flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

BIM becomes VDC

BIM becomes VDC

A case study in disruption.


By By John Tobin, LEED AP | December 9, 2012
BIM models (as in the above project) have evolved to a level of information beyo
BIM models (as in the above project) have evolved to a level of information beyond that required for production of 2D documents.
This article first appeared in the December 2012 issue of BD+C.

For many of us who have participated in the rapid growth of BIM, It is tempting to see it as just one more technology development in the project delivery process, but its real impact is quickly accelerating beyond that. More accurately, the growth of BIM is heralding a true disruption in the construction industry. It is transforming markets, and revolutionizing expectations.

In fact, it is increasingly apparent that BIM fits a well-known pattern familiar to business scholars, a pattern known as disruptive innovation and made famous by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in his best-selling book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

In innovation theory, a disruptive technology is one that creates entirely new “value networks”––a combination of capabilities and expectations––for a given process or technology.

For example, 2D CAD simply computerized the production of drawings. Before CAD, designers produced drawings; after CAD, we still produced drawings, just differently and with more flexibility. CAD was a “sustaining technology”––something that simply improved an existing market proposition.

BIM also started out as a sustaining technology, as many disruptions do. The notion was that 3D models would be an efficient way to produce 2D documents, the next evolution of CAD enhancement. But it quickly morphed to a point where the model created brand new value networks: clash detection, quantity takeoffs, field BIM, direct fabrication, energy analysis––and, ultimately, BIM models as a store of myriad facility information.

Enter the Contractor: BIM becomes VDC

The disruptive growth of BIM has been largely due to the unanticipated interest contractors would take in the technology, and in this respect it is clearly a “new market disruption” in the terminology of disruption. By any measure, contractors have grasped the power of BIM with far more vigor than design professionals, who tend to see it as sustaining, and have failed to perceive its disruptive trajectory. Contractors looked at BIM models and immediately understood how they could be used for virtual design and construction (VDC) tasks.

Many leading design firms have come to realize that BIM’s disruption means developing new ways to work with savvy contractors and owners. At our firm, design teams now routinely exchange BIM files with contractors during and after design for purposes that are entirely unprecedented in our previous experience.

Further fueling the disruption, many savvy clients now contractually require that we work closely with the contractor and owner on BIM development and file exchange. Penn State University, for example, has some of the most detailed and well-developed processes for designers and contractors in BIM implementation.

The rumblings of disruption were becoming apparent to our firm almost as soon as contractors first learned we were creating BIM files. One of our first structural BIM projects was (somewhat hesitantly) transferred to the contractors so they could use it to quantify the lengths of steel members for a mill order. It proved useful, but it was unfamiliar to us, and a first brush with the emerging uses of BIM.

Since then we have become accustomed to our clients (both private and governmental) making BIM submission a requirement. Somewhere along the way, we began to realize that expectations were changing dramatically. It is now relatively routine for the BIM files to get substituted or supplemented with subcontractor 3D fabrication files for on-site, real-time coordination.

Enter the Owner: BIM in Real Time

More recently, another development has increased the pace of disruption-––the addition of the owner to the BIM design process. Smart owners quickly began to realize how these information-rich 3D models could be useful as an active decision-making tool during construction, and then used as stores of information for facility operations purposes. Many adopted detailed protocols for how BIM should be used on their projects.

In a subsequent development, our firm has begun to experience owners now sitting in on the fast-track design for a large high-tech facility and expecting to see 3D models they can query at any point. Our design team sits with the owner, contractor, and facility personnel to review BIM models  in real time as they develop. This is a huge departure from our previous workflow, where owners received progress paper sets, carefully controlled for output. Now the process is open, active, and raw.

Embrace the Strange

For those of us using BIM, it’s important to fully understand BIM as a disruption and avoid getting caught up comparing CAD and BIM software as two different, but comparable, approaches. Such a perspective would focus on BIM’s sustaining effects and totally miss its disruptive potential.
BIM shows all the signs of a classic market disruption, and like other disruptions its ultimate destination is not yet clear, except that it will certainly change markets and expectations.

