7 questions to understand BIM services and where the future is going
The BIM modeling services industry requires to be constantly up-to-date. The digital representation of buildings always has software development and advancements on the way. We asked Lucrecia Cocucci, our BIM director, to give us some insights and her point of view on the future of BIM.
Building Information Modeling is a process that changed the AEC industry and made work more efficient. It gives architects, engineers and construction professionals the possibility to plan, design, build and manage buildings and infrastructure reducing the margin of error substantially.
CorbisStudio is an AEC technical and BIM services provider with vast experience in the field. That’s why we shared a conversation with Lucrecia Cocucci, our BIM director, who told us how BIM modeling services are handled every day on our worldwide projects and how does she see the future of the BIM industry.
What does a BIM manager do?
The BIM Manager job covers several aspects at CorbisStudio. It is a position responsible for both the models’ quality and the projects’ efficiency. It deals a lot with BIM standards at the office.
It works side by side with the design teams. The BIM manager becomes the nexus between BIM coordinators and Project Managers. It is responsible for the unity of all those positions.
Additionally, it carries out all the research. It is the person in charge of making sure that the latest technology is being used, investigating where we are going and aligning all innovations with the company’s vision.
The BIM manager addresses several fronts and, obviously, it is a position that relies on the BIM coordinators. Each one has specific roles and a distinct focus on the field. They focus on research, standards, or software application.
Everyone has their profile and we try to work with that to achieve the best outcome for all our projects.
What are BIM outsourcing services?
We have different BIM services. For example, within the Project Delivery sphere, we mostly apply REVIT for all projects.
There is also the Clash Detection sphere, carried out by the engineering area. This is a crossing between disciplines and allows interference detection in a project before the building process starts.
At the moment, we are also researching and experimenting with the application of CIM methodology, which combines digital methods and new processes. This allows us to increase efficiency when taking a project into reality.
CIM is the acronym for Construction Information Modeling. This is a super new terminology, where reality starts to cross with virtuality. This way, in the initial stages of a project, it is possible to anticipate what is going to happen and avoid inconveniences, such as delays in the project.
CorbisStudio is on its initial stages as regards CIM and we are beginning to apply it to new projects that will be under the IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) service.
This is something we are trying to innovate on in Argentina. It is a very incipient methodology, which was originated in Japan as a result of some big projects, on which they combined BIM modeling technology with augmented reality and virtual reality. This created a new work process and they called it CIM.
CIM is like any other process. It takes time to train people to grasp it and it takes time to adopt it. However, the results are very good since it organizes work and makes it more efficient.
Lucre in our special room "The Island".
How does BIM modeling services mitigate risk in construction projects?
What Building Information Modeling does is to create prototypes of what the project will be in reality.
Then, it allows you to get ahead of what is going to happen, saving time and money. In the end, what it does is to coordinate work, make it as efficient as feasible and get it out in the shortest time possible with the least amount of inconveniences.
In order to get to these results, it is necessary to prepare beforehand. This is not achieved only by deciding to use REVIT or BIM and believe that everything will go alright. It is essential to get a well-prepared team with a strong predisposition to embrace change.
In general, professionals who are not used to working with BIM software are reluctant to change. There needs to be a change when it comes to making decisions: we need to anticipate to them.
When we start modeling, we have to know what the finished floors will be like, what materials will be used and so on. These are features we have to know before we model in order to avoid errors.
For example, we recently visited the construction site of one of our local projects in Argentina. This project was designed for a porcelain tile flooring. Then, it was decided to go for another material like, say, ceramic. That makes the carpet height change; therefore, the height ratio between floor and ceiling changes. So, it stops complying with the norm.
All this has to be foreseen. If not, there are so many things that might change. And those changes can be very expensive.
People who work with BIM models know that all those decisions have to be taken beforehand.
In any case, the methodology is not so rigid that it does not allow changes at all, but we must know that these changes generate a great impact when it comes to costs.
What is your preferred software and why?
Within all the software available to work with BIM models, I choose REVIT. While it is not perfect, it has great virtues. It is by far the most adopted and it is the one that we have been using for more than 10 years. There are other options but being the most used in the community, it has great support.
Another program that is highly used is ArchiCAD. It has been out there for a long time, even before REVIT, but it does not have much support and it is not very intuitive.
REVIT is not the most intuitive either, but there is a lot of supporting material and it has many tutorials, a lot of information. Plus, it is the software that all our clients use.
REVIT has great add-ins as well. There is also Dynamo, which allows to do graphics programming and to create applications without being a programmer.
This makes REVIT even more flexible. It allows us, architects, to create certain applications that the program does not include. Thus, we can make our projects super efficient because we can automate tasks that take a long time if we do them manually.
In terms of add-ins at CorbisStudio, we have had some developed, such as CorbisSniffer, CorbisNavis, and CorbisSieve, which we use a lot every day. Plus, we are creating our own gallery of Dynamo nodes, which we are using on our projects since the time they save is significant.
Our clients appreciate and ackowledge our BIM seniory when working with us.
How does MEP BIM help the construction process?
Building Information Modeling develops systems of facilities that allow them to be combined with other disciplines.
This allows us to see any interferences that could be generated. In Argentina, this is hardly done since everyone works with AutoCAD. One example has to do with pipes. Pipes have slopes and we cannot always see if the slope is correct or if it is not going to cause an interference with something else.
For example, in car parking buildings, this is crucial because the height between the floor and the ceiling is very short and limited. If there are large buildings and infrastructures above, there are probably going to be large air conditioning ducts. If that is not taken into consideration in the height, perhaps a car won’t be able to fit.
According to your experience at CorbisStudio in the use of BIM... when we work with other studios, are we on par with them? Are we better?
In the vast majority of cases, we are superior. Our team almost always ends up becoming a leverage in our clients’ seniority. Taking deliverables out of the question, when our BIM coordinators participate in project delivery around the world they end up being the BIM reference in the client's office.
Luckily, we can say that our level is never below others and after having read most of our clients’ feedbacks about our BIM coordinators, for example, Maite Urani or Flor Gariglio, we can be sure that they all take them as referents. Moreover, they return to our offices and continue to receive inquiries related to BIM modeling.
Another aspect in which we have been collaborating a lot is in BIM360. BIM360 allows us to work collaboratively with clients in real time. It is a new platform in Autodesk and we have invested a lot of time studying and testing it. In many cases, clients also consult us about the use of this platform.
For example, Studio T Square asked us to guide them on how to set up their accounts and how to use them.
As for the use of plug-ins, we present our BIM software developments to our customers as part of our solutions. In fact, some of them use our CorbisSieve and CorbisSniffer on a day to day basis. So, going back to the question, it is very clear to our clients what our level of seniority is.
What is your look at the BIM services industry in the future?
According to my perspective, the future tends to go into the graphics programming direction.
Besides knowing about architecture, we’ll probably have to learn more about programming because everything tends to be automated.
That doesn’t mean that I believe machines will replace architects. But the big software companies are moving toward a simpler and more automatic use. This way, people have more time to think about design and exploit their creativity, which is what no machine can do.
Now, with the use of 3D printers and virtual reality you can work with digital representations and get creative. The results you might obtain are really impressive. These days, you can try so many things and experiment with design and construction in so many different ways.
Thus, bringing design to reality can be accomplished with very surprising results.