Building Project Teams for Operational Excellence

Aligning BIM with Your Design Process

One of the challenges facing architects today is changing their thought process on design as they begin to embrace the BIM process. On the positive side BIM allows architects to focus more on design. However, the process itself is more linear, which can be a difficult task for the more creative mind of an architect.

BIM changes the way we design.

“The BIM approach tends to be more linear and less iterative than the looping method that we’re familiar with as architects,” says Michael Robbins, Architect & Principal, Studio Robbins Cortina. “As we jump further into BIM, we need to negotiate how we address this change in process to blend our creativity with a more sequential approach.”

During his recent presentation on How BIM Changes the Conventional Design Process, Robbins discussed the varying ways the design approach differs during a BIM project.

  • Schematic designs are more comprehensive and complete
  • More detail is worked out during the design process which takes more time early on
  • A lot of information goes into the virtual model
  • Interior architecture is moved forward and completed during the detailed design phase
  • The entire model may not be accessible at all times so that sub-contractors can do detailed modeling early on.

As such, Robbins provided some tips for changing the process and your mindset:

  • It’s important to allocate additional resources for the early phases of the project
  • Spending the time to get each design phase done fully and correctly will maximize the productivity of the BIM process
  • Make sure to understand the complex nature and detail that’s associated with a virtual model before beginning
  • Use the right tool for the job at hand – it is not necessary to create everything from the BIM technology.

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