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The true power of BIM

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Not long ago the process of creating an appealing rendered image started with basic 2D plans, that were imported into a modeling computer program, then materials and lighting were applied from a pre-made or bought library, and finally, a rendering add-on was used to create a final image. But as the CAD further developed it morphed from 2D drawing blocks with attributes into smart 3D drawing blocks. These include all sorts of material, appearance, physics, and other useful data. New technology was soon adopted by many architects, as it ment the middle-man was no longer needed, in this case, modeling software. With a brief project setting at start, you could go from the source 2D drawings straight to the rendering phase. Wonderful!

Project brief foresaw the removal of some load-bearing walls to create open space...”

What about all the useful data and interdisciplinary cooperation during the design phases, that include structural, mechanical and electrical engineers? Well, all of the visual assets and fast design process of a building model suit architects quite well, but other participating experts do not use this sort of approach for simple residential buildings. How useful is #BIM technology then, besides the lovely looking rendered image?

Architectural rendering, visualization, lighting
Contemporary minimalist bathroom

The featured project is a continuation of the Prime House Revival post. The contract included the layout concept, basic visualizations and a material take-off with the purpose of gathering a couple of offers and picking a final contractor. Project brief foresaw the removal of some load-bearing walls to create open space for living and dining on the ground floor and clearing the entire attic area for a new bedroom layout. That, together with a few new window openings, could be considered a substantial intervention for such a house.

This is where the true power of BIM comes into play. Features such as differentiating between structural and architectural elements, dividing them by separate phases, meticulously defining wall layers and assigning appropriate materials come truly useful at the end of a project when schedules are made. Lists of materials can be filtered by phases and sorted by type. Traditional plans are not the only graphical way of displaying demolished walls and filled voids - the axonometric projection shows every new wall with precise dimensions, while walls in the attic are shown with top angles and positioning.

Dining area visualization, arhitectural rendering
Georgeous modern dining area

The renovation involves the replacement of the entire electrical wiring, plumbing, windows, stairs, and floors. Although the amount of data at projects this extensive is a lot to assemble and arrange on your own, using BIM and being precise from the beginning of the project does make this task notably faster, precise, and is a considerably more pleasant way of gathering required figures. Besides the building information, the result is also the elaborated 3D model, which is used to communicate with investors and prepare the promotional material.

Warm-soft lighting for cozy evenings

Visualizations on this page were done by importing the main model into a separate program with renderer add-on. Programs that handle BIM natively are specialized for data processing and gathering, while furniture modeling is best done in other software. Combining tools is still the best practice, and we all know what the downside is of a program that is Jack of all trades - it is master of none.

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