An Example of BIM So Simple That Kids Can Understand
At HingePoint, a Dallas BIM consulting firm, some of us have been working on BIM (Building Information Modeling) or 3D design and construction models even before desktop computers existed. Do you ever wonder if people even know what BIM is? When I try to explain what I do for a living to my kids, “we make 3D modeling systems for hotel and restaurant chains, so they can see their building designs like a video game before they are ever built,” they don’t understand. If you are like my kids and aren’t so sure exactly what BIM is either, you are not alone. I’ve finally found an example from Legacy Towers building being built in 2014 at the Shops of Legacy in Plano Texas that explains it perfectly. In fact, it was as easy as a drive around Dallas when my kids finally understood what HingePoint does for our clients.
In this example, we see some best practice uses of BIM for:
1. Conceptual Design – 3D architecture photorealistic renderings of the building that show exactly what it will look like when finished.
2. Design Documentation – Creating 2D and 3D documents for construction documentation, permitting, and installation so that everyone is on the same page throughout the entire construction project.
3. Site Planning and Community Outreach – Showing the community what the building will look like in the context of it’s surroundings. This group did an exception job of showing the building within it’s urban surroundings, and I bet the community was trilled the building blended in so well.
4. Marketing for Commercial Real Estate – The 3D renderings are so beautiful they can be use for marketing the commercial leases available and advertise for the companies involved. This particular site was successful using job site signage making it clear to everyone exactly what was being built.
As I drove by, I explained to my kids what I did at work. “Hey kids, see that picture of the building? How do they have a picture of the building if it isn’t even built yet?” I asked. They had no idea. I explained that by using BIM tools, the architects and engineers can design the building and create realistic photos that are similar to or even better than a really great video game or virtual reality. They were starting to get it. Then I had to explain “our firm HingePoint helps clients develop BIM systems and integrates them into their business to get these amazing 3D video game-like models to create those photos of the building before it is built.” They seemed to understand, but were not impressed yet.
Then I wondered why they didn’t realize that BIM is so amazing. Maybe because they’re not systems engineers or civil engineers like the teams at HingePoint. But, then I realized, maybe they think everyone has BIM tools like everyone has video games. I then said “do you know how most construction firms still build? They use paper print outs like “blue prints” and mail drawing plans around in tubes, and flip through 100’s of pages on huge tables, and nobody has any idea what the building will turn out like except the architect and interior designer, who envisioned the design. Now they were in disbelief, that real companies still used paper to design buildings. In this digital age, it’s no surprise how children take for granted the accessibility of technology, or assume that people (especially AEC firms) use technology as opposed to traditional (ie: paper) methods. I then explained that HingePoint helps clients find easier ways to convert from paper to digital, from 2D to 3D, and from drawings to photo realistic renderings. Even though BIM seems really complicated, expensive, and difficult to envision to many, that achieving a more efficient digital workflow is much easier to achieve in this day of powerful computers, cloud computing, mobile devices, and great BIM platforms available from Autodesk and other helpful apps.
If you’ve ever had difficulty explaining what BIM is to anyone, we hope this article will help you convey the technology in a more digestible format. In fact, be sure to TXT this article to your kids to explain to them what you do at work!
Credits – we want to give credit where it is due. While HingePoint is in not affiliated with this project, we admire the best practices of the team: