Point of Beginning

Tide is Shifting in Favor of BIM Technology

July 21, 2011

Three dimensional building information modeling is rapidly replacing 2D design software in many A/E/P and environmental firms. However, a blend of 2D and 3D technology is still commonplace.

According to an article published in the July 25 issue of The Zweig Letter, ZweigWhite’s weekly management publication, IT needs are rapidly evolving. In an informal survey readers were polled on their levels of implementation of BIM technologies.

According to the responses, practitioners are starting to move beyond two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) programs in favor of BIM. Only 12.5 percent of firms responding to the survey still rely solely on CAD, while 31.3 percent say they use CAD but are currently adding BIM technologies. Twenty five percent indicated they currently use CAD concurrently with BIM and will continue to do so for some time to come; 31.3 percent reported using CAD on a limited basis and using BIM for most projects. None reported making the full transition to BIM yet, but all expect to at some point.

Klingner & Associates, P.C., an architecture and engineering consulting firm based in Quincy Ill., still uses CAD but is currently adding BIM technologies, said Michael Klingner, president. He said clients have started to request BIM services with from frequency during the past year or so.

“We are currently working on our first major BIM project. This project is a state correctional maximum security prison construction project using BIM to document special inspections, and we expect to be working on two full architectural, mechanical, and structural BIM design projects the second half of 2011,” Klinger said.

“As we do transportation work as well as many small commercial and industrial projects, we anticipate traditional CAD will be our primary tool over the next few years. Five years from now we may be looking at more demand for BIM across the board,” he added.

Firms that aren’t seeing the need for the new technological application will have to get on board at some point, especially if they work on government projects. Much of the federal government is moving toward requiring BIM on their building projects. Currently the U.S. General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force and Coast Guard are requiring BIM on specific projects. Even state and local governments are looking for BIM in their projects.

“There is no one set approach – that’s the thing about BIM,” said Stephanie Mullins, director of education advancement with the Associated General Contractors of America.

According to Mullins, the AGC looks at BIM as a process. “One goal of our education program is to help contractors make decisions on what type of software they need for what they’re trying to get out of their projects in terms of technology,” she said.

For more information on The Zweig Letter visit www.zweigwhite.com/trends/thezweigletter.