BIM is everywhere. So far my only exposure to BIM is through Revit and I have to say that my experience has been bitter-sweet. I'm impressed by it's 'holistic' approach that forces you to think in 3D, impressed by the way it manages drawings and schedules and callouts and everything that used to take a lot of valuable time especially in the final stages of production. What I don't like about BIM/Revit so far is the distraction it creates in terms of technology- in the pursuit of creating a perfect model people lose focus on the final product. If I'm delivering a BIM model as a construction/PM tool then maybe its fine but we still require a set of printed construction documents at least for bidding/pricing if not for construction. At times you have to 'save' an architect from the model on time to focus on detailing and a printable set of drawings. BIM is also front loaded. CAD doesn't take much effort for a schematic design package but BIM takes some effort initially. it can be tricky sometimes for putting together a fee proposal.
I think BIM is the way of the future but either it needs some cleaning up or I need a new approach. I'll be interested to know what you guys think.

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Though this may sound like I'm tooting my own horn... well the world's first BIM software was written by me way back in 1989. It was called "The Designer" then I incorporated it into a larger software called "The Architect's Desktop" (TAD) I did not invent the word "BIM" I used to call my software the world's first object-oriented architectural design software, but whatever the nomenclature BIM or Object-Oriented design ... that is what it is. Architectural designing ought to be done in some a manner that it should cater to both the geometric as well as non-geometric aspects of design and that too at all its phases. TAD is far from complete and the designing component is also a 'lite' version. Read more here http://tad.sabufrancis.com

TAD has helped my practice for a long time and I hope to do a lot of work on it and scale it up even more. Expect to read a lot more about it on these forums and other places.
I agree with most of what Vishal has to say about BIM, but i guess that the part that u missed is the bigger picture; about Building Information Modelling and the capabilities that are built into this technology to aid architects, so that they can take their designs to the next level. The next level of Architectural Design to me is being able to simulate the building before it is bulit and make smarter decisions at a much earlier phase, which definitely costs much less (Architectural fees is only 5% whereas constructions costs are 95%). Also, it makes it possible for analyzing the design in relation to energy efficiency, daylighting, views and just the shear ability to visualize your design with all the components (structure, MEP, etc) in place. I guess what i am trying to say here is that in essence we are providing a bigger/better service to the client as an architect compared to the traditional 2D architectural drawings which have always been inefficient to work with and build from. There is no denying of the fact that u need to be focussed on what needs to be put together for a good set of CDs and so u cannot be too specific about how your model actually LOOKS. I think Revit has really good capabilites built in for creating sheets which is far more efficient and managable than in the CAD world. I haven't lost too much sleep about references ever since i have started using Revit.

There are third party contractors out there who take the BIM models from Architects and rebuild them to make it suitable for construction phasing, 4D and estimating. What is more interesting is; there are technologies which have parameters built in to them (like place of construction, time, scheduling, costs) which can show u how a minor change in any decision effects all the other parameters. So i do not think it would be such a bad idea to build the model "RIGHT" for construction (and not looks) upfront so that there is no need for a third party modeller.

As far as Project Managment is concerned, we do need to change the way Architectural contracts are done in this country (US) as the architects have very little fees and all the liability in the world. Afterall, we have been reduced to an hourly drafting service which in essence. has no value. I wouldnt call BIM more front loaded as i think the CAD schematic design process was more of a "not-so-well-thought" design package which looks complete, where the rest of the slack was picked up during the DDs and the CDs. What BIM does is, it forces you to think right upfront.

From my experience working with BIM, i beleive that the final product delivered to the client has been one with a higher quality and in return generates more value for the profession. I don't know how many of us have heard about the process called IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) which is the main reason why BIM is the next gen technology. I should probably hold that for discussion for another time.

Lastly, i think by cleanup in BIM u mean Revit (which by the way is only one of the tools out there). From my understanding and exposure to the user group meetings, Autodesk in investing heavily in making it better and i have seen some of those changes being incorporated in the Revit Architecture 2010 version. I hope we have a healthy discussion on this topic and by writing this humungous message i have not discouraged anyone from sharing their thoughts.

