Architects produce drawings. Historically all of these drawings were created by hand. With the advent of computer aided drafting (CAD), this process was made much faster and easier, but the basic idea of making a drawing did not change. AutoCAD replaced pens and pencils, but the buildings architects designed still had to be described one 2D drawing at a time – plans, sections, and elevations. It is normal to digitally overlay one drawing over another, but fundamentally each drawing is an independent entity.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) changes the way that drawings are produced in a way that CAD doesn’t. We are still using a computer to create a set of 2D drawings, but the idea of a BIM project is that you model the building as it would actually be built in three dimensions, and, as much as possible, the program takes care of the drawings for you. Whereas a CAD project requires a lot of time thinking: “how should this be drawn?” an ideal BIM project only requires asking: “how should this be built?”
In reality of course, we still take time trying to get our drawings to read correctly (and look good!). However, the move from a CAD design process to one using BIM greatly reduces the amount of time spent thinking about drawings, and greatly increases the amount of time working though how your building will actually come together in real life.
We use a program, Revit, which is one of many pieces of BIM software available. BIM is an emerging field that goes beyond building design into facility and energy management and even into construction scheduling on large projects. But using BIM provides great benefits to the design of single family residences and even partial remodels. Below are a few of the ways that Revit and BIM add value to our process: