The benefits associated with the use of building information modeling are increasing need to adopt its use in the building and construction industry. This paper addresses and defines building information modeling, challenges and the benefits it offers owners architectures and engineers. In addition, various aspects and functions of AutoCAD based software such as, Land Development, AutoCAD Civil 3D and AutoCAD Revit architecture are discussed.
Building information modeling (BIM) is the use of computer aided design technology in embedding objects with information into building components. Building information modeling is an integrated process that allows the digital exploration of a project’s main physical and functional characteristics before it is built on the ground (Malkin, 2010). This ensures that projects are completed faster and in an economic fashion. Additionally, this facilitates a simulation of the graphic design and possible outcome of a building prior to any actual construction work. BIM limits the number of possible errors that could actually occur on the field. In addition, it utilizes different software tools to produce and deal with building data from design through construction and actual maintenance of the building. Furthermore, it allows for the measurement of building performance metrics, which has greatly reduced economic losses that were incurred previously (Smith and Tardif, 2009).
BIM utilizes CAD applications to create 2D or 3D visualizations of what a model of a building would realistically look like (Eastman, 2011). These applications use trigonometric and mathematical algorithms to depict different vectors that bring about the multiple dimensions. Software industries compete in producing distinguishable BIM applications. Parametric BIM objects comprise of geometric definitions for automatically modifying objects. BIM facilitates simultaneous work through different design disciplines (Smith and Tardif, 2009). Through 3D visualizations, it is possible for architects and engineers to quantify materials to be used and the area of spaces to be covered.
The objects of design can be controlled by parametric rules that minimize alignment, geometry, and spatial coordination errors. BIM technologies facilitate the extraction of bill of quantities that are very beneficial for estimation of costs. BIM tools can be linked to energy analysis tools to attain sustainable and efficient use of energy in the construction work. BIM tools can also be transferred to BIM fabrication tools and other automated machinery to reduce cost and construction time of fabricated components.
AutoCAD based applications were previously referred to as Architectural Desktop. This comprises of the use of predefined objects with limited rules for these objects. Designs based on BIM applications and other computer-aided systems such as AutoCAD have their strengths and weaknesses. These applications facilitate the intelligent design of objects with an inbuilt automatic low-level editing feature. However, these advancements in intelligence have a related increased cost. Several system objects may differ or vary and hence making BIM applications intrinsically complex (Eastman, 2011).
Platforms based on BIM provide sufficient information in support of design, editing, and alteration of objects. Alternatively, BIM tools can be utilized but they lack a formal structure and the necessary rules for updating the design of the building. BIM tools have user interfaces that are easy to learn. These tools are insightful, and they come with a modular structure as a guide for their functionality. AutoCAD based platforms have a consistent user interface and hence facilitate easy adoption into any field in which they are applied. They also have extensive APIs that facilitate user-defined programming for development of new applications (Eastman, 2011). However, such applications they have limited interfacing ability to other applications. They also have scaling problems that call for use of XREFs.
The Land Development module of AutoCAD provides layout plans, profiles, and sections for civil design. The same concept is used in the more up to date AutoCAD Civil 3D, which has powerful applications, which enhance development of profiles especially in road design. AutoCAD Civil 3D allows the use of triangular irregular network to be used as an electronic base map, which reduce the design time required by an engineer (Graham and Holland, 2011). AutoCAD Civil 3D has storm and sanitary analysis that provides engineers with the ability to perform storm and sanitary analysis. Pipe network design is easier and faster when utilizing AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Data ownership poses a significant challenge in building information modeling. According to Azhar (2008), legal issues that are not dealt with in the contract may complicate the issue in a project and may have a negative effect on the cost of the project. According to Foster, intellectual property regarding the building information modeling process needs to be addressed.
Benefits of Building Information modeling using AutoCAD
The use of building information modeling seeks to address the complexities that arise in design of buildings. There is faster development and sustainability in the design of a building or a project. This contributes lower project costs. The use of building information modeling such as AutoCAD provides concept, feasibility and design benefits. Cost is a major concern in designing buildings. Owners need to be sure that the budget they have will cater for the building project. For instance, in the design of roads, AutoCAD Civil 3D is used in the design phase in the assessment and development of estimates of the project cost. The linking of such a design idea to cost provides tremendous value to the sponsor or owner of the project since he can be able to plan accordingly. Additionally, the idea of developing a model before the final detailed model is done provides room for critical analysis and evaluation to establish whether all the requirements of a building can be met. A critical analysis assists in improving the final quality of the building. The use of AutoCAD software to generate 3D models provides extra accurate visualization of a design. This design is more direct rather than using multiple 2D views to generate a 3D model. Furthermore, in case one needs to generate 2D drawings at any stage of the design, one can be able to develop precise and regular drawings. This ensures that errors associated with generation of the drawings and time wasting is reduced.
Verification of designs made in building information modeling such as AutoCAD becomes easy. AutoCAD provides functions that allow an engineer or an architect to be able to quantify and provide estimates for a proposed building. Estimation of cost becomes a critical part in design of buildings. AutoCAD has an in-built function that provides the architect or engineer with access to various materials used for building from which a bill of quantities can be extracted. These estimates become more accurate as the design progresses. Building information modeling using AutoCAD makes possible to make better-informed decisions rather than using a paper based system (Eastman, 2011). The accuracy achieved in design using AutoCAD simplifies the development of large fabricated components of a design to be done offsite. This reduces onsite storage space and increases the installation time. For instance, the design of steel footbridges allows most of its components to be fabricated offsite. AutoCAD Civil 3D helps in generating cut and fill estimates that are vital in earthworks. Such estimates ensure that unnecessary excavations are not made, which in most cases are costly.
Building Information Modeling in Sustainable Design using AutoCAD
The increased concern for environmental impacts of projects on the environment has amplified the need for the use of building information modeling. Most of the waste emanates from onsite work and this has a direct impact on the cost implications of the project. Poorly designed drawing contributes to much of the onsite waste and any inefficiency. According to Malkin (2010), AutoCAD Revit Architecture plays a critical role in ensuring that waste is eliminated. Parametric change technology, which is incorporated in most AutoCAD products, ensures that any part of the building information model is consistent and properly coordinated. Maintenance of accurate information and coordination of all information helps in reducing the amount of material waste generated during building construction (Malkin, 2010). A design team can be able to coordinate all the information in different views using AutoCAD Revit Architecture.
Building information modeling using AutoCAD provides numerous benefits such as cost savings, waste reduction, sustainability of projects and increased level of accuracy in most projects. Projects can be tracked easily using building information modeling. However, certain factors may hinder the wide adoption of building information modeling. For instance, AutoCAD Civil 3D is a heavy software that requires a fast computer processor. Faster processors translate to increase in cost of computers where the building information software is to be used. Such problems required that massive investments and teamwork (Dan, 2011). To ensure that the use of building information modeling is a success in the construction industry, launching it early in the curriculum of universities will be benficial. Furthermore, have a more broad approach in teaching of building information modeling is essential. One of the main issues with the implementation of building information modeling is with the interoperability concerns that arise. A solution needs to be found that will solve this problem and enhance the adoption and use of building information modeling. Consequently, there is a need to address legal issues that may arise due to data ownership.
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