Benchmark Group

Architects and Building Information Modeling Libraries

Years ago, architects created all of their blueprints by hand.  They would spend hours hunched over their drafting table carefully using rulers and guides to draw perfectly straight lines and circles.  Clients would then have to imagine these 2D blueprints as fully realized three-dimensional buildings.  As technology advanced, the drafting boards were replaced by computers, and 3D printing can be used to quickly create actual models of the buildings so it’s much easier to get an idea of what the finished structure will look like.  Computer drafting programs have greatly advanced since they were introduced, and some of today’s programs make those first tools look like Microsoft Paint.  Today, many architects make use of building information modeling (BIM) to create renderings of what the final structure will look like, and to make that process easier, many use BIM libraries.

What is BIM?

BIM allows architects to create a digital representation of a business and then manipulate and manage it as needed.  It is often used to design and plan the initial building, but it can also be used to manage the facility once construction is complete by viewing the location of pipes or wiring, calling up information related to each specific part used in the construction, and more.  This software was developed during the late 1970s, but it was quite expensive to operate and was not, until the mid-80s, available on personal computers.

BIM Libraries

When BIM software was first introduced, architects were limited to only basic templates and shapes.  For anything other than these basics, they had to create the component themselves.  This means many architects have continued to spend hours creating unique doors, windows, furnishings, and more for buildings that didn’t use standard pieces.  While the time it took to plan a building was dramatically reduced, many still spent a good amount of time on these tasks.

Thanks to cloud computing, architects can now access libraries full of these BIM models and contribute their own designs.  It’s very easy to pull renderings of various doors, windows, brick patterns, furnishings, fixtures, and other models from these libraries and use them in blueprints and models.  The designers do not need to create new models or edit existing ones, saving them a lot of time and effort.  The library models also include a clear list of everything needed to build the physical object, allowing architects to make a more accurate list of needed materials and, therefore, calculate a more accurate budget.

Many manufacturers also add their products to these libraries.  They do so for a fee, but the free advertising they get in return and the growing use of their products make it a worthwhile investment.  Architects are much more likely to select a product that has a model already created for it than they are to create their own model from scratch.

Better Work, Less Time

BIM libraries ultimately result in better quality plans that contain more accurate materials lists and budgets while taking much less time and effort on the part of the architect.  Here at the Benchmark Group, we certainly look for techniques that fit such a model and implement them in order to provide our customers with the high quality services they’ve come to expect from us.

http://www.engineering.com/BIM/ArticleID/10812/Why-BIM-Libraries-Are-an-Architects-Best-Friend.aspx