The 7 Dimensions of Building Information Modeling

It has increasingly become crystal clear that BIM represents the opening of the architectural design community and construction industry to interoperability. There is no doubt that it’s a long and tedious way to being fully developed, however, important steps have been made during the last decades and the future of construction looks brighter day by day.

What is BIM?
3D-House

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of creating information models containing both graphical and non-graphical information in a Common Data Environment (CDE) (a shared repository for digital project information). The information that is created becomes ever more detailed as a project progresses with the complete dataset then handed to a client at completion to use in the building’s In Use phase and potentially on into a decommissioning phase.

When we talk about BIM maturity we are essentially talking about the supply chain’s ability to exchange information digitally. The maturity levels from Level 0, through Levels 1, 2, 3 and beyond are often visualized via the maturity ‘wedge’ diagram conceived by Mark Bew and Mervyn Richards. Our article on BIM Levels Explained is a good place to start if you’re looking for more information.

BIM dimensions are different to BIM maturity levels. They refer to the particular way in which particular kinds of data are linked to an information model. By adding additional dimensions of data you can start to get a fuller understanding of your construction project – how it will be delivered, what it will cost and how it should be maintained etc. These dimensions – 4D, 5D and 6D BIM – can all feasibly (but not necessarily) occur within a BIM Level 2 workflow.

In this blog post we explore what it means to add different dimensions of information to a BIM process and explore what this looks like in practice and what benefits might be expected.

7D BIM

3D (The Shared Information Model)

3D BIM is perhaps the BIM we are most familiar with – the process of creating graphical and non-graphical information and sharing this information in a Common Data Environment (CDE).

As the project lifecycle progresses this information becomes ever more rich in detail until the point at which the project data is handed over to a client at completion.
4D (Construction sequencing)

4D BIM adds an extra dimension of information to a project information model in the form of scheduling data. This data is added to components which will build in detail as the project progresses. This information can be used to obtain accurate programme information and visualisations showing how your project will develop sequentially.

Time-related information for a particular element might include information on lead time, how long it takes to install/construct, the time needed to become operational/harden/cure, the sequence in which components should be installed, and dependencies on other areas of the project.

With time information federated in the shared information model planners should be able to develop an accurate project programme. With the data linked to the graphical representation of components/systems it becomes easy to understand and query project information and it is also possible to show how construction will develop, sequentially, over time showing how a structure will visually appear at each stage.

Working in this way is enormously helpful when it comes to planning work to ensure it is safely, logically and efficiently sequenced. Being able to prototype how assets come together before ground is broken on site allows for feedback at an early stage and avoids wasteful and costly on-site design co-ordination and rework. Showing how projects will be constructed visually is also handy when engaging with stakeholders, giving everyone a clear visual understanding of planned works and what the finished construction will look like with no surprises.

Adding sequencing information can be extremely useful, not just in the design phase, but earlier too, allowing for the feasibility of schemes to be assessed from the off. At tender stage this kind of information can allow initial concepts to be explored and communicated to inspire confidence in the team’s ability to meet the brief.

It’s important to note that working with 4D information doesn’t negate the need for planners who remain an integral part of the project team. Rather than creating programs as proposals develop, as is the case in traditional workflows, in a digital workflow planners can now influence and shape proposals from a much earlier stage in a project. Indeed, by being closer to the wider project team and providing feedback earlier in the process, there is the potential for planners to add significantly more value to a construction project.

3D-Guggenheim-Model5D (Cost)

Drawing on the components of the information model being able to extract accurate cost information is what’s at the heart of 5D BIM.

Considerations might include capital costs (the costs of purchasing and installing a component), its associated running costs and the cost of renewal/replacement down the line. These calculations can be made on the basis of the data and associated information linked to particular components within the graphical model. This information allows cost managers to easily extrapolate the quantities of a given component on a project, applying rates to those quantities, thereby reaching an overall cost for the development.

The benefits of a costing approach linked to a model include the ability to easily see costs in 3D form, get notifications when changes are made, and the automatic counting of components/systems attached to a project. However, it’s not just cost managers who stand to benefit from considering cost as part of your BIM process. Assuming the presence of 4D program data and a clear understanding of the value of a contract, you can easily track predicted and actual spend over the course of a project. This allows for regular cost reporting and budgeting to ensure efficiencies are realized and the project itself stays within budget tolerances.

The accuracy of any cost calculations is, of course, reliant on the data produced by multiple teams and shared within the Common Data Environment. If that information is inaccurate, so too will be any calculations that rely upon it. In this respect using BIM to consider cost is no different to more traditional ways of working. It is for this reason that quantity surveyors and estimators still have an important role to play, not only in checking the accuracy of information but also in helping to interpret and fill information ‘gaps’. Many elements of a project will still be modelled in 2D or not at all. There’s also likely to be differences between models in how things are classified and the cost manager will need to clarify and understand the commonality between what at first feel like disparate things.

An information model is likely to contain three types of quantity. Quantities based on actual model components (with visible details) which you can explore through the model are the most obvious. Quantities may also be derived from model components (such as moldings around windows) that aren’t always visible. The third kind of quantity is non-modeled quantities (these include temporary works, construction joints etc.). Unless the construction phase is modeled then the design model will show, graphically, design quantities but not the construction quantities. A cost manager is likely to be skilled in picking up the quantities that aren’t solely based on model components.

One of the advantages of extrapolating cost from the information model is the fact that the data can be queried at any time during a project and the information that feeds cost reports is regularly updated. This ‘living’ cost plan helps teams design to budget and because cost managers are engaged from the start of a project this allows for faster, more accurate reporting of costs at the early stages of a project. Compare this to a traditional approach where a cost manager’s report may be updated a few times during the early stages of a project with completed designs only fully costed at the end of the project team’s design process.

The cost manager may have to get used to working earlier and more iteratively than in a traditional process but has just as important a role to play in overall project delivery.

3d-perspective-section-cardigan-street6D BIM (Project Lifecycle Information; Sustainability)

The construction industry has traditionally been focussed on the upfront capital costs of construction. Shifting this focus to better understand the whole-life cost of assets, where most money is proportionately spent, should make for better decisions upfront in terms of both cost and sustainability. This is where 6D BIM comes in.

Sometimes referred to as integrated BIM or iBIM, 6D BIM involves the inclusion of information to support facilities management and operation to drive better business outcomes. This data might include information on the manufacturer of a component, its installation date, required maintenance and details of how the item should be configured and operated for optimal performance, energy performance, along with lifespan and decommissioning data.

Adding this kind of detail to your information model allows decisions to be made during the design process – a boiler with a lifespan of 5 years could be substituted with one expected to last 10, for example, if it makes economic or operational sense to do so. In effect, designers can explore a whole range of permutations across the lifecycle of a built assets and quickly get an understanding of impacts including costs. However, it is at handover, that this kind of information really adds value as it is passed on to the end-user.

A model offers an easily-accessible and understood way of extrapolating information. Details that would have been hidden in paper files are now easily interrogated graphically. Where this approach really comes into its own is in allowing facilities managers to pre-plan maintenance activities potentially years in advance and develop spending profiles over the lifetime of a built asset, working out when repairs become uneconomical or existing systems inefficient. This planned and pro-active approach offers significant benefits over a more reactive one – not least in terms of costs.

Ideally the information model should continue to develop during the In Use phase with updates on repairs and replacements added in. Better yet, a myriad of operational data and diagnostics can also be fed in to inform decision making still further.

3D-Sydney-Opera-House7D (Operations and Facilities Management)

Studies indicate that over 90% of total building lifecycle costs are related to facility maintenance and operations. Real estate and facility managers are increasingly showing interest in using BIM in facility management.

