Are Architects Failing to See the BIM Potential?

bim building structure

The use of BIM and other such 3D modeling software boomed in sectors of the construction and design industry.

While these digital tools have been primarily used in the construction sector, 3D modeling software is often cited as transforming everything from architecture to engineering, interior design and most recently, green building efforts.

In the design sector, however, and in architecture in particular, the use of BIM as a design tool is often cause for some debate. The conversation centres on creative intent and the possibility of this being lost in the technological transfer.

With the very tactile nature of traditional architectural planning – from sketching to molding and other such practices – many have questioned whether BIM actually suppresses these creative developmental processes. Some argue the opposite point: that those who fail to adopt these technologies are failing to help the industry move forward.

According to Fergus Dunn of Bentley Systems Industry Solutions, while ‘use of the technology can be abused’, it is still a nearly vital component of modern architecture.

“You’re not losing any of your design thoughts – it needs to be part of that process,” says Dunn. “It has to be inclusive, the process from a design point of view needs to allow for that kind of creativity to drive that.”

drawing blueprint

In fact, instead of hampering the creative process, Dunn says the programming can further nurture creativity, allowing for a smoother design process.

“We have ability to test designs, have the ability to simulate the performance of the building and truly capture design intent, but also analyze information, and test performance,” he says.

Bentley has invested more than $1 billion into research and development and is leading industry education into the potential of software through seminar programs like the current ‘Building Success With AECOsim.’

For the architecture sector alone, the use of BIM can vastly improve overall timeframe and budget efficiencies, improve both client-focused and interdisciplinary collaboration and communication efforts and simply offer designers a chance to test their designs using real-time simulations.

Dunn, however, fears industry members may be missing the boat. With the release of the company’s BIM 2.0, technologies may be surpassing professionals before they have a strong understanding the potential these tools offer.

With building performance taking on unprecedented levels of importance due to the green building boom, those who fail to understand the importance of progressive tools such as BIM may fail to maintain a competitive edge in a modern industry.

By Emily D’Alterio

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