In 1975, professor Chuck Eastman, regarded as the father of Building Information Modelling (BIM), wrote an extensive research article titled The Use of Computers Instead of Drawings in Building Design for Carnegie-Mellon University, which heralded the birth of a revolutionary methodology in architecture.
Eastman presented a Building Description System (BDS), which included parametric design ideas leading to 2D drawings of a model, an “integrated database for visual and quantitative analyses”. The investigator suggested that “large project contractors may find this representation to be beneficial to them in making schedules and in material procurement”.
Eastman thus described BIM 25 years before Autodesk launched the first version of Revit, the program which nowadays permits the collaborative and coordinated development of architectural projects.
Chuck Eastman and other ground-breakers such as Tom Maver, John Mitchell, Robin Drogemuller or Arto Kiviniemi (who will attend the VI European Bim Summit), who continue to develop BIM’s potential, have shown that those ideas, unprecedented for an industry with little inclination towards innovation, plotted a path that refusing to follow makes no sense.
Because among other things, BIM delivers efficiency. It is information shared by all the stakeholders in a building project, be it for a building or infrastructure, through a single file available to everyone, thus meaning that any update is immediately accessible.
It is a tool for improving a product with a social value that is not always taken into consideration. “BIM is the way to make building productive. Its goal is to permit its industrialisation, thus reducing costs, increasing quality and adapting results to society’s needs”, states the executive director of BIM Academy, Ignasi Pérez Arnal, one of the driving forces behind the European BIM Summit.
With the traditional working methods used in the AECO sector, information does not always reach the professionals involved in the execution of a project in a timely manner, and contingencies are also customary, leading to overcosts derived from modifications made at advanced stages of the process.
The digitisation of work allows computers to check all possibilities automatically and pre-empt interferences between building elements. Thus, if a problem is detected, it can be solved well in advance.
Basically, it is a question of working with the greatest possible foresight and with the coordination of all the professionals involved. The traditional method of measuring and interpreting drawings to calculate costs and ascertain the necessary materials is rendered totally obsolete by the convenience and the unlimited information flow offered by the BIM model. All the details about any project item can be accessed simply by passing the mouse over them: type of material, price, maintenance specifications, how to recycle it, supplier particulars, even CO2 emissions.
BIM and pre-construction
BIM introduces the concept of pre-construction, the complete virtual development of an intervention that will tell us if it can actually be built. This is made possible thanks to the software that applies interoperability, with several professionals inputting all the information for which they are responsible into the program.
Evidently, for this working methodology to be operational, total coordination between all the stakeholders must be guaranteed, as well as their commitment to the project. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is used to establish collaboration contracts so that everyone has a common goal in terms of deadlines and costs.
The VI European BIM Summit will be performing an in-depth analysis of all things related to the BIM environment, featuring the foremost specialists from the international scenario, on April 22 and 23 at the World Trade Center of Barcelona.
The European BIM Summit is possible thanks to the contribution of our sponsors: Roca, as Main sponsor; Finalcad, as Gold sponsor; Agència Catalana de l’Aigua, ATL, Bentley, CIAT, FGC, Knauf Industries, MUSAAT, PREMAAT, Graphisoft Archicad and SIMBIM Solutions, as Silver sponsors; Calaf Constructora, Copisa, and Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, as Pro sponsors; and BASF, as Sustainability sponsor. It has also the support and the collaboration of the Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat of the Generalitat de Catalunya.