Some of the highlights of effectiveness of utilizing BIM 7D include:

  • Preventative Maintenance Scheduling: BIM can be used to plan and track maintenance activities proactively and appropriately by using the information about the building structure and equipment used in the facility. This type of preventative maintenance activities will help improve building performance, reduce corrective maintenance and emergency maintenance repairs and increase productivity of maintenance staff.
  • Sustainability Analysis: BIM integrated with other analysis & evaluation tools are used to track building performance data, which can be compared with specified sustainable standards to identify the flaws in the building systems. Facility’s sustainability program can be improved to better match the sustainability goals.
  • Asset Management: Assets of a building consist of the physical building, its systems, equipment and surrounding environment. Asset management is essential in short-term and long-term planning for proper upkeep of building assets. The bi-directional Building Information Modeling (BIM) integration into asset management software can help in better visualization of assets and aid in the maintenance and operation of a facility.
  • Space Utilization Management: Facility professionals and department liaisons can utilize BIM to effectively manage, track and distribute appropriate spaces and related resources within a facility. BIM space management application turns out to be beneficial in planning renovation projects and future needs, allocating space for proper usage of each corner of the building and tracking the impact of proposed changes.
  • Disaster & Emergency Planning: BIM can provide critical building information to improve the efficiency of disaster response plans and minimize any risk. BIM can be integrated with building automation system (BAS) to display where the emergency is located within a building, to find possible routes to the affected area and to locate other dangerous areas within the building during such emergencies.

Sources & References:
https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim
https://geniebelt.com/blog/bim-maturity-levels

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


Materiality and Green Architecture: The Effect of Building Materials on Sustainability and Design

The types of building materials you use on your home can greatly affect the sustainability and design for years to come. Here are some high-quality, green building materials to look into for your home.

Home-2

Solar Reflective Roofing Shingles

Having high-quality roofing shingles on your house is important to help your home stay protected longer.  There are many sustainable materials on the market for roofing shingles that you should consider for your home.

One type of sustainable roofing shingles is made up of solar reflective granules with a type of polymer modified asphalt, making your roof tough and long-lasting against the effects of harsh weather. This type of material reflects solar rays that may enter your home and heat up your house which raise your electric bill for A/C. By reflecting the solar rays, the color of your roofing shingles also lasts longer, maintaining the beauty of your home for many years.

The asphalt is strong enough to keep your roofing shingles in perfect condition even during storms with high winds and high volumes of rain. This type of product will have warranties on the roofing shingles, ensuring that they will last for usually at least 12 years and in up to 110 mph wind. Investing in high-quality roofing shingles is something that you are sure to benefit from.

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Strong, Sustainable Exterior Siding

When it comes to the exterior of your home, fiber cement siding is a great alternative compared to more traditional materials like vinyl and wood. This type of siding will ensure the sustainability of your home for longer, often with a warranty of up to 50 years. With great protection against the harsh elements of the weather, fiber cement siding does not warp or fade as quickly as other materials, keeping the design of your home looking its best.

This material comes in a variety of textures so you can customize your home with whatever color and finishing look that your desire.  Fiber cement siding protects your home from water, frost, and cold weather, keeping you warm and dry. Being a product that has the designation of National Green Building Standard, fiber cement siding is a building material to use when thinking about high-quality, green architecture.

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Eco-Friendly Interior Design Material

For the interior design of your home, consider using bamboo panels. Made from bamboo grass, these panels are sustainable and support green architecture. Bamboo panels can be used in many places of your home. From cabinets to tables, and even accent walls, bamboo is an innovative material that will also give your space a modern feel.

Great for designing, this material comes in a variety of designs and textures including chocolate bamboo, natural bamboo, carbonized bamboo, and bamboo veneer. Bamboo panels are very strong and dense, long lasting and may qualify you for eco-friendly construction credits.

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Reduce Your Heating Bill with Great Insulation

Insulated concrete blocks are a great material to consider that often outperforms other building materials for the exterior of your home.

This type of material is installed as one continuous system with no breaks in the wall, ensuring complete protection of your house from bugs and elements of the weather. Insulated concrete blocks keep your house warmer in cold weather and can greatly reduce your heating bill, which is also good for the environment.

The core is made up of concrete, making this wall material durable and strong.  These concrete blocks are easier and safer to install than other materials, taking out some of the risk of constructing the exterior of your home. With this type of material, you can also design the exterior and interior walls however you would like as insulated concrete blocks come in a variety of finishes.

