#BIM for beginners – a simple #BIM example

This is the second post on BIM following on from BIM for Beginners – What is BIM?A simple BIM Example

The following example is BIM at it’s most simple and probably it’s most important:

The project was to create a protective canopy over a decked area to a house; below are the key parts from the Vectorworks model (I’ve left off the house etc… for clarity):


There are structural requirements for the size of the steel post, beams, timber and foundations. Therefore the complete model was sent to the structural engineer for his input. Now previously (pre BIM) you’d either have to be working in the same software or exchange files using a mutually compatible file type such as DWG or DXF.

By exporting the project as IFC data, it now goes way beyond just a geometrical data file such as DXF. Each object can be assigned exactly what the object is, below you can see that the steel beams are assigned and recognised as steel beams:


What’s important is that every single type of building element from the inception through to completion and possible demolition for the architects, contractors, sub-contractors, owners and occupiers can be accounted for.

And when the file is exported to the structural engineer for his input, the depth of data continues as shown below with information on the project, author, organisation, site and building; again a big difference from a simple DXF transfer:


Now here comes the clever bit; the structural engineer isn’t using the same software as the architect (Revit as opposed to Vectorworks) yet he can open the file, work with it and then export it back to the architect using the same IFC file format:


Now this exchange is just between the architect and engineer and is a simple example. The same concept can extend to everyone having input to the building, again as described from the beginning to the end (whatever the end might be).

This way of working has big repercussions in terms of the way companies work, legal issues and protocols which I’ll look at in a future post. The next post however will explain the benefits BIM brings to clients.

A special thanks to Structural Engineer Christopher Reynolds MEng(hons) CEng MIStructE at bwm

Please do not hesitate to CONTACT ME for assistance on your architectural project whether you are an architect using Vectorworks or a client looking for a solution.