Five Benefits of the BIM Process

BIM---Consultant-Coordination

Embracing Building Information Modeling proves advantageous for CMA and our clients

At CMA, our commitment to our client is to stay current with the latest trends in the design, building code, and construction industries. We started using BIM nearly ten years ago, and today this process is utilized on nearly every project we undertake.

BIM, or Building Information Modeling, moves the design and construction of buildings beyond the 2D and even 3D CAD drawings of yesterday. It is not a technology, but is an intelligent, model-based process. Architects, engineers, and contractors – anyone working on a project – can use one of several different types of software (Autodesk Revit, Vectorworks Architect, or Graphisoft Archicad, to name a few) to create a smart model – a model using objects that have intelligence, geometry, and data.

A Fully Combined, Intelligent Building Model

The owner of the project (most often the architect), ensures that all the information resides within one fully combined, intelligent building model. With all the information in one model, the actual power and benefits of BIM start to become clear:

1.  Higher Level of Customization and Flexibility

The BIM process offers a level of flexibility previously unknown in building design. Architects are able to customize the design and documentation processes fluidly in response to changing client requirements. As such, architecture around the world has become more complex since the introduction of BIM.

As the process continues to evolve, standards are essential. The AIA has put out documents on the level of detail required. In Utah, the Division of Facilities Construction & Management (DFCM) sets the standards for certain architecture and building processes, such as the BIM legal standards. CMA Principal Jay Taggart sat on the board to help create these standards, and helped create CMA’s internal standards.

2.  Improved Construction Document Accuracy and Turn-Around Time

Traditionally, increased complexity could mean a loss of translation in the construction documents. With BIM, this is not the case. BIM has enabled architects to design more complex projects without sacrificing the quality of construction documents. This is because when a model element is changed, the software coordinates the change in all views that display that element –they are all views of the same underlying information. Since all project team members work on the same building information model, knowledge transfer is streamlined. This leads to improved accuracy and reduced rework.

BIM - Consultant Coordination

3.  Superior Coordination and Collaboration

With one fully integrated model, all team members can work more collaboratively, accessing and updating the design. The information is captured in the model and remains consistent and coordinated.

Christina Perry, CMA Interior Specialist, uses BIM for all her interior projects. “If we spend the time to model it in 3D, the whole process goes more smoothly. Not just getting the construction documents out, but also constructing the building.” She continues, “With interiors, we need to show the detail. Our clients need to know how their guests will experience their reception area, or how their employees will experience a lounge space.”

UVU Autism Center Lobby

4.  Reduced Conflicts and Changes During Construction

On average, about 30% of construction is rework. With everything combined in 3D in the model, the team can see if there are any conflicts while working in the model, and coordinate to resolve issues.

BIM - Itemized report, Clash Detection

There are dedicated Clash Detection scans that can be run to report all conflicts in the model. Team members can coordinate and fix the problem, which saves time and money during construction!

5.  Better Visualization

Using BIM helps to convey design intent and scale. Owners can see and experience what they’re really getting, and can therefore make decisions more easily. Contractors can obtain a clear understanding of what they are building.

“If you are modeling, it has to be at a certain level of detail so that the contractor understands the intent,” states Jay. “What the architect intends needs to be built, and BIM helps make it very clear. On our Creekside Senior Living project, we used VR to help make a construction decision. We were able to look at the project, show the client and the contractor the opportunity for change, and ultimately we gained them some additional space.”

Creekside Senior Living Center

Creekside Senior Living Center gained additional space due to CMA’s use of VR

CMA uses 3D software such as Revit and SketchUp to quickly create 3D perspectives to better inform the contractor of design intent. CMA standard is to use a 3D image on the cover sheet of their plans, and often they will include sheets of 3D perspectives within the plans in order to better convey the design.

Another tool CMA uses is virtual reality (VR) [http://www.cmautah.com/the-benefits-of-virtual-reality-in-architecture/].

“Clients get very excited about 3D,” Jay reveals. “We showed our client for the UVU Autism Center a rendering, and she was blown away. Then we showed her a video and it was even better. There may have been tears of joy.”

UVU Autism Center Classroom Rendering

The UVU Autism Center renderings produced tears of joy from the client

BIM at CMA

CMA has been on the leading edge of BIM since the beginning. We house an entire team of professionals dedicated to staying up to date on all the latest BIM practices, and we enjoy sharing our expertise through presentations and training. We are confident in our ability to utilize BIM in the most challenging situations, and deliver timely, cost-effective, and exceptional designs to our clients.