Designing, constructing and maintaining a building is usually a very complex process that requires the close co-operation of several people working in different fields. The figure below shows the many possible participants of a building project, including the building owners, developers, contractors, engineers, facility managers and of course the architect. The architect has a very important role in this hierarchy, since he/she is the only one who continuously has to provide data about the current status of the design for all the other project stakeholders. If an architectural firm does not adapt to this communication-centric and collaborative world, it will slowly be cut out from big projects.
The BIM method offers a very efficient and automated communication platform for the building industry. By using the BIM model in practice, the architect will not be the only beneficiary of the virtual project. The owner and all the members of the project team also benefit. The key is that the architect is the focus of the entire process and adds significant value – and gets paid higher fees! This is the notion of moving from a “file-based environment” towards a “data-based environment”: what we call a BIM project.
The BIM model, when imported into external analysis programs, allows a wide range of analytical activities including structural analysis, energy efficiency analysis and code checking (collision detection). These tools help minimize the risk of construction and design errors.