BIM the New CAD; Putting Information at the Heart of Building Construction Projects

Changes that BIM - Building Information Modeling, has brought in construction industry are much bigger as compared to the transformation that CAD brought about in traditional drawing practices. While CAD got introduced as a tool for producing engineering drawings, BIM has been putting information at the heart of construction projects, empowering every stakeholder who utilizes that information, transform the project environment at large.

CAD to BIM transformation

CAD – Computer Aided design process had unpredictable ways and means of coordinating data across the construction projects. To eliminate the hassles and leverage BIM benefits to its fullest, CAD clubbed with Autodesk Revit and VectorWorks, were introduced; and became favorite of tens of hundreds in no time. This new avatar of CAD facilitates more prominent data management in throughout the construction project environment. 

BIM the new way of processing and collaborating information with data weaved in the 3D model; enables the merging of specific models created by various disciplines to offer a complete overview of the project. Information is added straight to the model clubbed with materials, size, functions, time and other related data. Earlier, the design process in the construction industry highly depended on the efficiency of drawings and particulars to temporary workers, from concept design to final construction and beyond. However with BIM, it is all about bringing the information and various elements together, so as to frame a logical arrangement of data.

For a few years, each foundation had its own meaning of BIM; i.e., the UK BIM Task Group characterized BIM as “value-creating collaboration through the entire life-cycle of an asset, underpinned by the creation, collation and exchange of shared 3D models and intelligent, structured data attached to them”. So if put simply, BIM places data administration and information trade at the heart of the design procedure. 

With the increase in the site or the building, the amount of information also increased alike, leading the engineers and contractors to handover information overload to clients, this was no good. Ideally the client is supposed to receive the right amount of information with right data. Addressing this challenge by introducing two new roles with newer project management responsibilities was not a big task for those working on BIM modeling.

BIM Information Manager & BIM model Managers

With information manager walking in, integrating BIM across the project lifecycle and ensuring everyone involved in the project are following the protocols, was implemented. Secondly BIM model managers ensured that all models are logically shared by all those involved in the construction project, and coordinated throughout the project lifecycle.

Intellectuals it seems had predicted the kind of penetration BIM would have in the AEC industry and this would have lead them to announce in a report way back in 2011, government stated its objective that by 2016 it would need collaborative 3D BIM on all government projects. The statement was the part of Government’s plan to modernize the construction industry, with the absolute aim of achieving a 20% cost cutting in construction and operation of new building. Significant to attaining this goal is the employment of Building Information Modeling to generate more effectual construction sector. 


Like any new procedure, change requires significant investment, particularly in an industry as divided as building construction. The streamlined and savvy BIM process offers cost impoverishment and change in the quality of construction. The sooner that building construction companies focus on BIM, the more noteworthy the advantages will be.


How BIM 3D Modeling helps in Spatial Coordination for MEP Contractors?

For MEP contractors working on 3D modeling and spatial coordination, it is as good as working on actual construction and fabrication. The only difference is that, initially a small group of experts used to work in virtual BIM environment, but now it’s almost a set norm of the construction industry; which everyone involved with the building project has to abide by. 

MEP Contractors and Spatial Coordination

Imagine a MEP contractor who is not party to the spatial coordination, but is required to be ready for field fabrication and install the system at locations predefined by MEP contractors. They will fail miserably. Due to the disintegration of one of the member, the entire MEP coordination team suffers and it invites tons of RFIs - Request for Information and change orders, resulting in exceeded budgets.

MEP is an umbrella for several trained professionals from various disciplines including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and fire protection contractors. Though CAD brought reforms in traditional way of working, it has failed in risk mitigation and cost efficiency. Thus construction project stakeholders leave it to MEP contractors, to fix the design clashes if any during spatial coordination, failing which they can be questioned for project delays and increase in cost. But with MEP contractors implementing and adopting BIM, we are likely to see the tables turn, quickly than expected.

Why use BIM for 3D modeling spatial coordination?

BIM – building information modeling successfully enhances spatial coordination and reduces site errors by revealing all possible complexities pertaining to the building project, in the design phase itself. With BIM, all trades work simultaneously and in case of MEP clash detection, modelers can spot on communicate with engineers and coordinators to resolve it. This enhances the communication process and helps in resolving several queries - instantly. 

