Computer Aided Drafting or CAD, is the old way of drafting and design. While Building Information Modeling, also known as BIM, is the new way. BIM is the latest in design technology and is becoming more of the industry standard, especially in the commercial world. But what is it? Here is your quick description and why it’s important to know.
CAD can be described as drafting in a computer. Lines represent the building’s floor plan, elevations, sections, and details. All drawings in CAD are separate and must be updated individually as the design progresses. BIM is best described as virtual construction. The idea is to create the building digitally from the ground up using a 3D model. Each drawing in BIM (floor plan, elevations, etc.) references a single building model. When a change is made to the BIM model, that change is then updated across all drawings instantly. This virtually eliminates design errors related to drawing inconsistencies. In addition to a 3D Model that offers clarity to the design, BIM is also a database for specifications and building products. Each element in the model can receive code references, testing references, model numbers and other important data. This data then becomes readily accessible with the click of a button to other designers in the office or the contractor in the field. BIM models are assembled by architects and engineers to get the design as close to reality as possible without building the actual building.
Why is this important? As the owner of a project you should have greater confidence in your design team if they are using BIM software. BIM is a powerful tool in allowing you, the client, to visualize the project long before it is built. Since the software is a database of information it allows for the removal of the unknowns and enables your contractor to bid the project more accurately.
Commercial or Residential this technology is standard in our office. We are always investing in new technology to better serve our clients and improve our designs. ArchiCAD offers us the BIM capability as well as the ability to share the models to our clients and eventually our construction colleagues in the field.