Real BIM vs. Uninformed Modeling

By: Rubén Santelíz Tallavo


A shift away from cad

As the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry continues to evolve, there has been a substantial shift from traditional methods of designing and building structures.

The longstanding Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, once considered the gold standard in the industry, is being gradually phased out.

Instead, firms are gravitating towards Building Information Modeling (BIM), an innovative and technologically advanced approach that significantly improves the way buildings are designed, constructed, and managed.

Here are some compelling reasons for making the switch from CAD to BIM.

Beyond Drawing

To begin with, CAD has served the AEC industry for several decades. This technology allows professionals to create detailed 2D or 3D models that assist in visualization and planning.

However, CAD's primary focus is on geometry and physical space, often lacking in-depth information about the materials, cost, and time implications of a project.

On the other hand, BIM is an intelligent, 3D model-based process that provides AEC professionals the tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

It’s not just about creating visually appealing 3D models; BIM encompasses the entire lifecycle of a building, from conception to demolition, while considering each element's properties and relations.

One of the critical reasons to switch from CAD to BIM is the substantial difference in visualization.

While CAD is excellent for creating 2D designs, BIM goes a step further, allowing you to build a project in a virtual environment.

This 3D visualization provides a realistic view of what the finished project will look like, reducing misunderstandings or misinterpretations of design intent and improving client presentations.

Information Management & Collaboration

BIM also brings a wealth of information to your fingertips.

Unlike CAD, which primarily deals with geometry and spatial relationships, BIM embeds relevant data within each component of the model, such as the type of material, cost, manufacturer's details, and maintenance schedule.

This database of information, often referred to as a 'single source of truth,' facilitates better decision-making, more accurate cost estimation, and efficient maintenance planning.

In the world of AEC, collaboration is key. Unfortunately, traditional CAD software often falls short in this regard.

Since CAD files are typically stored locally and updated by one user at a time, collaboration can be cumbersome, leading to version control issues. BIM, on the other hand, supports a more collaborative approach through cloud-based solutions.

Multiple stakeholders can access and edit a BIM model simultaneously, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and reducing the risk of errors or inconsistencies.

Project Changes? No problem for BIM

Furthermore, BIM has the upper hand when it comes to managing change.

In a CAD environment, changes need to be manually updated on every relevant drawing, a process that is time-consuming and prone to errors.

With BIM, changes made in one view are automatically updated across all views, saving time and ensuring accuracy.

The drive towards sustainable and green building practices is another reason why BIM is gaining favor over CAD.

BIM's ability to analyze and optimize energy usage and other environmental factors, even before construction begins, is invaluable in creating eco-friendly buildings. On the other hand, CAD lacks these analytical capabilities, focusing solely on the design aspect without considering the environmental implications.

One of the most compelling reasons for implementing BIM instead of CAD is its potential for cost savings.

By providing more accurate estimations, reducing errors and reworks, and shortening project timelines, BIM can significantly cut down costs. Additionally, it improves resource management and utilization, further adding to the cost benefits.

While the transition from CAD to BIM may seem daunting and requires an initial investment in training and software, the long-term benefits are hard to ignore. Improved collaboration, better visualization, more efficient data management, enhanced change control, potential for sustainability, and cost savings are all compelling reasons to make the shift.

Multy Stage Management

Additionally, BIM fosters better risk management. By allowing for conflict detection and resolution during the design phase, potential problems can be identified and rectified before construction begins. This level of foresight is not possible with traditional CAD, where conflicts typically become evident only during the actual construction, leading to costly and time-consuming changes.

BIM also plays a pivotal role in facility management post-construction. The rich data repository of BIM can be leveraged for efficient maintenance planning, renovations, or refurbishments. In comparison, CAD falls short as it lacks this data-driven approach.

The impact of BIM extends beyond the construction phase to demolition or deconstruction as well. BIM can provide vital information about the materials and construction methods used, facilitating safer and more efficient deconstruction processes. This feature is particularly important in today's world, where responsible and sustainable construction practices are in focus.

Indoustry demand

Beyond the technical and practical advantages, there is another reason to move from CAD to BIM: Industry demand. Clients, governments, and professionals increasingly prefer or mandate the use of BIM for construction projects due to its numerous advantages. For instance, the United Kingdom requires the use of BIM for all publicly funded projects. Thus, transitioning to BIM is not just a matter of staying current—it's about remaining relevant and competitive in the industry.

Embracing Improvement

In conclusion, the shift from CAD to BIM is not merely a change of tools—it represents a fundamental transformation in how the AEC industry works. While CAD has been instrumental in the past, BIM brings the future to the present, offering an integrated, data-rich, collaborative, and efficient way to handle construction projects.

It's a comprehensive solution that caters to the entire building lifecycle, promoting better designs, more efficient processes, cost savings, and sustainability.

In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, BIM provides a pathway to smarter, more responsible construction. It may require an initial investment, but the payoff—in terms of time, cost, quality, and sustainability—is more than worth it.

Therefore, putting away CAD and implementing BIM isn't just a smart move—it's a necessary step towards a more innovative, efficient, and sustainable future in the AEC industry.