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Materials for Green Architecture

These eco-friendly materials can have a large effect on the sustainability and design of your home. They can increase the lifespan of your home, saving you time and money and the long run. These materials also come in a variety of designs so you can build and design your home how you want, making it the beautiful place to live that you imagined.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


What sets one construction company apart from another?

Guest post by Sarah Grey

ILMA

What sets one construction company apart from another?

With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job

can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From

the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing

partners for your next big project.

A strong commitment to budget

Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become

a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.

Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s

not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.

Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest

assured that your project will stay on budget.

Awards, but not just any awards…

Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By

the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards

business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian

building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering

can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they

know what they’re doing.

After care

The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more

of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the

details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging

repairs or replacement of material.

Local project management

A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute

must. Don’t settle for anything less.

Favorable Reviews

The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are

by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s

easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building

companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there

are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.

Specialist knowledge

An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct

clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional

architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the

understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier

they will be to work with.

Sarah Grey is a Writer and Marketer who works for a home building company.


How Do Architects Calculate Their Fees?

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

There are a few ways, but here are a few true and tried techniques that may work for you:

1.  Hours & Hourly Rates
Calculate the fee based on actual hours of service.  It is important that even if you are a single practitioner or small office that you calculate the fee based on different rates based on the work being done, even if by the same people.  For example, you should bill a higher rate to do “principal work” like reviewing and signing and sealing drawings and specs vs “field work” like documenting existing conditions or “designer work” like drafting details.  Have set prices for each level of service (so as not to under-bill or over-bill for different tasks).

2. Cost of the Construction Project
Take a percentage of the overall “brick and mortar” cost for a project.  The percentage may change as the size and scope of the project changes.  This is tricky as some clients may or not be ready for the soft costs associated with design fees.

3. By sheets
Take the number of construction drawings and put a “per sheet” price on it.  This works for simpler projects often referred to as “bread and butter” design work which can include repeat fit out work, small residential or commercial projects, or repeat work where you can anticipate the amount of effort required to successfully complete a project.  (Hint: You may want to have different prices established for sheet sizes and typical notes and standard details -vs- non-typical design work).

4. Combination of 1, 2. 3.
I like this method best.  Using the techniques developed above work backwards and forwards to check and cross check your fee.  If that doesn’t work, here’s one more technique that might be useful:

Image: (C) Ed Arno, New Yorker Cartoonist

5. SWAG
Take a “Scientific wild @$$ guess” based on your experience with projects of similar size and scope.  Often Architects will go back and look at previous projects to determine how many hours is required to complete a project.

Further Reading: Calculating the Architect’s Fee: Is There a Better Way? By Mike Koger, AIA, July 3, 2018

Good Luck!

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


How Can Architects Generate More Work and Make More Money? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

Architects should be the leaders in the building industry, not just a consultant or a small part of a team. The simple truth is that taking on more work and taking greater risks is not for everyone. Owning a firm and taking on responsibilities beyond design is not an area you might want to dive into – or – it might be. Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. However, an Architect must be “proactive” instead of “reactive” and face larger risk in order to see larger rewards. The Architect is one of the first team members to have the ear of the client on a project and should not immediately hand the work over to other team members and lose a larger piece of the pie. Take a deep breath, understand the power you have at that moment and be creative about how you can become a stakeholder in the project. You can invest your fee in the project or go as far as become a stakeholder by financing the project or becoming one of the financiers of the project. Of course this philosophy is not for everyone. Not everyone is a risk taker so it is important to know yourself and the level of risks/rewards you are willing to accept.

Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. 

Architects should be”Builders” instead of reducing the scope of their work and being specialized players in the development of a project. One approach is to be the “Construction Manager” on the project. The beauty of this philosophy as that you can calculate and manage your risks and determine how to proceed by educating yourself and the client. Of course you must have the proper insurance for your venture. There is insurance available for almost anything for a price so it’s important to make sure that you speak to your insurance agent to make sure that you are properly covered before embarking on your venture.  As the Architect’s responsibilities shrink so does his/her control and his/her rewards. By simply taking on the role of a traditional Architect your fees are immediately reduced.  The Architect can even take on the role of cost estimator by creating a data base from recent schedule of values and contractor’s application for payments. Again, we have this knowledge and experience but are we using it to it’s fullest extent?

