What Is BIM and How Can It Save Me Money? An Interview with an Architect

You put a lot of time, effort and money into your building project. Mid-way through construction, you are told that a large air duct is planned to go exactly where a large structural beam has already been placed. This is not the kind of news you want to hear. Why wasn’t this issue anticipated and just how much more is this going to cost to fix? Unfortunately, this is an example of a design problem that happens often, but one that can easily be identified before construction starts. That’s where BIM comes in.

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and refers to utilizing 3D software in designing and coordinating projects. DCI Architect and BIM expert, Antonella, shared some insight into why designing with BIM is so important. “BIM has proven to be an excellent tool to facilitate decision-making during a project’s design phase. We frequently pull up our 3D models at meetings and show design options to our clients. The client can see how a particular design change would affect the project in real time, and often, a consensus is reached right on the spot. Using BIM allows us to quickly view the project from various perspectives (both 2D and 3D) and show realistic material representations. We also use BIM in coordinating structural and mechanical designs, so we can resolve conflicts before we get in the field. By the end of the design process, we end up with a well-coordinated set of documents and our clients are confident that they know what they are getting.“

BIM offers many money-saving benefits. In addition to saving costs during construction (by avoiding the need to move large air ducts inside walls, for instance), it improves coordination of construction documents and increases delivery speed by reducing errors and omissions. BIM can reduce costs associated with estimating by embedding and linking critical information such as vendors for specific materials, locations and quantities. Ultimately, the ability to visualize the finished project during the design phase makes everyone happy and keeps costs down.