Whether you're considering the move to Building Information Modeling, or BIM, for your firm or you have already done so consider how you can expand upon your huge investment. Below are four simple tips on how you, the architect, can get the most out of a particular BIM package:
- Research the proper software package - Not all BIM programs are alike and cater to different users in the industry. Packages like Revit and Archicad cater to medium and larger sized firms, though even small firms use them effectively. Vectorworks, whose target market is smaller architecture and landscape architecture firms. If you are a landscape architect then you should really take a look at Vectorworks Landmark, it is made specifically for landscape architects.
- Get Proper Training - This really goes without saying but since many architecture pros are the self-teaching type this needs to be addressed. At the least you should do a video course on the software you are using and have a good reference handy for those specific issues. Because the software has so much functionality you really need all the training you can get to maximize your effectiveness in using it.
- Standardize - as with CAD standards you need to make sure you have a sound system for accessing and storing BIM models. Since they are more complicated than traditional 2D CAD models it's imperative that you seek out sound advice from experts on the proper way to store data.
- Automate - the more you use the software look for ways to automate the process wherever applicable. Doing this will save time and money on the project and will also reduce mistakes. Nearly all the programs have ways of creating macros or if you're feeling lucky creating scripts to do many of the repetitive tasks.
One added benefit of using BIM is that you already have a decent 3D model to use for rendering. You can print it out in perspective and draw over it or use the simple renderers that come with the programs. For more realistic renderings you can solicit the help of an architectural visualization professional or 3D artist. They have the skill to make your building look real before a shovel hits the ground.
FYI, Village Features can also create a photorealistic virtual tour of the building in it's context. We call them 3D Virtual Tours and they're a combination of high-resolution photography, CGI, and web-based virtual tour technology. They will provide that often overlooked aspect of design: context. Below is an example of a 3D model that was converted into a 3d Virtual Tour.