Government design professionals need to accept the reality that it’s time to start migrating from their CAD solutions to Building Information Modeling (BIM).
As we heard from Jose Covarrubias, the BIM/CAD Manager at the Tampa International Airport, the public sector has already made the move to BIM. Meaning that the architects, designers and other professionals that do business with the government are already operating on the latest technologies.
But keeping up with vendors is just one of the reasons why federal, state, and local governments should be making the jump to BIM. These advanced BIM solutions make it possible to document and track more information about the project – whether that’s a school building, airport or military base. They also make information easier to update and share among stakeholders.
This was why the move from CAD to BIM was such a hot topic at DLT Solutions’s Digital Design Symposium in Washington, DC.
During her keynote speech, technology evangelist Lynn Allen discussed numerous examples of the power of BIM from around the world, including the vast network of energy use sensors in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and Chicago’s massive pipe mapping effort. Both of these illustrate the wide range of information that modern design files can encompass.
Allen also noted that these sorts of efforts are part of the global move towards smart cities and a desire to deliver more efficiency and a better quality of life for facility and infrastructure users. “You can’t be smart without BIM” she told the audience of government designers and facilities and infrastructure managers.
And other presenters at the symposium, including TJ Meehan of CADD Microsystems, made it clear that transitioning to BIM doesn’t need to be an onerous process and detailing a number of “low-hanging fruit” to be had with basic BIM modeling.
Reinforcing the point, Galen Hoeflinger, a Manager and BIM Technologist for SmithGroup told the audience that Phase 1 of SSA’s BIM implementation “started very simply.” He and his team asked SSA for all of their as-builts, and they started combining all of these separate design documents from years of renovations into a current, unified model.
That alone, he stressed, “is a worthwhile initiative,” because just organizing all of that data and keeping track of the effect of multiple renovations and facility changes can be a daunting and time consuming process.
All of the speakers went beyond these first steps of BIM implementation and showed the power of fully utilizing BIM. Whether that means utilizing the incredible detail of LiDAR scanning, mapping a facility down to its ducts, piping and wiring, or integrating drone surveys and GIS data, BIM can give the user as comprehensive a picture of their project as they need.
The Digital Design Symposium makes clear that BIM is the future of digital design in the AEC lifecycle. Luckily for government design professionals, they can make use of what DLT’s Kirk Fisher called a “three-legged stool” for support. Autodesk, resellers like CADD Microsystems and partners such as DLT are all available to facilitate the process.