MEP teams, with the convenience of reviewing 3D models live, are able to resolve complex clashes effectively.  Apart from all this, BIM models facilitate extracting accurate quantity take offs. Since it works as a data storage hub for every stakeholder involved, is conveniently accessible to make immediate updates for the benefit of one and all. With highly skilled professionals working on BIM, unlike traditional approach, it defines collaboration at its best.

What should MEP contractors do?

MEP contractors have a come long way, bearing the prime responsibilities of a project, from commencement to its last phase of construction. Leading their way to spatial coordination with less skilled and less proficient members across the MEP project is indeed risky and difficult.

MEP contractors till now have stood out under such circumstances and saved construction projects and building owners a big share of risk and expenditure. But the change order submittals that come from owners or designers, or the last moment schedule clashes are unavoidable and lead to excessive investment.

There is almost no way MEP contractors can cut down on the change orders, till the time they follow traditional methods used for spatial coordination.  With owners keen on cutting down on budget and mitigating risk through BIM, MEP contractors are bound to increase their BIM engagement in the construction process. Apparently it seemed quite logical to incorporate BIM and win projects.

If you are looking out to achieve MEP BIM spatial coordination, it’s time to opt for BIM MEP services, which help you keep pace with MEP trades involved in process, enhancing the construction process and smooth collaboration.


Using BIM for Validating MEP Design

MEP design validation aids in reducing construction costs and change orders. If you are seeking for a BIM service provider to validate your MEP design it is important to know the kind of services they provide and how well do they adhere to BIM standard and codes. To understand the importance of MEP design validation, let’s look at the services they deliver and assess the one that fits your requirements to minimize errors and reduce costs.

Design validation for electrical system 

Electrical design with BIM tools like Revit is validated with constructions documents and RFI reports. These are inclusive of DB schedule, Load balancing, lighting illumination and generating automatic report.

Design validation for mechanical system 

Mechanical design services involve validation of equipment capacity with schedules and plan facilities. The services also include calculating HVAC loads, pipe and duct sizing as well as equipment selection. Mechanical design validation is useful for mechanical contractors in resolving challenges related to construct-ability and make the workflow seamless.

We delivered MEP BIM modeling and clash detection for mechanical systems design for a plant room in Europe. The clash free MEP model helped the client validate the design against general arrangement drawings prior to actual installation. This minimized the errors and allowed the client to handover the project to its end customer within the promised deadline.

Design validation for plumbing 

Plumbing design validation services are adopted to ensure seamless piping installation and functioning. It helps in reviewing plumbing systems prior to on-site installation. It primarily includes pipe sizing and layout, calculation of pump head along with development of drainage system layout.

For one of our clients in Australia we delivered clash free model for plumbing and hydronic systems. It enabled the client to determine schedule and quantities, as the clash free model provided required details about plumbing and hydronic systems. This provided seamless construction on-site, resulting in faster project execution.

If you are looking for the right MEP BIM services for your Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing design validation, reach out to us at Hi-tech has served MEP contractors, MEP firms, and construction companies across Europe, Middle East, UK, USA and Australia for MEP BIM solutions.


Structural BIM Modeling: Select The Right BIM Services To Avoid Cost Overruns

BIM (Building Information Modeling) has brought a tremendous change in the construction sector, allowing the AEC fraternity to perform revisions in the building designs effortlessly and avoid possibilities of errors during the construction phase. 

Structural BIM, being one part of the BIM umbrella, is meant to provide 3D object view of an actual building structure. It represents the building construction using 3D to 5D objects of the actual structure in the real world. 

BIM for structure helps in expanding the design decision matrix and improve the collaboration between other stakeholders involved in the construction process. Apart from that, it also assists in improving the overall quality of the building structure. Projects with design as well as building insights can be developed together through the use of Structural BIM. 

However, simply looking at the benefits of structural BIM will not help. You also need to understand about the types of services that structural BIM service providers deliver, and then select the ones that suit your specific requirements. This is essential to avoid cost overruns and also ensures that BIM actually works in your favor rather than leaving you clueless in the middle of the project. 

Let’s look at each of these services briefly,

Structural Design & Drafting (3D BIM): 

These services primarily include developing 2D drafting and 3D structural models for conceptualization. It also includes developing detailed structural design with BIM tools like Revit and Tekla to improve collaboration. Many companies also provide structure design validation through detailed analysis. 

Structural Steel Detailing Services: 

This type of service includes structural design development for steel and concrete elements, calculation and design for reinforcements, assembly drawings development for precast walls, columns, beams and walls. Steel detailing service also involves BIM co-ordination and clash detection between architecture and MEP designs. 

