Like the former passage from RAD (Rotring Aided Design) to CAD translated into an evolution in work methods, CAD to BIM will increase design office productivity.
Projects will be done in less time, with less errors, more precision, more adequate to schedule and clients, on the whole better project quality.
This increase in project quality represents also an increase in architecture quality. While architecture is not exhausted in the project, increase of project quality reflects in the architecture itself.
This being said, I would like to demystify some emerging concepts.
The one that brings me to the computer today is this: Designing in BIM is easier than designing in CAD.
Nothing could be further from truth.
Only one who never designed in a BIM environment could say something like that. As a matter of fact, this “accusation” usually comes from people that never worked with BIM tools, or even CAD tools, and think that the alleged easiness that comes from developing a project in virtual format is such that the architect looses a significant part of his creativity.
For those who, like me, have been adventuring into the uncharted
That effort comes, firstly, from the necessity of solid construction knowledge and experience. It is impossible to develop a digital building that aspires to be a faithful reproduction of reality if you don’t know how buildings are built.
Then we have the ability to handle complex digital tools. BIM software, which is still in an infant stage, is of enormous complexity, and demands discipline, speed of use, and considerable knowledge of computers.
Finally we have the Project concept itself. While CAD consisted of mere RAD reproduction in digital environment, keeping the temporal structure of projects – from program to management – BIM tends to mix the intermediate phases, demanding from the designer a holistic vision of the whole construction process. Thus it becomes possible – and desirable – to design details from early stages, but also possible – and desirable – to make major design changes on later stages.
These heightened difficulties are obviously compensated by all the advantages that the tool provides, like speed, accuracy and quality.
But this increase of project production complexity means that architects will have to learn new competencies, adapt their production methods, if they want to retain what is rightfully theirs: Architecture productions.