Another way to gain control of a project is to include a simple bar chart in the specifications and/or in the General Contractor’s contract.  Avoid submitting “builder sets” because complete drawings will help lower your risk dramatically. The developer’s/contractor’s vision of a project may not be the same as yours so make sure that all the important details are properly illustrated in the construction drawings regardless if it is a public bid or a developer’s builder set.

Another crucial step in becoming a larger stakeholder in the project is to know your Banker. You can do this by joining an advisory board for your local bank or having lunch with your banker. Bankers can be valuable in educating Architects on how the finances of a project work. Your Banker will probably tell you that he/she will need an appraisal, an estimate, sketches of the proposed project, and a history of your persona! assets to determine whether the project is even feasible. So take you Banker out to lunch and it will help you learn about current market information. Remember that Banker’s like to lend the bank’s money to professionals because they know that professionals are educated, responsible, and cautious, which means that the bank’s money will be safer.

It is important to understand OPM – other people’s money – and what it can do for you. So take your accountant out to lunch! It is important to learn how to use other people’s money to help you realize your project.  Investors and bankers allow the Architect to take on more risk thereby increasing their fees and cash flow. Architects have to start putting projects together so that they can have greater control over a project’s outcome. By making money and
by providing extra services for which the Architect is properly compensated it will grant the Architect access to creating and shaping a community.

There are 5 components to every Performa:
1. Buy (Acquisition and Closing Costs)
2. NE and Build
3. Soft Costs (Legal, accounting, contingency, surveys, insurance, utilities, operation and maintenance, etc.)
4. Marketing (Real-estate, lease broker, etc.)
5. Profit

Every Architect interested in generating more work, making more money, and having more control over his/her projects should learn to put a Performa together in addition to pretty sketches which can enhance one’s communities.  Since every situation is different it is important to have a good staff of consultants – lawyers, accountants, bankers, tax consultants, insurance representatives, etc. working with you. Get to know your key advisors (“Mastermind Group”) and pay them well because their work can greatly impact the success of your ventures. Having a great team of experts whom you trust is important to assure that you are minimizing your risks.

Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder.

Unfortunately, these lessons are not taught in school, however, I do encourage you the reader to educate yourself about the possibilities of becoming more involved in a project. Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder. As Architects take on more responsibility and start to make more money in their practices Architecture as a whole will prosper because with money comes power. With power comes the potential to focus on rebuilding communities and time to sculpt meaningful Architecture.
Do not stop learning how the Architect can take on more responsibility and attain larger rewards, remember RISK = REWARD and having control over a project is the key to success.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


From Paper and Pencil to Reality Through Collaboration

One of the last two projects I worked on while at Cubellis Ecoplan (now Environetics) is currently under construction (below).  The other project I was fortunate to design was the Delaware Welcome Center (featured here).  I was only involved in the design and design development of both projects (not the construction) but they were fun to work on with the other team members.  As the lead Project Manager I collaborated with others because I feel that through collaboration the best product can be delivered to the client.  The sketch below was the result of about a work week worth of sketching with various people around the office.  Every line and every curve was meticulously thought out and designed to be exactly where it needed to be (sort of like when Kahn said, What does this brick want to be?).  Although it was unfortunate that the timing of my departure occurred before I could be involved with wrapping up the construction drawings and overseeing construction, it is still rewarding to see the progression of the construction of this 45,000 SF project at one of NJ’s largest Universities.  There is no feeling like the one you get watching the lines you drew on a piece of paper become reality right before your eyes.  Although I’m not involved in construction I quietly admire all the contractors and design team members that are helping my design become a reality.  Without the collaboration of many this vision would have never been able to be executed.

Finley Hall – Under Construction

Finley Hall – Design by Frank Cunha III

Finley Hall

Click Here to Read More about this building.

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.