Construction Documentation and Drawings: 

While this service do not necessarily involve the use of BIM tools directly, on the other hand it is equally important for a steel fabricator or a structural engineer to take informed decisions on site. It primarily covers development of detailed 2D drawings with floor plans, elevators and sections along with creating steel shop drawings with Bill of Material - BOM. This service also includes development of architectural specification with necessary schedules. 


With 4D BIM services, construction companies can integrate their construction scheduling and sequencing information to their existing 3D BIM models. It helps construction project stakeholders to foresee conflicts and optimize the processes to gain control on the project outcome. 

5D BIM: 

The use of 5D BIM is primarily meant to integrate cost estimation information with their BIM models. This integration helps stakeholders to extract BOQs (Bill of Quantities) at any stage of the construction process and take informed decisions quickly. 

Those working in the construction field may it be structural design firms, architects or contractors; know the benefits of structural BIM as well as the services provided by Structural BIM services providers. Thus, each service has its own purpose, and as a steel fabricator or as a construction firm, it is important that you choose the right one out of it, to ensure that your objective of implementing BIM remains profitable.


Is Too Much Information Killing Your BIM Strategy?

BIM is an ideal platform for manufacturers to keep the data clean. While there has been a substantial focus in the building construction sector on the necessity for BIM integration from supply chain delivery partners, the designers are equally dependent on product manufacturers to be BIM Level 2 compliant.
Two things extremely vital for manufacturers are, providing the right kind and level of information for input into BIM models and providing the BIM object (product) in a compatible 3D image file for easy incorporation into the visualization. It’s also necessary to see to it that these two utmost important requirements align completely; enabling the concerned designers/ consultants to give their inputs required about the shape, dimension, materials etc.
However, this doesn’t always happen in reality. Manufacturers tend to overdo the content. Of all the crimes they can commit, over detailing is the deadliest sin. The usual notion is that manufacturers want their content to look “real”. Now, to bring the aesthetic part of the product they put all sorts of the information thinking this will help the product look as it is. And since a lot of time and resources are invested in these, it’s the last thing a designer would want to remove from the model. But the real problem lies in figuring out how relevant is this content and why doesn’t is always work in favor of manufactures.

Content is often more on work of Art

Manufacturers invest a lot for the products to be modelled; but eventually dump them in the library with a ray of hope that it might create some additional value or demand. Alas, this doesn’t work. A manufacturer needs to understand from the designer’s/specifier’s perspective as well. For instance, you are working on a commercial building project; your goal should be to model visible elements only, instead of going in too much detailing of the steel members. What happens is, the more information you pile up the more your file size increases. And God forbid, if you have multiple products in the same building, and you end up doing it to every of your product, imagine the additional load you will be generating. It will make BIM unmanageable and a designer might just skip a beat.

Your Dream may be someone’s  Nightmare

Being a manufacturer, you would obviously want your content to be loaded with all specs, since it’s your baby, and you know it, in and out. But, quite often it’s just an ornament for design purpose, barely needed. That said, it might not be needed in design and may certainly not be needed even at handover. The overview of high geometric and data details must be well thought-out , early on projects as there are risks for its insertion, as it may not be valuable, or be excessive to authenticate and in some cases will be absolutely useless.

So, your BIM modeler may end up choosing a generic content over your over-spiced content, as they anyway don’t benefit; whether  they specify yours or not. Remember, it’s also a hindrance if you and the designers are not on the same page when it comes to making your content available on all platforms.

How do you make your way out of this?
Make sure your products depict the real-world product. It should be standardized against IFC and COBie sets and later be worked on. Understanding industry is quite a help. Industry asks for consistency & standards between generic objects and the ones provided by manufacturers. Monitor how your customer can use the means to find the required needs. Linking your object to important sources can come handy anytime. Your object might not contain all the data construction professional needs, so it’s advisable to link it to catalogues, manuals and other such literature. Instead of presenting all the features in the geometry, additional details can be comprised in the product data (not geometry) or linked to an external location (e.g. a data sheet on a website/cloud) that can provide greater amount of information. This will minimize the file size as well.


Understand that BIM content is not ‘technical data’ as you assumed it beforehand. The problem is that most manufacturers fail to understand BIM and the way their content is used in the BIM process. For manufacturers it is vital to understand the need of existing client, than the whole market. Your client may lead you to know and understand the market in a better way. BIM is a wonderful opportunity for manufacturers to establish themselves more strongly, provided used as an intellect tool.


