Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the 21st century way of envisioning the success of an architectural project – before it gets underway. “If a building is worth building, it’s worth building twice,” they say. Once digitally, and thereafter as the intended project.
Whereas in the past, architects and designers may only have had the chance to see the practical implementations of their design considerations on the ground – at the building site – they can now see the lifelike effects of their design implementations in the form of live-functioning models.
Conventional architectural design programs like CAD software served the purpose of architects and those involved in the design of the project to model the look of the building. Now, BIM comes in as the natural evolution to that – in an ever more sustainability-focused industry – as a way of modeling the functioning of the building.
What Are the Advantages of Using BIM?
Why would a building be worth building twice, you ask? Good question. There are many advantages to using BIM as a practical design implementation in building projects, and they mainly center around the use of BIM as a collaborative tool in some of the key design phases of the project.
Conventionally, there would have been a massive amount of design considerations and specifications applicable to the project that would only have been referred to in a huge file on someone’s desk. Now, BIM allows all the important guidelines and specifications – not only of the structural elements of the building, but of the building’s systems and processes too – to be modelled into the structural design of the building in a way that allows the design team to see how the building is going to function in real life.
They can then take this model and show it to the clients and others involved in the project as an essential open-source element of streamlined process and design integration. The more expertise in specification application for a specific project, the more likely it is to be effective.
This is hugely powerful for sustainable design in that it allows engineers and architects to change the design elements of the building until it suits how they want the building to function. This is a massive step towards effective green building design in that it allows engineers not only to calculate the specifications of green building systems that they need to implement, but to view the effects of their decisions in a real-time model. Systems and processes can then be changed and improved in the design phase of the building lifecycle – making for more effective green design implementation once that element is put into place in the actual building.
How Do Radiant Cooling Solutions Benefit from BIM?
Radiant cooling is just one example of a green design consideration that can be more effectively implemented using BIM. For instance, designers can model their radiant cooling system based on existing calculations and specifications, and then change those elements to suit a particular outcome that they have identified for the project. In the case of green building design, this is particularly useful in that the goal has been predetermined (usually along a particular certification or Zero Net Energy guideline) and so the system can then be modelled with live results according to that particular outcome.
BIM is a powerful architectural and engineering tool for the construction industry in that it makes for streamlined and effective goal setting around projected time, cost and energy efficiency. These are all important elements of 21st-century building design and BIM looks set to be the tool of the future in bringing people together to achieve truly sustainable design.