We are heading for a scenario in which BIM technology will greatly help us to maximize the roles and skills of civil construction professionals, making room for us to plan, design, build and manage buildings and infrastructures much more efficiently, integrating all systems, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing in a responsible, economical and sustainable way.
BIM technology brings numerous advantages and challenges that are known to professionals, who currently rely on poor incentives and public initiatives. The challenges posed by diving deep into migrating to BIM, require us to be prepared for the changes that this technology brings us. Considering the cultural and processual obstacles, we have a nationwide scenario in which BIM tools are quite well known and are undergoing a process of improvement in their comprehensibility and profound development, especially in large urban centers where it is increasingly difficult to escape the chain of technological innovation.
Investment from professionals in the field is essential to increase the level of expertise within the entire community. For professional landscape designers, a greater effort is needed to understand how to behave within this new universe of intelligent modeling and how to contribute, through landscape architecture projects, to the multidisciplinarity that BIM brings.
The landscaping design field faces barriers in the implementation of the BIM system because the most popular software such as Revit and ArchiCad do not include specific tools to meet the needs of this sector, which makes the challenge greater and more complex since it is necessary to develop an action plan that addresses not only the procedures related to the use of the software but also a methodology that smartly adapts the tools offered by the industry.
Within this context we find a scenario where most companies continue to work in the traditional way, justifying it by the lack of tools, holding the developers responsible, whereas the latter find no relevance in the professionals' complaints, suggestions or proposals regarding new tools, since they do not actually use them, thus forming the cycle of technological paralysis, in which we do not make progress, becoming increasingly difficult to leave and more justifiable not to do so.
The challenges of adapting the tools available in Revit for landscape modeling begin when one realizes that basic elements of representation do not exist, and it becomes necessary to develop and adapt practically everything. From vegetation families with relevant databases to furniture, lighting, terrain, materials, and even the documentation of landscape projects.
Purpose-built tools and features for landscape and site design workflows are available with the BIM authoring solution, Vectorworks Landmark. It intuitively assists landscape architects to not only conduct site-specific parametric and data-driven design, but also uses IFC and RVT file format exchanges, supporting the need to collaborate with other BIM-utilizing practitioners as well. Though custom objects are still possible and supported with integrated 2D/3D design and modeling processes, intelligent objects with built-in databases such as plants, landscape areas, hardscapes, and terrain models relieve the design professional from having to retrofit architectural features for site amenities.
To begin with, it is extremely important to develop all the necessary database, as well as the families and templates, so that the projects have internal and external efficiency, increasing productivity, decreasing daily rework, and, once made compatible, bringing information regarding each landscape element to the projects to which it is related. Thereby, compatibility is effectively achieved, enabling data to be cross-checked, for example, trees with information on plumbing, insolation, and structure, thus being able to verify interferences of the size of crowns and roots with electrical wiring and plumbing pipes, or even to verify the efficiency of the plantation concerning the daily insolation that each species is receiving.
Researches on the subject are beginning to arise worldwide with greater interest. Lauren Schmidt, founder and author of landarchBIM.com, as well as lectures at events such as Autodesk University and other academic materials, are a reference in the global scene. In Brazil, progress is slower. Today we have the office Alexandre Furcolin Paisagismo as a pioneer in exploratory research and implementation of BIM in landscape architecture, working to achieve 100% of its projects on the platform by the end of 2019.
Research and development cannot cease. The use of Dynamo and Insight with Revit, among other software and platforms, is essential for the production of all plant species that the projects require and to achieve levels of excellence. Likewise, built-in Algorithms-Aided Design (AAD) tools like Marionette offer users of Vectorworks Landmark the ability to extend customization to site-specific tools and modeling beyond those offered within the software. The quest to advance the limits of knowledge on tools for the creation of an increasingly larger database for families, including, for example, the size of vegetation over time, the efficiency of each species in its placement, among other information, can contribute more and more integrally to smart and complete projects.
Originally published May 2019 on ArchDaily Brazil.