BIM is a concept that defines the process of digitalisation and collaboration in the construction industry using the latest technologies available. It has a positive impact on the sustainability and quality of a construction project.
BIM is not only used by designers, architects and engineers, but also by construction and facility managers. Owners have the most to gain from using BIM, as implementing usually results in smaller cost overall.
Typically BIM projects involve multiple disciplines and multiple organizations that exchange 3D models (usually .ifc’s) to easily and more precisely communicate project information through various phases. Team members use central BIM models hosted on servers which facilitates working from remote locations and also reduces errors by working together on the same model, at the same time.
The appointed design team, contractors, manufacturers and installers all working collaboratively means designs, issues, priorities and construction methods are all agreed upon in the initial stages and fully understood by all parties through a common data environment.
Architectural visualization helps the client to grasp all the information about the project more quickly so that he can compare it with his own idea and initial requirements and give feedback. Architectural visualization became even more attractive with the fast development of real-time render tools. Real-time render tools of today come in handy especially during client-architect meetings. Fine touches can be added or changed altogether during a meeting and decisions on details can be quickly made.
Making use of powerful video cards of today, architecture firms can more easily manage the design stage and the representation stage – some might even assign different work teams. Architectural visualization is useful in many stages of design. Using this medium ideas and information can be easily shared. Such ideas can not only be the general concept or shape of the future building, but also its function and its aesthetic value.
Architectural visualization services and techniques have developed into a distinct and thriving submarket of the AEC industry.
Parametric design is a relatively new approach to architectural, which uses the concept of visual programming and parameters to set relations between design elements in order to define a range of formal alternatives. By althering the parameter’s values, we can make changes interactively, with the model updating automatically.
Plugins for parametric design are nowadays integrated inside BIM software, such as Grasshopper 3D for Rhinoceros and Dynamo for Autodesk Revit, which helps us connect our BIM model to a parametric design interface. Both of these plugins are using the concept of visual programming, where components or nodes are dragged onto a canvas in order to build a “map” that contains the relations between individual parameters. Changing parameters or geometry causes the changes to propagate throughout all functions, and the geometry to be redrawn.
Similar to the concept of parametric design, scripting also uses the concept of parameters to set relations between elements. The difference is that scripting is used more for automating tasks that would take much more time if we were to do them manually. Parametric design is used more for design options, while scripting is based on extracting or generating information, while still having a visual representation part.
We can use the same plugins as for parametric design, such as Grasshopper 3D for Rhinoceros and Dynamo for Autodesk Revit, to automate some processes, in order to make our jobs easier. Rather than typing code, with these plugins you create programs by manipulating graphic elements called nodes. Some use cases would be: creating floors from room boundaries in revit, adding 3d text in the middle of each room, or finding all instances of a misstyped text note, and changing it to the correct one.
Through the use of BIM tools such as scripting and light analysis simulations, we can optimise the project in it’s initial phases, offering owners a powerful decision making tool. By having real-time access to energy, wind and solar analysis, we can predict the energy consumption, the overall performance of the building envelope. These tools can also be used for doing lifecycle analysis (LCA) which shows the actual carbon footprint of the building in its entire life. The video showcases a tool we developed in house for calculating the general thermal isolation factor of a building using Dynamo, some schedule formulas and a free plugin for inserting parameters.