilot project, in which you will be able to establish a workflow and define standards that suit your practice, and transfer these lessons onto later projects.
But what is the best way to select this pilot project? Should you work on a large or small building? A complex work or a simple one? Here, three early adopters of BIM share what they learned from their own pilot projects, each with very different characteristics.
There is an ongoing battle between architects and our tools of the trade. Whether you use a 2D drafting program like AutoCAD, or a BIM program like Revit, you have experienced a full spectrum of frustration. Like many architectural firms, the office of Franklin + Newbury Architects, depicted in our webcomic Architexts, has been trying to transition to BIM for years, and that transition has translated into blood, sweat, tears, and expletives. Software woes and transitioning from 2D to BIM are just a couple of the many topics found in our body of comics.
The benefits and capabilities of building information modeling in large-scale architectural practices are well known. But is BIM really necessary for smaller firms? Many small firms have been operating using traditional CAD methods for some time now, and switching technologies can seem a daunting task, especially for companies that operate on small budgets and without the specialized personnel of large international firms. But this is 2016 and the economic landscape has changed, with more and more expected from architects all the time. Time is more valuable now than ever. Where BIM software programs were once seen as simply nice to have, their large range of benefits have now made BIM an essential part of the design process. And as the following reasons show, BIM is just as important a tool for small offices as it is for larger ones.
ABOUT :: [TRANS-] is a critically-reviewed academic journal published in print and online, inviting expressions of interest for submitting works of design, writing, or multi-media on the topic of design process and design communication for Vol. No. 2 to be published in May 2016.
In the second volume, [TRANS-] will explore the topic of [TRANS-]lation.
In a largely results-based society, how do designers evaluate process? How can a more thorough assessment of the translation that occurs during creative activities make us better communicators and collaborators with end users, consultants, clients, and all others we affect through design?
[TRANS-] accepts submissions from
We’ve always been a profession of hackers. Every building is a one-off made up of countless elegant hacks, each bringing disparate materials and systems together into a cohesive whole. But when it comes to the software that designers have come to rely on, most of us have been content with enthusiastic consumerism, eagerly awaiting the next releases from software developers like Autodesk, McNeel (Rhino) and Bentley (MicroStation).
It’s been 5 years since we officially launched our research program at the Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, and during that period we’ve come to understand the evolution of our process reflects the larger, changing relationship architects have with their means of production. Specifically, we've noticed that in late 2007 something changed. McNeel introduced a visual programming plugin called Grasshopper, and more and more architects began to hack their tools as well as their buildings.
At the intersection of strict budgetary demands, the need for preserving local history we find a very unique project – employing very unique solutions to meet its needs.
We set our scene at the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building, a building in jeopardy of being torn down. In order to save the immense building, constructed as part of the New Deal, from the threat of a wrecking ball, a dedicated team of innovative people came up with a revolutionary use of BIM and other tools to spearhead the preservation project. Part of the effort to save it includes creating accurate as-built HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings to support fund-raising and preservation efforts. These HABS drawings will also be lodged with the United States Library of Congress.
The challenge: to produce a set of HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings for the Library of Congress for the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building, a 1938 WPA project.
Please join our webinar where Philip Allsopp, Senior Sustainability Scientist and Adjunct Professor with the Julie Ann Wrigley, Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will present a fascinating case study about the groundbreaking use of 3D laser survey and point clouds with ARCHICAD 19.
This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.
We often hear of the great tectonic shift that digital technologies have brought to almost every aspect of our lives, but in one particular yet understated way, architecture has been revolutionized by computerization. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a background revolution that has implications on every stage in the building process from development through construction and onto the lifecycle of the building. As defined by the US 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 life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition." 
While that gives some indication of BIM’s applications, many people may still be wondering how such a shift came about, what are its present applications and benefits, and how it will shape architecture’s future?
When working with clients, architects are bound to change, update and reiterate projects. Revisions are deeply ingrained into the design process, and as projects become more complex and updates become more frequent, keeping the most up-to-date versions of your designs can be a challenge.
As a part of Building Information Modeling (BIM), computational design is a burgeoning trend, based upon the idea that any design problem can be described as an abstract model with clear and logical guidelines, which can then be solved through computation. This design process is especially gaining popularity among architects and engineers who want to explore a multitude of designs and iterations to quickly discover the best solutions for their needs.
