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The future of BIM

Having worked with BIM for the last 9 years, our BIM designers have come to know the capabilities of the process well. As one of the first in the UK to make the monumental move over to Building Information Modelling (BIM) we’ve had time to get acquainted.This holistic process ultimately allows an architect to use specific information in order to model a building, room, or structural design before construction. BIM is uniquely intricate and accounts for the larger fixtures and fittings down to the smaller details such as chairs and desks etc. Harnessing this process, we’ve also investigated the capabilities of BIM processes for the future.

The future of BIM is…. apparently non-existent. Many researchers and BIM users alike proclaim that BIM will evolve into Building Information Optimisation (BIO). A phrase coined by Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at EvolveLAB, Bill Allen. The introduction of BIO will mark the turn of the century in architecture and design. Designers will collect data and feed information into a computer, this information will act as guidelines for the software to read and comply with when designing an optimised building.

The influence of BIM

BIM is enabling a rapid transition within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. BIM allows for both 3D and 2D design, whilst promoting collaboration. BIM is driving positive business project outcomes and supporting the digital transformation of the companies that embrace it. Whilst we don’t believe that any set way of design is incorrect. We do believe that BIM is a tool enabling you to streamline your design and fit-out or construction process. Across the UK and Ireland, 82% of BIM-enabled firms will be using BIM on more than half of their projects by 2024. [1]

We have supplied 3D models to some of the biggest global companies after installation is complete. Seeing BIM as a tool to help with the construction, we use it as a means of back-up. Consequently, when inevitable clashes arise, you can lean on your comprehensive 3D model as a means of reference. This is due to our brilliant design teams’ meticulous eye-for-detail with these amazing designs. Ideally listing all relevant information specified by the client or architect.

This information is populated into a non-proprietary data format programme, ‘Construction Operations Building Information Exchange’ (COBie). COBie is an industry-standard plug-in that works effectively with BIM, it is also mandated by the UK Government. COBie is populated with the requested information and speaks to BIM in order to support the product details within 3d design. The future of BIM and COBie as projected by Paul Morell, Chief Government Construction Advisor is to “get the whole industry- over the space of five years- to where the leading edge already is”. As a company using COBie and BIM harmoniously, our ambition is to share information and help grow the BIM/COBie community. Morell speaks of a period of ‘5 years’ within which every government lead fit-out, such as our work with HMRC harnesses the power of COBie and BIM.

BIM in practice

Consequently, some of our most prestigious projects to date heavily relied on BIM designs. We installed our partitions throughout Deloitte’s offices in London. Sheppard Robson Architects specified a wide array of bespoke partitions and from that specification. We used the collaborative process of BIM level 2, building, sending and amending our designs with the designs of the architect. This enabled us to create our partitions to fit the space perfectly without even seeing the space.

The future

“In the future, rather than gathering data and reporting on that data, we will use data to inform our designs”, Bill Allen. Using computer programs which make the design process easier, we will see continuous development in this area. Problem-solving add-ons are in existence, even now, and these will shape the way with more difficult designs.

We collect data which informs dimensions, statistics, and details on the space. Our designers use this collected data to populate a program (BIM, Dynamo, Rhino etc.). We then create the best conceivable layout. We imagine the future will have computers process data input and layout from the concept through to manufacturing. From optimising underfloor pipework to placing an indoor aquarium, to understanding where employees will benefit from natural light. The evolution from BIM to BIO will be substantial, giving a great amount more detail than ever before.

On the other hand, when we are building new or bespoke products, intricate details and curves will no longer be a difficulty, as these design features will be read from provided data. Subsequently, when installing our curved glass, we will be able to cut time and resources. Furthermore, CNC’s (Computer Numerical Control) and other similar technologies will turn existing CAD (Computer-Aided Software) designs into numerics which can be read as manufacturing coordinates.  

How BIM has shaped these changes?

Over the years our designers have effectively used BIM in populating data to a specific object. The BIO concept takes this ingenious design capability and builds upon the foundation. This is by developers adding the element of computer recognition, understanding a ‘design language’, be it binary, coordinates or otherwise. Construction companies have already trialed this language in a construction environment. Using drones to lift heavy hauls of bricks to destinations faster than a human ever could. Or in Sweden, where a Semi-Automated Mason brick-laying machine read the language and began laying 1000 perfectly patterned bricks an hour. An experienced brick-layer may lay 1200 bricks a day. We aspire to use this ‘design language’ and BIO in a way where we no longer must input data. The data speaks directly with the program.

It is plain to see that BIM is the first stage to a new dynamic in the evolution of the design process. Whether BIO comes to fruition is still questionable, though, with technological advancements, it sounds like this is the next logical step.


[1] What Is BIM | Building Information Modelling | Autodesk


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