The more Building Information Modelling (BIM) influences the construction industry, the more debates will start to rage.
Most are embracing its positive impact on productivity, but for some there remains a lingering doubt: does BIM restrict architects’ creative opportunities?
Whether through social media or online and print publications, there are architects voicing their scepticism, and on the face of it you may empathise with their concern.
No architect aspires to be predictable in their designs – architectural innovation is constantly pushing boundaries, and nobody wants to see our buildings fit to a standard type. New innovations in building design are a source of satisfaction for all: from architects, contractors and engineers, right through to building operators, occupants and those people who are simply passing by.
But how strong are the foundations of the scepticism? Delve deeper and they start to look a little shaky.
A primary benefit of BIM is the impact is has on productivity, which translates to the saving of time. The time saved means more time to design. We’ll see a huge reduction of nagging ‘minor’ complications that can frustrate an architect – and major misjudgements that can cost a fortune for all involved. Optimised BIM software can detect any restrictions from the offset, guiding the creative thought process and detailing what is and isn’t achievable.
The practical application of an architect’s vision may be difficult in reality, and BIM simply helps to identify the potential difficulties earlier in the project. Risk management is streamlined, and ROI is improved through the reduction of reworks and the need to correct errors.
BIM should be embraced as a cost-cutting productivity tool that not only detects potential faults in a design, but can in fact find new freedoms for a design. We are only scratching the surface of its potential in construction, and as architects learn more and the software develops, the creative possibilities will surely become greater, not fewer.
It is in fact an excellent tool for turning architects’ creativity into a tangible reality. In turn it provides clients with an aesthetically pleasing presentation of the end result, as well as detailing into the building’s operational and environmental performance.
Ask architects from times gone by and they would likely reminisce on similar discussions being had about the introduction of CAD software – arguably the driving force behind the evolution of building construction in the past 30 years. BIM can have the same impact.
The ability of architects to continuously evolve, adapt and unearth innovative new building possibilities means that their artistic visions will never be cast aside. Whether it is a pencil or a computer, no tool can limit creativity – only the skill of its user.
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