BNP Engineering News-Record Architectural Record

Building Products in BIM

BIM-compliant content for building products, materials and finishes is increasingly critical to the successful future expansion of BIM.

April 2011
Sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, greenscreen®, McGraw-Hill Construction, NanaWall Systems Inc., Nystrom, Inc., Pella Commercial and PPG Industries

By Stephen A Jones, Senior Director, McGraw-Hill Construction

Continuing Education

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s Continuing Education article.

Learning Objectives - After reading this article, you will be able to:

  1. Explain how the graphical and non-graphical data in BIM objects of building products significantly contributes to the effective use of BIM.
  2. Apply principles of this learning to more effective use of BIM.
  3. Summarize efficiently to building product manufacturers the data requirements that are essential in BIM objects of building products in order to improve the reader?s future use of BIM.
  4. Assess the quality of BIM objects that the reader is considering for use on a BIM project.

Credits: 1.00 AIA

This test is no longer available for credit

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is dramatically changing the process of designing, documenting, constructing, and maintaining buildings globally. A McGraw-Hill Construction survey of North American architects, engineers, contractors and owners published in December 2009 found that:

  • 48 percent of these companies were using BIM to some degree
  • Over 95 percent of the companies using BIM planned to expand their use of it
  • 40 percent of the non-users forecasted they would adopt BIM by the end of 2011

The industry-transforming power of BIM comes from the fact that the physical and functional characteristics of a building are set forth in a relational database format rather than in drawings, which are just a collection of lines, arcs and text that have no native intelligence and require human interpretation to derive meaning.

The BIM data resides inside intelligent objects of building elements and products which are assembled and configured to produce a virtual model of the building. There are a growing number of objects available for:

  1. Fundamental architectural elements (slabs, exterior walls, roofs, interior partitions, etc.)
  2. Discrete building products (windows, doors, hatches, chiller units, toilets, furnishings, etc.)

These objects contain highly accurate geometric data which is critical for popular BIM processes such as spatial coordination (also known as "clash detection") where system interferences are identified virtually and corrected before causing expensive field changes.

BIM/Revit® Image courtesy of DeMichele Group


Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Architectural Record
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