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BIM – What It Is And Where It Came From

The operative word is “BIM”. This blog is about where it came from and what it is.

“BIM is an acronym for “Building Information Modeling” and one that you will have to become familiar with as it will soon be an important part of your association with Moderco. Let me provide some introductory information.

In order for an Architect to transform his client’s desires into fact and then into a structure, detailed drawings & specifications are prepared. Initially this involved “T” squares, triangles, rulers, draughting boards, protractors etc plus a great deal of time consuming laborious hands on work. Soon standards & conventions developed with hard copies preserved for incorporation into other structures. Tracing paper & copying machines came into use which permitted faster reproduction & transfer of common building elements from one project to another. Shared libraries of hard copy information became the norm. Then the computer (initially main frame and then PC’s) arrived which resulted in a major shift in how design & technical drawings were created, information accessed & stored. Manual draughting became obsolete & the possibilities of computer created design shapes dominated the Architect’s office. A new word – AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design as developed and sold by Autodesk Inc) – was born. With the development of the personal computer, rather than relying on mainframes, individual designers could install personal CAD programs and become independent & innovative but many times lacked the ability to interact with others working on the same project. Design conflicts were common. Support steel was left out. Duct work ran through wall systems etc. There had to be a better way.

Initially AutoCAD used basic entities such as lines, circles, arcs etc to construct a more complex object but the conflict between design disciplines remained. Then in the mid 1990’s AutoCAD started to support custom objects, solid models, 3D tools etc right up to today where extremely complex modeling is available for customization and specials.

Recently “BIM” or Building Information Modeling was developed. “BIM” has two basic concepts: model a project in 3D   (3 dimensional) reality rather than in a flat plane and provide this information just once in detail and very accurately in order to minimize problems. Building elements (operable walls for example) are not drawn into a project using “BIM”: they are “placed” as an object or complete assembly into the model. Conflicts with other designs and trades become obvious and are corrected prior to bidding & building. Most importantly however is the “I” in “BIM”. “I” represents information which is what BIM is designed to do: provide useful, error free, current “information” on the product being considered for use in the “building”. The whole story has to be told consistently & accurately. Moderco and its BIM partner are dedicated to doing just that.

Where do the “objects or assemblies” originate? Manufactures such as Moderco partner with a company to create BIM objects. Working together Moderco & its creative partner define products, assemblies, components etc. to determine what attributes & parameters are essential in a BIM object or assembly. This is most important as Architects need to be assured that the data they are using and relying upon is accurate. Inserting a faulty object is self defeating, costly and will only result in the Architect not using that supplier on future projects. Moderco has partnered with such a firm. As a result we and you can be assured that the highest standards have been met and will be maintained.

Once the library of BIM “objects” has been created the information is distributed to the Architect’s desktops via our Partner’s library and other programs. The Architect can then access via his personal desktop, Moderco objects for insertion into his project. Together Moderco and its BIM partner maintain the accuracy & relevancy of all objects and attached information in order to provide organized useful data as well as continue to contact Architect’s to find out what they need.

Conventional plans consisting of elevations & sections in 2D (two dimensional) with which we are familiar are automatically generated from the 3D BIM model permitting visual plans to be viewed. But the 3D “BIM” model is the basis of the design so if you change the model the conventional plans & elevations are automatically updated accordingly. The Architect can visualize how the building will work. How all of the individual components will interact. The geometry of the structure along with quantities and properties.

In summary, no longer does an Architect “draw” building elements such as operable walls: you “place” the assembly (track, panels, pocket doors, accessories etc.) into the location in the building model. Once in place in the model because the operable wall “assembly” has technical data such as weight, panel sizes, seals, acoustics etc associated with it, a complementary specification can be quickly composed.

There is much more to come on this topic. This blog is intended to be a limited overview as to what BIM is and how it functions. Moderco & it’s BIM partner will be providing additional information very soon as to the relevancy of BIM to our mutual business potential and success in addition to conducting a training Webinair.

BIM objects are now available from Moderco and soon will be available on our web site. Until then Moderco BIM objects can be found & downloaded by clicking on the link below:

If you have any questions please call.

More to come on this topic.