BIM for Roads and Highways, transforming the equation between Architects and Engineers

A recent report suggests that BIM – building information market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.6% from 2016 to 2022. Although, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has its roots in architecture, it’s a collective myth amongst design and construction professionals. They assume that BIM advantages, as delivered by BIM Outsourcing Company, are meant only for architects and are significant only to building design and construction. 

Actually, BIM is applicable to anything that needs construction, which also includes civil and infrastructure projects including roads, highways, tunnels and much more. As a matter of fact, according to McGraw Hill’s report, Business Value of BIM, civil engineers are embracing BIM software faster as compared to architects in the initial days. End-result being the common goal for architects and engineers, they opt for methods and standards of their own, which is a matter of concern. Let’s take a look at the specific benefits that BIM provides from a civil and infrastructure engineering standpoint and in what ways it transforms the equation between an Architect and an Engineer.

BIM helps in deriving current ground condition for civil work, using a variety of inputs such as GIS data, underground radar, laser scanning to develop reliable model of existing civil condition etc.  This model is than used to simulate the impact of the proposed design solutions, engaging community stakeholders and visualization for development. Construction documentation and design phases of the project are the crucial aspect for infrastructure projects, where BIM has been profoundly helpful. Also, spatial coordination and structural analysis are amongst the most commonly used applications of BIM, across phases of infrastructure projects including Rail, Bridges & Dams, Tunnels, and Ports etc. 

Building Information Modeling workflows with AutoCAD Civil 3D

BIM permits engineers to conveniently predict the performance of projects, prior to actual construction. It improves designs with precise analysis; foresee design variations at designated time, mock-ups, and offer greater quality of documentation. Furthermore, it authorizes comprehensive groups to extract valuable data from the model to aid into earlier decision making and further worthwhile project delivery. We tend to associate BIM with 3D visualization, but its way more than that. BIM crafts a body of information that can be used from commencement to decommissioning. 

Use of documentation software to support BIM workflows and AutoCAD Civil 3D for civil engineering designs is to accelerate project delivery, preserve more consistent data and respond more rapidly to discrepancy.  

AutoCAD Civil 3D software is the BIM solution structured for civil engineers, technicians’ drafters, architectural designers, and structural engineers working on transportation as well as water and land development projects, all in all the supply chain stakeholders. It provides extensive industry resolutions for both, CAD workflows and BIM workflows, in one cost-effective and flexible package.

InfraWorks 360 aids Highway Engineering Professionals generate data-rich models and engineer highways in context. It streamlines roadway geometry plan comprising of intersection design, with authoritative, rules-specified toolsets and analytic capabilities to help expose potential effects in the initial design phase.

The BIM course and its design models are the sole truth of design for planners, engineers, contractors, fabricators, and commercial and operational managers. It assists optimization of the design pertaining to function, time, and cost; and by virtually constructing the infrastructure; coordination is attained off-site. The construction sequence is streamlined. 

Better Construction Project Execution in the field is one of the ways in which model-based design and a BIM process in the office is having a big impact in the field and construction execution through GPS machine control. It has started transforming the Infrastructure construction in several parts across the globe, and will endure to do so in other countries too by making it feasible and convenient for Contractors to finish projects sooner, within budget, and with great accuracy. 

In fact, using GPS device control technology with Laser leveling and a Model, Contractors can match a design engineer's specifications within millimeters in the straight position and centimeters in perpendicular position and help with: 

Time savings: Building squads can operate 24/7 without having to postpone staking, cut sheets, and crews.

Safety: No one is in harm's way while the machineries are operating, as you don’t require anyone to grade stakes. 

Cost savings: Engineers save time throughout the modeling course, and contractors save time in the workplace and in the field. 

Green design: More effectual maneuver, results in compact material usage and waste, lower fuel costs, and more precise outcomes.

Accuracy: Starting from, design model to field, teams can greatly reduce interpretation/interpolation errors and costly rework. 

Construction sequencing: Users are competent to sequence construction, equipment, and materials and track progress contrary to logistics and timelines determined in the office by use of laser scanning for up-to-date as-built.

The eventual aid of 3D engineered models, offered by professional architectural cad drafting services, range beyond design and construction to the whole infrastructure life cycle, comprising of Maintenance, Operations, Asset management, and Planning for upcoming projects. After the 3D model is put up, it can be used for eternity, for managing roadway infrastructure and related rudiments such as lighting, signage, drainage, and structure maintenance.