The year’s boldest BIM/VDC themes

High-speed rendering software, custom APIs, virtual reality tools, and BIM workflow tips were among the hottest BIM/VDC topics in 2014. 

December 09, 2014 |
Photo: WorldViz

In today’s tech-driven AEC workplace environment, the only constant, it seems, is change. Firms are scrambling to keep up with the latest BIM/VDC-related tools and are searching for ways to more effectively implement and manage those tools on their projects. There’s a thirst for knowledge of all things BIM.

The following collection of feature stories, case studies, and Web-exclusive content is based on the number of readers who clicked on the article during the past 11 months. For more BIM/VDC articles from BD+C, visit 


1. “5 tech trends transforming BIM/VDC”

By Jeff Yoders, Contributing Editor, BD+C

As BIM/VDC continues to evolve the work processes of AEC firms, promising technologies are being applied to take 3D coordination to the next level. This report covers five breakthrough ideas: energy modeling on the fly, laser scanning, prefabrication of building systems, advanced data management, and computer-aided manufacturing.


2. “Hyper-speed rendering: How Gensler turns BIM models into beauty shots in seconds”

By David Barista, Editor-in-Chief, BD+C

The rise of BIM and 3D rendering technology has raised client expectations and placed additional pressure on Building Teams to produce visually striking artwork that accurately depicts the very latest iteration of a project’s design. Turnaround time on artwork has to be in hours, not days or weeks. In search of a fast rendering solution, Gensler looked to the gaming and moviemaking industries for the next breakthrough tool: Octane Render.


3. “7 ways to cut waste in BIM implementation”

By David Barista, BD+C

More than two decades into the building information modeling movement, AEC firms are still discovering ways to utilize BIM/VDC tools more effectively. One major current area of focus is how to cut waste in the BIM implementation process. In this report, several BIM/VDC power users offer their top tips for eliminating waste in BIM/VDC workflows.


4. “Firms enhance BIM/VDC with advanced collaboration tools”

By David Barista, BD+C

A special to the BD+C Giants 300 report, this article highlights BIM/VDC innovations by the nation’s largest AEC firms, including SOM, Stantec, and Thornton Tomasetti. Among the breakthrough ideas featured: cloud-based data sharing, rapid iterative design, and cross-discipline collaboration.


5. “Super BIM: 7 award-winning BIM/VDC-driven projects”

By AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community

Thom Mayne’s Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and the Anaheim (Calif.) Regional Transportation Intermodal Center were among the seven projects named 2014 AIA TAP BIM Award winners by the AIA’s Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community. This slideshow recaps the winning projects. 


6. “Perfecting prefab: 8 tips for healthcare construction projects”

By David Barista, BD+C

Healthcare projects across the U.S. are being built in record time, thanks, in part, to the implementation of advanced multi-trade prefabrication techniques. By assembling components like MEP infrastructure, headwalls, and bathrooms offsite in a controlled environment, Building Teams are able to compress project schedules by performing multiple construction activities in parallel. This report offers helpful advice for using BIM to pull off prefabrication.


7. “Total immersion: Has virtual reality’s time finally come?”

By David Barista, BD+C

Virtual reality technology is a natural fit for the AEC industry. Many firms are already building highly detailed BIM/VDC models of their most complex projects, so VR looks like the logical next step. But, as our experts reveal, pulling off VR is not so simple.


8. “5 ways virtual modeling can improve facilities management”

By Jennifer Macks, Vice President, Skanska USA

BIM has become standard practice for design and construction, but often little attention is paid to what happens to model data post-construction. This blog post details practical applications for BIM/VDC tools for the operation and maintenance of buildings, including space management, maintenance scheduling, and retrofit planning.


9. “How architects at NBBJ are using computational design to calculate the best views on projects”

By Andrew Heumann, Computational Design Specialist, NBBJ

In an ideal world, every employee would have a beautiful view from his or her desk. Using computational design, architects like NBBJ can help building owners, developers, and tenants maximize views from every angle and position within a tower. In this video, NBBJ’s Andrew Heumann demonstrates a custom computational design tool the firm is using to improve views on a Seattle high-rise project.

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