Happy BIMming,
Vamsi
BIM as a concept is excellent. And we should use it only after the schematic design is over.

But what was thrown for polls as a practical tool - Revit did not bring any cheers to architects round the globe. Autodesk was in a haste and the product was immature. There are good things to come in the future for architects and non-architects alike.

I would really like to see the 4D Family - 3D of Visualisation combined with time. Project management done real time. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.
I would really like to link my built product with the software. Sensors would tell me, which part of the building needs repair. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.
I would really like to have suggestions from a BIM software - probably a heuristic algorithm which tracks all the models being built in the world tagged as success and creates an intelligence of its own to give suggestions. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.

Well otherwise, for making sheets, it is just as good for maintaining layouts and keeping references neatly. :) I want more. Probably it is already done and I don't know about it. Quite possible.
Himadri Mayank said:
I would really like to see the 4D Family - 3D of Visualisation combined with time. Project management done real time. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.
I would really like to link my built product with the software. Sensors would tell me, which part of the building needs repair. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.

I believe it's possible to link a model to the Building management system and that is what we are going to try on a project to be built in Mumbai. The Revit model will have all the Architectural, Structural and MEP information and will be integrated with the BMS
Good!

Abhishek Kumar said:
Himadri Mayank said:
I would really like to see the 4D Family - 3D of Visualisation combined with time. Project management done real time. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.
I would really like to link my built product with the software. Sensors would tell me, which part of the building needs repair. Then it would make sense to go to BIM.

I believe it's possible to link a model to the Building management system and that is what we are going to try on a project to be built in Mumbai. The Revit model will have all the Architectural, Structural and MEP information and will be integrated with the BMS
I think Revit and BIM technology are actually great for schematic design. It's well suited for massing studies and so on... As far as being "front-heavy," you can be as detailed or generic as you'd like. That's part of the beauty of a tool like Revit. You can create a wall or some kind of conceptual mass, and you can refine it at any time, adding detail. You can delete elements, add elements, switch them for others, on the fly... so nothing is ever "set in stone." The flexibility it lends to design is tremendous.

Although Revit has been around for about a decade now, it is still a bit young. And let's not forget that Autodesk has been playing with the platform for only about 6-7 of those years. There was a steep learning curve they've had to overcome to get to the point we're at now. The 2010 release is dramatically different from its predecessors, both in functional depth and appearance. Give them some time. How long has AutoCAD been around? Is it "perfect" yet?

I agree that BIM will allow us to take design "to the next level." Architecture is more than aesthetics and planned function. BIM may not necessarily allow us to plan for all uses, intentional or accidental, but it definitely helps us assess our designs in an operational and environmental manner and scale that has never before been so accessible. That's not to say that our analysis tools are all that advanced or accurate, as they too are still relatively young, but it's a whole new world and a very exciting time to be a designer.

4D, 5D and beyond is also closer than one may think. I encourage those who haven't looked into Navisworks to catch a demo of the product. It allows designers from just about any platform and discipline to compare their models and run clash detections, beyond other functions. And with the 2010 release, there is additional interoperability and integration with planning software packages such as MS Office and Primavera that is taking our designs through virtual simulations with unprecedented ease.

BIM, as a concept, simply makes sense. The status quo of yore [2D CAD drafting]... was just accepted practice that "got the job done." To be fair to our forefathers, they didn't have quad-core processors and 2GBs of video RAM to run 64bit applications that allow us to do what we can do today. That's not to say that we're "there" just yet (as that day may never come), but thanks to technological advancements, a new day has indeed arrived. Will a computer ever replace good design practice and the sound judgement of a true professional? No. But as a tool, technology helps us push the limits of our own imagination in ways that were never before possible. Bask in the possibilities, and try not to get lost in all the mundane logistics of being a designer. Tools like Revit help us remember why we wanted to be designers in the first place... Salut, B

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