BIM is not a new thing within the architecture industry but it’s benefits, day-to-day use and overall potential is perhaps still being underestimated by architects and similar professionals alike. We have also been guilty in the past of overlooking the potential of BIM and some of the supporting technologies or applications the BIM format has to offer. It seems that there are now so many different BIM applications and software packages to look at, explore and find ways of establishing if they can realistically be used to help office and project work flow, and collaboration.
One application, which has really caught our eye however, and one, which we have started to put to good use, is Graphisoft’s ‘BIMx’ application. In a nutshell BIMx is the latest and greatest way of sharing 3D and 2D building model information with anyone via a free app. brp architects currently use Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD CAD software on a BIM server platform, which allows any project to be teamworked from any location in the world.
Graphisoft have had ‘BIMx’ and ‘Hyper Modelling’ capability integrated within ArchiCAD for a number of years now, but it is only recently that their developments of the software really caught our eye. ‘BIMx’ (or the more comprehensive version ‘BIMx Docs’) allows us to export our building models to an application platform, which is truly portable. Supported by desktop applications, iPad or iPhone the software allows the user to explore, interrogate and fly-through the building model with great ease and with impressive results. The ‘BIMx Docs’ application allows additional exporting of live drawings to add to the model meaning that the potential amount of information we can have at our fingertips, on a portable platform, is massive.
- Some of the main features of the BIMx application allow us to:
- Fly & Walk through a model on any floor exploring all aspects of the proposal
- Hyperlinked 2D & 3D information
- Smooth 2D-3D transition
- Real-time 3D cutaway
- Trace 2D drawings on 3D
- Photo-realistic model
We recently put the ‘BIMx’ application to the test during a meeting with Worcester City Council Planning Department where we took a laptop (which could have easily been an ipad) with a fully integrated ‘BIMx’ Hyper Model of our current project of the new Health and Wellbeing Campus Development at Worcester (Currently under construction). The design model was exported to the ‘BIMx’ platform which contained a fully collaborated landscaping scheme, which was developed in collaboration with the Landscape Architects using BIM principles. The resulting model is an accurate portable 3 dimensional model of the entire £15m development, that is completely explorable.
We used the model to explore a number of design alterations and fine detail with the planning officer with the aim of getting some design revisions approved in principle and to assist in discharging of Planning Conditions. The officer’s reaction to the model was incredibly positive and he seemed to be genuinely impressed with the presentation of the data and the ease of its use. The resulting positive feedback for the changes has provided the client with confidence that the proposed changes would be acceptable to Worcester City Council. The fly-through mode of the application allowed important perspective views to be explored at the request of the Planning Officer so that he could understand the broader implications of the changes.
The possibilities in using this application format for brp architects are immense and ones that we are eager explore further as the real time benefits for client and design team are huge. Technology is now starting to play a massive role in our development and understanding of building design and working on a truly collaborative level.