Our best strategy is to embrace the full power of BIM, to recognize its disruptive potential, and to explore its power to address many of the issues we currently face as we attempt to reImagine design and construction. +
--
John Tobin is Director of Architecture at EYP Architecture & Engineering, Albany, N.Y.

Related Stories

AEC Tech | Apr 19, 2022

VDC maturity and the key to driving better, more predictable outcomes

While more stakeholders across the AEC value chain embrace the concept of virtual design and construction, what is driving the vastly different results that organizations achieve? The answer lies within an assessment of VDC maturity.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Mar 24, 2022

Data-driven building design and successful project outcomes

Data-driven science, control systems and even journalism are in vogue today, reflecting the increasing reliance on real facts and figures—rather than experience or subjective opinions—to drive successful pursuits. In the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) realm, the same trend is helping make project teams and buildings more successful. The ultimate goal is to enhance value through a process that predicts accurately the cost of a building—even if its architects may not see the construction begin until two or more years after the start of schematic design.

BIM and Information Technology | Mar 16, 2022

Construction still lags other industries in use of technology

JBKnowledge’s latest ConTech report asserts that while contractors have made some gains, too many don’t view IT as a priority, to their detriment.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Jan 10, 2022

Applied parametrics for façade designs and materials

Parametric modeling has proven an invaluable toolset that enables architects to test complex design concepts and organize large quantities of data into manageable work streams. Parametric iteration makes it possible to achieve unique solutions that require digital surface modeling and then apply them to interesting building materials that might previously have been considered unviable.

AEC Tech | Dec 16, 2021

Autodesk to Acquire Cloud Based Estimating Company ProEst

Autodesk, Inc. is acquiring ProEst, a cloud-based estimating solution that enables construction teams to create estimates, perform digital takeoffs, generate detailed reports and proposals and manage bid-day processes. Autodesk plans to integrate ProEst with Autodesk Construction Cloud, a comprehensive construction management platform connecting teams, data and workflows across the entire building lifecycle.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Oct 15, 2021

7 game-changing trends in structural engineering

Here are seven key areas where innovation in structural engineering is driving evolution.

AEC Tech Innovation | Oct 7, 2021

How tech informs design: A conversation with Mancini's Christian Giordano

Mancini's growth strategy includes developing tech tools that help clients appreciate its work.

AEC Tech | May 24, 2021

Digital twin’s value propositions for the built environment, explained

Ernst & Young’s white paper makes its cases for the technology’s myriad benefits.

AEC Tech | Mar 4, 2021

The Weekly show, March 4, 2021: Bringing AI to the masses, and Central Station Memphis hotel

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C editors speak with AEC industry leaders about the award-winning Central Station Memphis hotel reconstruction project, and how Autodesk aims to bring generative design and AI tools to the AEC masses.

AEC Tech | Jan 28, 2021

The Weekly show, Jan 28, 2021: Generative design tools for feasibility studies, and landscape design trends in the built environment

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C editors speak with AEC industry leaders from Studio-MLA and TestFit about landscape design trends in the built environment, and how AEC teams and real estate developers can improve real estate feasibility studies with real-time generative design.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category


BD+C University Course

Data-driven building design and successful project outcomes

Data-driven science, control systems and even journalism are in vogue today, reflecting the increasing reliance on real facts and figures—rather than experience or subjective opinions—to drive successful pursuits. In the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) realm, the same trend is helping make project teams and buildings more successful. The ultimate goal is to enhance value through a process that predicts accurately the cost of a building—even if its architects may not see the construction begin until two or more years after the start of schematic design.



BD+C University Course

Applied parametrics for façade designs and materials

Parametric modeling has proven an invaluable toolset that enables architects to test complex design concepts and organize large quantities of data into manageable work streams. Parametric iteration makes it possible to achieve unique solutions that require digital surface modeling and then apply them to interesting building materials that might previously have been considered unviable.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: