In the A/E world there are a lot of firms that say “We do BIM,” but what does that really mean? My definition of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is the virtual construction of the building by the architects and engineers working on the project. A total BIM will contain all building components from the foundations and structure, to the walls and windows, to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. If any architecture firm is producing a BIM but their engineering firms aren’t, that’s not a BIM; its eye candy.
BIM and Engineering
This virtual construction of the engineering systems takes additional effort from the engineers but less from the architects, which means compensation must be adjusted accordingly. I wonder if architecture firms are OK with giving up income in order to compensate their engineering consultants, or if they just charge their clients more? Fortunately, that’s not an issue for Luckett & Farley since we have all of the disciplines in house.
The benefits of a BIM aren’t just seen during the design phase. A complete BIM allows the model to move forward in the construction process and become a data rich history of what was constructed. Here’s a link to an article that contains a video that Disney issued showing a good example of a BIM.
I think it’s pretty cool that our architects and engineers have been working at the same level as Disney Imagineers. Now if I can just get my next client to build a castle…