• breakwithanarchitect

BIM Benefits for Architects

Updated: Mar 11

The latest trends in technology shape all aspects of our lives, including the way we live, work and communicate. In the construction industry, the latest developments affect how a building is designed and built, but also the manner in which engineers, architects and clients collaborate.


#Building Information Modeling. #BIM is one of the most promising recent developments in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. BIM technology uses a digital model that incorporates information and parameters related to building form, structure and systems. When completed, the building information model contains precise geometry and relevant data required to support the design, procurement, fabrication, and construction activities necessary to realise the building (Eastman et al. 2008). After completion, the digital model can be used for building management and maintenance purposes.


beyond 3D-breakwithanarchitect

BIM is a valuable tool that has transformed the construction sector at all stages, affecting architects, engineers, contractors and landowners. Among the top benefits of BIM are reduced project costs and delivery time, increased productivity and quality, construction cost control and predictability, and the potential for building lifecycle management. These factors influence the design and construction process as well as the way a project is managed and delivered.


All construction sectors are affected by BIM, but here we discuss the changes and benefits from the architect’s point of view.

Architect's role with CAD


To begin, it is important to consider how architects worked before BIM. #Architects used 2D CAD, (computer-aided design) to design the building and communicate with the client and engineers. The architect had to revise the plans several times, attend numerous meetings with the client, and also the structural and mechanical engineer, in order to reach the final design of the building.


Creating the #3D model was a subsequent task for the architect or the 3D designer, with the aim of producing a 3D representation of the building. The final 2D architectural plan produced by the architect had to maintain the control, function and form of the building and additionally to ensure the overall quality and integrity. Next, the structural and mechanical 2D CAD plans were layered over the architectural plans and checked. Any mistakes discovered from the process of layering had to be corrected in architectural, structural and mechanical plans separately and returned to the architect to be rechecked, and so on.



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Architect's role with BIM


With BIM technology, this process is evolving. The #collaborative nature of BIM offers a significant opportunity for the architect in terms of design control, quality and speed. The 3D digital model provides visual representation not only of the building form and materials but also the structural and mechanical systems. The architect is responsible for the architectural BIM digital model, while the engineer works on the structural digital model and the mechanical engineer the MEP model. These models are linked together by the manager or the architect, which means that potential errors or inconsistencies are identifiable at the very early stages of the project. A major benefit of the digital model is the comprehension of each sector design by the other sectors. By working on a BIM 3D collaborative model all participants maintain constant contact with the final model and the changes that occur during the design phase. As a result, the duration of the design phase of the project is reduced and the quality is increased.


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During the construction phase, BIM digital modeling provides construction plans that consist of significant source material, in order to organise time and the cost of construction works and materials. The digital model represents the exact stage of the construction at any time and incorporates information about what and when something must be installed, in what order, and how much it costs. The details and specifications of the project are easily distributed and explained through the digital model. Every single work, material or system is documented and can be controlled at any stage by the architect or the contractor. These new possibilities provide considerable freedom to the architect in terms of supervision and this type of control decreases errors and increases construction quality.



BIM benefits for architects, McGraw Hill Study


McGraw Hill, 2012 conducted a study on BIM #benefits in companies from 10 different countries across the world, namely Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. This study found that the top BIM benefit (41%) is the reduction of errors and omissions in the design phase. A key advantage of BIM is the sharing of information with everyone involved in the process. It is therefore not surprising that errors are reduced with improved quality and communication. The architect is now able to share information and communicate with other parties with precision. The second advantage (31%) is to improve collaboration with the owner and design teams during the construction phase. The architect uses the documentation that derives from the digital model as a control and communication tool with the contractor and the client. The third advantage relates to the organisational image of the company. The remaining advantages concern reworks, cost control and project duration. These benefits improve the architect’s role and the process of the architectural project, in terms of design quality and duration.


To summarise, the major #BIM #benefits for architects are:


  • Efficient collaboration with structural and mechanical engineers.

  • Communication with the client through 3D visuals.

  • Design control and reduced design errors.

  • Better documentation and cost control.

  • Reduced errors and omissions in the construction phase.

  • Reduced project and construction duration.

  • Project delivery on time and on budget.​


Panagiotidou Nicoleta for breakwithanarchitect


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