The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries have realized the benefits of moving from CAD solutions to the more advanced, more capable Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions that are now available on the market. Today, BIM is becoming increasing relied upon for any number of construction projects, from university buildings, to hospitals, to military bases, and even government infrastructure projects.
However, despite the benefits and increased capabilities of BIM solutions, there are many government entities that are still reticent about making the switch from CAD. On May 16th, a webinar sponsored by IMAGINiT made the case for why it’s high time to make that switch by highlighting the specific benefits that BIM has over CAD when it comes to building design.
Joe Eichenseer, who presented the webinar alongside Lynn Allen, recently sat down with us to go over what government users specifically can expect to learn about BIM from their presentation.
Here is what he had to say:
GovDesignHub (GDH): What is BIM and how is it different from CAD? What does BIM deliver to users that they couldn’t get with CAD?
Joe Eichenseer: The primary difference between BIM and CAD is embedded in the names these acronyms stand for. Computer Aided Drafting vs Building Information Model. CAD allows you to generate precise 2D and sometimes 3D drawings of virtually anything – maps of the solar system, microprocessors, and anything in between.
BIM is a tool and process by which you develop a virtual model of a building, which can then be used for analysis, simulation, and construction documentation. While you can do just about any type of drafting and documentation with CAD, BIM is focused on buildings and is a better tool and process for you if you are also focused on buildings.
GDH: What are the government use cases for BIM? How could – say – a local or municipal government utilize BIM solutions?
Joe Eichenseer: For the government, the usefulness of BIM is most frequently rooted in the “I” of BIM – the information that can be embedded and utilized within a model. The graphic information can be used to have a better understanding of the three-dimensional space that is a building, including things like equipment clearances, accessibility issues, visual access and visual blinds, or even something as simple as square footage.
The non-graphic information can be used to evaluate buildings for energy analysis (will this retrofit really make the building more efficient?), can be used to integrate with Facility Management and Integrated Workplace Management tools, storing and querying on assets within a building, and more. The key to unlocking the Information in BIM is to take the time to plan out and know what data will allow you to manage your buildings and construction projects better, and then focusing your efforts on creating a BIM that helps meet those needs.
GDH: What about federal government agencies? Defense organizations? How could they utilize BIM?
Joe Eichenseer: Similar to any other government or owner organization, the utility of BIM is all in the data that you collect, simulate, analyze, and report on within a Building Model or any other software that can read BIM data from the model.
GDH: Based on the topic of your webinar, it sounds like government organizations have been slow in embracing BIM solutions. Why are they reticent to switch from BIM to CAD, despite the benefits?
Joe Eichenseer: The more significant issues tend to revolve around a resistance to requiring or specifying means and methods of designing and constructing buildings and the potential pitfalls of those requirements, and interoperability with other capital projects or facilities management systems. However, both of these concerns are diminishing over time as software becomes more interconnected and requiring BIM is not a unique and bleeding edge application of technology any more. It is generally accepted that it is not an undue burden on service providers to produce and work in a BIM workflow.
GDH: What can viewers learn from the webinar? Why do you think they’ll come out of the webinar excited to make the jump from CAD to BIM? Why are you and Lynn the right people to teach this?
Joe Eichenseer: It’s all about understanding the potential benefits and potential pitfalls of working in a new environment – working in BIM. With this understanding, you can identify and resolve the potential barriers to greater efficiency and cost/time savings and be confident in the direction you are taking in the application of technology. Lynn and I have been working with BIM technology for decades and bring the knowledge, insight, and excitement needed to engage in this transition.
To watch a recording of Lynn and Joe’s webinar and hear what else they had to share, click here.