How We use BIM

Architectural plans can be somewhat confusing to the untrained eye. We often find that clients find it difficult to take the leap from a plan on paper to a three dimensional space. All our projects are prepared as three dimensional models on a computer. We’ve been using computer software to work up projects for over 25 years. We started with some French software – Architrion – back in the early 1990’s, which allowed one to design and model in simple 3D. We then migrated to Archicad which has evolved into a very effective building information modelling (BIM) software.

Demolitions and Alterations

It takes a little longer to set up a project but once a model of the existing building has been prepared, demolitions and new work can be easily shown separately. We can output the information in a traditional two dimension plan or elevation. Using the model, we can prepare renderings or sketch images allowing the client to see the building in its context. Alterations can be shown either separately or overlaid on the existing layouts.

A walk in shower room with marble tiling modelled using BIM software

A walk in shower room with marble tiling

The model of the building will contain several layers of information which can be extracted depending on what is required. For example a wall might be shown with a simple background fill on a planning drawing. On the more detailed submission for building regulations the same wall can be displayed with its various structural components shown. Thermal calculations can be carried out on the same wall as the required information is stored with the wall within the model. As work progresses, changes can be made to a single item in the model which will be automatically update throughout the project ensuring that information is current and accurate. This avoids unnecessary costs and improves management and control on the project.

A view taken from a BIM model showing a kitchen interior

View taken from BIM model showing a kitchen interior

Exposed rafters to kitchen

The finished kitchen to compare with the BIM model

BIMx App

Archicad has developed an app (BIMx) which allows a client or builder to see the plans on their tablet (iPad or Android) or mobile. A client can download the plans onto their tablet. With a simple touch the plan transforms from a two dimensional plan into a three dimensional model. It’s then possible to navigate right around the building, checking colours, materials, finishes etc. before any construction has taken place. Strange dashed lines on plan become an overhead beam in 3D, and it’s much easier to grasp what is proposed. Specifications and schedules can also be accessed so that all the information is in effect live and available at all times, avoiding any issues with outdated drawings.

Working in 3D

A further advantage of modelling the building is that the third dimension (in effect showing the relative heights of construction elements) often highlights structural issues which might go unnoticed at an early stage in the plans. This contributes to time and cost savings as work progresses on site. Materials and construction elements shown in the BIM model can contain several layers of detailed information which can be accessed by contractors, consultants and client.