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24 February 2022
Shalini John

How BIM Addresses Design Challenges for Architects

Architects bring visions to life, and a significant portion of that process is the architectural design itself. Over the years, the architectural design process has transformed. What seems to have become an inevitable imperative is the use of information and data-rich models, such as those created in architectural BIM modelling, to communicate design intent, assess performance and cost implications and incorporate design changes in the initial stages of the design process.

While the way you design, collaborate, communicate and deliver projects may have changed based on industry demands, the introduction of new software such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools not only helps address real-world design challenges they also enhance the design development process using 3D BIM modelling and architectural CAD outsourcing services.

The initial stages of the design process are crucial.
  • Design decisions such as orientation, aspect ratio and conceptual level, have an impact on building performance.
  • The effect of your design decisions diminishes as the project matures, making the early design stages critical.
  • BIM helps in assessing early design decisions which can have an important impact on building performance.
  • By using BIM strategically and understanding the challenges involved in adoption, you can quantify qualitative design decisions.
How BIM Addresses Design Challenges for Architects

When using BIM, architects must realise the potential of BIM beyond its function as a 3D BIM modelling tool to create construction documents. BIM modeling helps to create data-rich 3D models which provide users with an opportunity to make better design decisions and improve building performance. To capitalise on the strengths of a tool such as BIM, one must clearly understand what it is and what it is not and how it can be utilised strategically.

  • It is more than a documenting tool – BIM is not only a tool that optimises CAD inefficiencies and creates 3D geometry or sketch models. It helps create 3D models that are layered with data, which can be used to make better design decisions.
  • It is a tool that can be shared with other disciplines, removing the software interoperability issues of using different software across various disciplines.
  • Considering BIM only as a documentation tool to create production and construction documents (CDs) limits the potential of the tool.
  • In the early phases of the project lifecycle, such as pre-design, schematic design and design development, where architects spend most of their time, using BIM extensively would help in building robust models from which drawings and other data can be extracted.
  • It is as detail oriented as the governing LOD (level of detail) protocols – Models and parts of a BIM model can have varying levels of granularity.

There can be several LOD levels for different components or parts in the same model. By agreeing upon certain protocols at each level of the design development stage, various components of the BIM model can be developed, used and exchanged for different project stakeholders.

It helps to create data-rich building models, which are beneficial in the following ways:
  • Aside from physical design characteristics, BIM models provide information on the usage of spaces through semantic models which are graphical representations of the components of a building model element.
  • It is a myth that BIM models are not detail oriented.
  • Details developed in 3D BIM models can highlight improvements early in the design process.

It can be used by designers with or without experience, as creating 3D BIM models is a step up from 2D CAD drafting.

  • While experienced designers may be able to give you a data-rich model that could assist your design decisions, designers with fundamental experience and skill in designing and modeling in 3D can work on BIM models as well.
  • There is an initial cost of training.
  • However, as designers learn on the job, the benefits 3D BIM modeling tools will justify the investment.
It solves design problems.
  • During the design concept and development stage, by using 3D BIM tools, changes and calculations can be done directly from the model and updated in real time.
  • As worksheets are dynamically linked and updated, the impact of design decisions can be viewed and improvements can be made in real time.
There is data that is inherent and attached to objects, such as:
  • Data on the location
  • Area (surface, projected)
  • Volume
  • User-defined and default data, eg. software and building component libraries

Using this information and tools such as BIM, data-rich models can be created to provide information on the usage of spaces, apart from physical design characteristics.

When adopting architectural BIM modelling as a course of design, large architectural firms must transform from single discipline to multi-disciplinary, contractor-led, risk tolerant firms, and small architectural firms must become responsive and agile. By availing of BIM modelling services, quantitative implications of various design options, using 3D BIM modelling, can be assessed to make improved design decisions. Harvest the information intelligently and strategically using the ‘I’ in BIM.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing CAD services and architectural BIM modelling services for global firms and building owners.  Our range of services for architectural firms across the world include architectural design services, architectural drafting, 3D BIM modelling, 3D CAD modelling, 3D rendering and walk-throughs.  We create these models, drawings and Revit 3D BIM modelling services by using Revit, AutoCAD and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.