A look at BIM technology and its applications


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Ben Aspen

Written By Benjamin Tabolt
President, CDG Project Studio

What is BIM?

 Building Information Modeling

 Definition -     A process involving the generation and management of digital representations of PHYSICAL and FUNCTIONAL characteristics of places. - Wikipedia

The 3D Application

The 3D application is the most common form of BIM technology. Many people use the term BIM simply to describe their 3D modeling process. This process provides a real time review and adjustment of 3D elements created in a software environment. The 3D application describes the physical attributes of a model including....

  • The 3D data and options contained within an element
  • The way the element displays in multiple views and applications
  • The way the project team understands the building project


Contemporary Visualization

The success of 3D design relies on the individual's ability to change their thought process when it comes to the creation of a model verses the development of a set of drawings using a 2D application. We are no longer drawing plans, we are now virtually constructing the building. This becomes one of the more challenging aspects of BIM, however when the designer can truly grasp this concept, the result is a more successful project as many construction related questions are now addressed and resolved during the design phase resulting in fewer issues during the construction phase.

douglass fp - entry
Do not think of the project as a series of drawings any longer

douglass 3D - entry
Build the building!


The "I" in BIM - Parameters

Parameters allow the designer to take the 3D model a step further by allowing additional information to be added to elements and eventually scheduled within the project. This information may include dimensions related to physical space (width, height, depth, area, volume etc.), phasing, thermal data, material properties, cost data, geographical data, code information etc.


This additional information can already exist within the element or it can be user created to meet specific client or office needs. This allows for customization of standards specific to the company generating the model, or for the client who may require specific information to be added to the model. ex. regulatory agencies, contractors, govt. agencies etc.

3d trusses

Truss design from MiTek software added into Revit model

Integration of BIM with other Trades

Revit is reaching out to other companies to provide a standard platform to allow 3D data from other programs to be transferred and integrated into Revit models to allow for complete project collaboration. In many cases, if it is designed in 3D, it can be converted and added into Revit. This in turn increases the project's accuracy and efficiency.

3d kitchen

Kitchen design from 2020 added to Revit model

Benefits of BIM over 2D design

  • Proper coordination between drawings increasing the quality of the product. The fact that we are now viewing a model in lieu of reviewing multiple line drawings, in many cases removes discrepancies between the documents. When an element is adjusted, all views displaying that element update simultaneously.
  • Increased efficiency when client changes are requested. We are adjusting a model now, not a set of individual drawings which allows the model to be updated much more quickly and the drawings displaying that model adjust accordingly.
  • Enhanced visualization of the project. We now have the ability to view, walk around and make adjustments to the project in the 3rd dimension. Now the entire team, client, designer, and contractor can view and make decisions regarding the project more effectively.
  • Data can now be quantified. We can now estimate more efficiently, energy model the project, look at day lighting options etc. this provides additional services and options to the client.
  • When BIM design is performed properly, the end result is a higher quality design.

BIM can be catered to the individuals you are working with

  • Clients - Increases their ability to envision the project. Also cost changes can be communicated more effectively.
  • Contractors - Better coordination between drawings decreasing field issues. Costing data is an option as well as phasing for clarity in the field.
  • Designers - BIM can be catered to meet specific office needs. This allows for complete customization to increase efficiency without sacrificing quality of design.