Full Circle Newsletter
An e-Newsletter for the Clients and Friends of C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A.

August 2006

Building Information Models

Fire Station Prototypes

Building Information Models

Integrated Practices And Building Information Models
Improving the Process of Designing and Constructing Buildings

The practice of architecture is on the threshold of a paradigm shift the likes of which the industry has never seen. “Technological evolution coupled with owner demand for better, faster, less costly construction projects and more effective processes are driving change in the construction industry in general and architecture practice in particular,” according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The catalysts of this impending change are the concept of integrated practice and the emergence of Building Information Models (BIM) technology.

The AIA calls integrated practice “a new vision” that will enable architects to thrive as designers while expanding their value throughout a project’s lifecycle. The concept uses “fully collaborative, highly integrated, and productive teams composed of all project life-cycle stakeholders,” according to the AIA. “Leveraging early the contributions of individual expertise, these teams will be guided by principles of true collaboration, open information sharing, team success tied to project success, shared risk and reward, value-based decision making, and utilization of full technological capabilities and support.”

Integrated practice will benefit clients in ways that are immeasurable. “Over the last century, the number of specialists involved in a building has exploded, but the feedback from these specialists to the designer happens only at discrete points and with varying frequency,” according to industry newsletter AECbytes. “It is this discontinuity that causes much of the coordination errors and reworks that plague the design and construction process.”

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is being touted widely throughout the AEC industry as cutting-edge and the future of the profession. BIM is a digital and dynamic representation of the building process that merges the architectural design with a database of project information related to engineering, construction and client specifications.

Some industry analysts are comparing the advent of BIM to the introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) in the 1990s. However, the two are fundamentally different. CAD is simply a 2-D computer drafting tool. BIM has a much broader application for process improvement in the design and construction of buildings.

For instance, one of the drawbacks of CAD is its inability to translate complex renderings into practical plans. BIM bridges the divide by integrating building schedules, databases and budgeting software into 3-D modeling. How does BIM advance the integrated practice concept? The technology provides all of a project’s stakeholders – including architects, contractors and the client – with up-to-date information about the project, such as costs and duration, and updates these variables whenever when the design changes.

C.T. Hsu + Associates and the AIA share a strong commitment to advancing the acceptance of integrated practice and BIM project planning within our profession. Hector Torres-Oyola, AIA, an associate of the firm, leads the implementation of these practice changes and processes, continuously identifying new technologies to improve the efficiency of our entire communication system, design and printing capabilities.

All images and articles copyright © 2008 C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A.

C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A.
820 Irma Avenue • Orlando, FL 32803 • 407 423 0098 • Fax 407 423 4793

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