BIM QnA with Paul Doherty and Kris Atkinson


BIM experts Paul Doherty, Chairman of theBIMcompany and President and CEO of the digit group, inc and Kris Atkinson, Technical Director at answer your BIM Questions in our third BIM QnA.

Question: Who were the first innovators in BIM?

Paul Doherty:

Interesting question, as you are asking who were the first innovators, not the first creators. This is an easy one, as Frank Gehry is by far the first and still one of the best innovators of BIM. Frank uses technology as a tool to express his unique designs. He is the first one that had to use BIM (Dassualt Systemes’ Catia) in order to communicate and construct his designs. Without his use of BIM, Gehry’s designs would be next to impossible to communicate. In other words, Gehry designs are not optimized for hand drawing, if not impossible to do without BIM.

Another innovator, or I should say innovators, with BIM are many of the US Trade Unions. The Union Apprentice curriculum for trades like Pipefitters, are using BIM to train union workers with tasks that can be simulated in a BIM environment. “Measure twice, cut once” has been incorporated into BIM training programs by many Union Shops, creating an environment for trade union excellence.

Question: Do BIM users care about the levels of detail of products as BIM Objects?

Kris Atkinson:

I think it depends on the stage and purpose of the model at that time. Manufacturers typically create content that is suitable for all at every stage of a project. An engineer may not care about accurate materials, however, an architect or interior designer will. Similarly, an architect may not be too bothered about some of the advanced calculation data, but the engineer will. When you take into account the various job roles it is important that BIM objects meet the needs of those using them and the project.

Concept stage often requires designers to want to use generic, lower LOD (Level of Detail) content in the model as the likely-hood is that the product specification is not set and that the product will undoubtedly change through Value Engineering.

But look at the benefits that using a higher detail level component can provide to designers and clients, even at early stages. Providing a client with certainty on the design, and other additional benefits such as rendered visual of the space with accurately detailed content, help to sell the project and the design intent.

At bimstore, we provide clients with realistic representations of their products that can be quickly accessed and used in projects, these typically include the software standard level of detail as aligned to BS8541-3:2012.

The argument might be that the more detail you have, the larger the file size, which is an important aspect. However, file size is not as a big an issue as it previously has been as computing power and optimised scalability is making file size less and less relevant. With the development of cloud-based solutions, future generations may not remember the need to work in individual “Files” as the project will exist in the cloud accessible by all.

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