What is the history and future of BIM!?

We believe that BIM is the future of designing, engineering, building and even maintaining buildings. The limits are (nearly) endless and with many manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon the limits remain to be seen! To many, BIM is just a “fancy” tool to develop a building in 3D. We believe BIM is and can be much more and this is why we dived into BIM, its past, present and future.

BIM, the idea

The basis of BIM dates back to 1975 when Charles M. Eastman, an American professor, published his description of a working prototype in the AIA Journal. The article described interactive defined elements where information about maps, facades, perspectives and sections are combined in the same document. Each alteration only had to be made once and thereafter was altered in all other drawings. Details about costs, the required materials and supplies became easy to generate.

In the 70’s and 80’s, similar studies were done in Europe. Especially in Great Britain and Finland, where attempts were made to apply BIM in commercial ways.

The cover of the AIA Journal that included Charles M. Eastman his study.

BIM software

Within the Architectural industry, RUCAPS is credited as the forerunner of BIM. The software and hardware needed to run it was expensive and limited widespread adoption of the software.

British Library + St Pancras 7527-31hug
The British Library is the UK its largest building built in the 20th century. It was modelled using RUCAPS.

The term Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used in a research article by G.A. van Nederveen and F.P. Tolman in the international research journal “Automation in Construction”.

CAD software

Parallel to the birth of BIM on the academic level, Computer Aided Design (CAD) also dates back to the 80’s. Back then Architects began to draw on their computers with the use of layer-based drawing software which allowed multiple drawings to be placed on each other. Technologies like stronger computers and the Internet had much influence on the process as Architects started to swap DWG-files rather than handmade drawings.

Maturing of BIM

During the last decade, BIM software matured into the methodology as we know it today. In 2002 Autodesk acquired Revit Technology Corporation. In 2003 Revit became the basis of future developments for Autodesk instead of the DWG-format, which had been the basis for 20 years. Meanwhile, Bentley Systems and Graphisoft continue to develop their software.

Where are we today

Most universities adapted their studies to include engineering and designing using BIM. This adaption guarantees that the next generation of Architects and Draughtsman know their way around the challenging software.

During the last few years, we have already seen some interesting BIM related projects that showcase its possibilities. These projects push the BIM boundaries even further and combine BIM with other great technologies like 3D printing, prefabricated compartments and AR/VR!

Building using prefabricated compartments

Apart from the intelligent data in a BIM object, it looks a lot like LEGO®. You start by building your base and then, much like Lego, start adding detailed pieces like doors, furniture, sprinkler installations and even complete loading bays! But it goes further; parts of buildings can even be fabricated remotely and are then combined into an entire building. With BIM a perfect fit is guaranteed!

3D printing

In Amsterdam, there is currently a bridge being 3D printed. The end product will be placed across one of the cities many canals. The “MX3D Bridge” will be both strong and safe. At this moment the bridge is 12.5 meters long and 6.5 meters wide and weighs over 4.500 kilograms. With the load tests being carried out at the moment, the bridge is near completion.

Reality capture

When we combine technologies like drones or laser scanners with BIM we can scan existing environments and buildings. These scans can then be used to place a designed building in the existing environment or to make changes to the environment itself.

Special laser scanning cameras are made that can scan indoor environments including furniture. Combining the 3D scanned environment allows you to pin BIM objects in the 3D scan which can later be opened by viewers of the 3D scan. This way you can specify which manufacturer delivered which products or even create a VR showroom, like Lamborghini did in Malmö! 

Will BIM become the real standard in construction

With a full generation of Architects being educated in BIM and all the tools and technologies being developed the future of BIM looks very bright. During the coming years and decades, BIM will continue to develop. But how do you improve such an advanced platform? Some steps towards the future are being made already.

Some ideas

The future needs to show which ideas will become reality and which will not. Many software developers are working on different approaches towards the future

Project Quantum

Autodesk’s’ Project Quantum is all about making BIM work in the era we live in, the era of the cloud. Nowadays applications are made for a single type of users (Revit for Architects) with its own data format. Autodesk wants some of the applications from their product line to work woven together in a common data environment. This idea was presented by opening 4 different applications in one screen. One of these applications was Revit. Every time a modification was made in Revit, the modification also appeared in the three other applications. The data is not being translated to work with other applications; instead, the data is transmitted through Quantum to the other applications.

Live sensors

Using Live BIM, we can create 3D models of buildings, roads and bridges with real-time sensors. The 3D model is then combined with physical and environmental data. The result is the 3D model changing shape and colour based on this data. Real-time monitoring shows problems, due to intensive use (for example), before something actually goes wrong. This way a more comprehensive picture of how structures behave is made.

Loading Systems and BIM

With the introduction of the award nominated Loading Systems BIM portal and BIM objects for Revit and ArchiCAD, we have made our first entry into the world of BIM. Based on our studies, experiences and news stories, like the information above, we continue to develop our BIM objects to become more versatile in the ever-changing world of BIM! In our opinion, BIM is here to stay and is going to get bigger and bigger! Download our BIM objects now to obtain the highest quality BIM objects available from our industry. 

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