In the past, creating and updating responsive, dynamic models proved much more time-consuming and difficult than it should be. Luckily though, an industry-proven visual programming environment powered by Dynamo helps combat this problem.
"Buildings shouldn't just be a place where you go to do stuff. How can we enable the buildings themselves to be a positive contributor to the activities that happen within them?"
This is how David Fano, co-founder of New York consultancy CASE, explained the logic behind their acquisition by WeWork, the company that provides flexible coworking spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Announced today, the merger could potentially mark a new chapter in the field of office design, as CASE proposes to bring their trademark attitude to Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other cutting edge technology to every space developed by WeWork.
Find out how this acquisition could change the face of Office design after the break.
The AIA has announced four projects as the winners of its inaugural Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Innovation Awards, with Morphosis Architects' Emerson College Los Angeles taking away the headline "Stellar Architecture" award. Started in 2005, the TAP Knowledge Community has led efforts to acknowledge and disseminate the best use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies, and the AIA hopes that the new TAP Innovation Award will "enliven the discourse on how these innovations can advance the profession and practice of architecture and further the mission of the Institute."
See all four awarded projects after the break.
Sefaira, the market-leading daylighting visualization tool, has just announced a new feature for their software plugins for Autodesk Revit and Trimble Sketchup. In addition to the real-time visualizations announced last year, the new update adds customizable, exportable graphics which offer both a point in time analysis or an annual overview, and analysis tools which help designers easily identify overlit and underlit spaces and review heating or cooling requirements.
In the architecture world, there are a handful of persistent debates that arise time and time again: the challenges of being a woman in the field of architecture is one of them, for example; the problems of a culture of long hours and hard work is another. But one of the most enduring arguments in architecture - especially in the academic sphere - is the battle between hand drawing and computer aided design. Both schools have their famous proponents: Michael Graves, for example, was known as a huge talent with a pencil and paper, and came to the defense of drawing in articles for the New York Times, among others. Patrik Schumacher, on the other hand, is famous for his commitment to the capabilities of the computer.
To advance this heated conversation, two weeks ago we reached out to our readers to provide their thoughts on this topic in an attempt to get a broad cross-section of opinions from architects from all walks of life. Read some of the best responses after the break.
One of the biggest decisions to make when setting out alone - either as an independent architect or starting your own firm - is which software to use. It can be tempting to simply choose an industry leader, but you may end up paying over the odds for a product which doesn't suit your style. In this post, originally published on ArchSmarter as "Which architectural software is right for me?" Michael Kilkelly works through the factors that should influence your decision, whether you're making it for the first time or reviewing a choice you made long ago.
Which CAD or BIM software should you use? Well, that depends. What functionality to you need? What are your priorities with regard to cost, comparability, interoperability? Are you using a Mac or a PC?
Update: We have now published our follow-up article of readers' responses - see it here.
In his articles for ArchSmarter, Michael Kilkelly often praises the value of computers and automation, a sometimes controversial viewpoint with plenty of supporters on either side. In particular, his previous post on ArchDaily, "5 Reasons Architects Should Learn to Code" provoked a significant discussion. But what is the value of this automation? In this post originally published on ArchSmarter, he expands on his view of what computers can be useful for - and more importantly, what they can't.
I write a lot about digital technology and automation here on ArchSmarter, but deep down inside, I have a soft spot for all things analog. I still build physical models. I carry a Moleskine notebook with me everywhere. I also recently bought a Crosley record player.
I can listen to any kind of music I want through Spotify. The music world is literally at my finger tips. Playing records hasn’t changed what I listen to but it has changed how I listen to music. There’s more friction involved with records. I have to physically own the record and I have to manually put it on the turntable. It’s a deliberate act that requires a lot more effort than just selecting a playlist on Spotify. And it’s a lot more fun.
In the debate about how architects - both present and future - represent our ideas, it is easy to find a lot of articles supporting both sides. One can read as many arguments as they want and find valid points supporting both hand-drawing and computer production. One could argue that there is nothing prettier than a well done hand-rendering of a project. Another could say that, although hand-drawing is something that catches the eye, it is not practical at all, takes longer than doing it on the computer and does not allow architects to easily modify it.
There is however another facet that does not come up as frequently as it maybe should: how does this discussion affect students? I believe we lie in a cross-fire, between the idea of what architects do and what they actually do.