Architecture and its crafting have undergone a huge evolution, from the times of hand-drafting and physical testing of materials to computer-aided designing and scope of analyses. Tracing this change requires an understanding of the ever-changing requirements of structural discoveries and the scope of development of building a cohesive object of functions. With the recent requirement of designing and constructing buildings according to environmentally strategic guidelines, computer-aided software and tools help simplify the process, making it efficient and transparent. These digital tools follow the process of a collaborative methodology, where different consultancies and systems are overlapped simultaneously to achieve a well-integrated design solution.
BIM-Building Information Modelling- is a computer-algorithm based inmost of the software that enables professionals across the AEC- Architecture, Engineering, and Construction- Industry to have a common interface, which lets every individual working in the design process to have a transparent and well-informed virtual model of the project. This includes all kinds of programmatic features that let’s one simulate the project for climatic analyses, material estimation, daylight exposure and thermal heat gain capacities, cost estimation, and MEP systems. It allows all of the graphical and non-graphical building information for a construction project to be readily available by the use of relational databases that store, access, and retrieve all of the information about building components. (Woo 2007)
The evolution of architecture as a design process has been subjected to the human requirements of the ever-evolving epochs, meaning while buildings started rising higher and higher, the complexity of the structures and the services embedded in it also rose to the occasion. With factors like heat-gain, daylight exposure, building performance, and structural systems becoming an integral definition of the building along with the spatial aspect, design, therefore, isn’t just limited to the traditional method of deriving plans, sections, and elevations which contribute to the juvenile 3D structure, rather, it’s a merger of all structural, spatial, systems-infused and simulated cohesion of design interventions.
Now, the process isn’t a linear one. It is a radial structure that oscillates within every sub-integration of solutions.
With the advent of Green Building certifications and standards and guidelines that need to be met- BIM helps achieve these goals way before construction is set off. A building is thus tested and simulated to determine its performance way ahead of its approval for construction. This becomes an important part of the client being part of the design process too as they are able to realize their vision before strategic decisions are even taken. There are multiple software pertaining to specific guidelines issued by certification bodies such as LEED, GRIHA, etc., which makes way for a smooth and accurate methodology.
The most advantageous aspect of BIM architecture is the ability to integrate layers of systems together-that makes it possible to analyze the overlapping, conflicts, and collisions of various systems within each other. The address of conflicts which otherwise is a cumbersome process of traditionally checking and overlapping drawings is now conveniently done through a common interface and furthermore, it simultaneously updates all the data as well.
While a myriad of tools and software are available in the market, the most predominantly used software by all professionals is the Autodesk Revit. It provides specializations categorized as MEP, Structural and architectural design. The most convenient feature of it is the interoperable platform that allows all the designers, engineers, contractors, landscape architects to work simultaneously.
Another prevalent software, ArchiCAD, is quite popular amongst large firms- helping them visualize and create 3D renderings with great detail and accuracy. Similarly, mainstream tools such as SketchUp, Rhinoceros, and 3DS Max, etc. help in architectural conceptualizing and 3D modeling.
For much further implementation of BIM, specialized software is available for MEP, Planning and construction management, cost estimating and construction sequencing, structural systems calculations and representation, energy efficiency calculations and simulations, and measurement controlling systems.
While firms have started utilizing these digital tools for convenient planning and design, there are still quite some challenges that do surface. One of the most predominant ones is the safety of data and legal rights of data ownership. Secondarily, the authority of modifying data in a design stage still remains ambiguous as BIM entitles multiple individuals to interoperate as and when. While professionals with exceptional practical experience tend to fare better with BIM, the younger generation still needs to grasp building construction and its versatility to be able to implicate the same on the computer. However, the introduction of BIM into architecture is a profound invention and is set to change the face of Building design and construction. Architects and associated professionals have time and again pursued it to achieve faster and better construction strategies way before the deadline and within budget. What still remains; a very integral part of the architecture that cannot be replaced is the practical knowledge and experience, which then forms the key to achieving greater designs and innovations through the support of BIM architecture. BIM is merely a tool, while revolution is stillborn in the minds of the designers.