Whenever I think about the steps that make someone go from 2D CAD to 3D BIM, this image pops to mind.

Hominids have left the safety of the trees to hunt in the Savana, gradually evolving into Homo Sapiens.

The same thing happens with CAD users. The evolution is done in a gradual way, through small steps.

In my personal experience, there are 4 distinct steps, although they can overlap:

1.º – Drawing automation. The biggest motivation for a designer to dump 2D CAD in favor of 3D CAD is undoubtedly the possibility to produce drawings (plan views, sections and details), that update automatically whenever we change the model, and have no inconsistencies between them.

2.º – Renderings. Once we have our virtual model, it is quite easy to produce renderings for free. Instantaneously.

3.º Design decisions. As the software usage becomes more intuitive and less toilsome, one finds out that producing simultaneous and diverging design solutions on a 3D virtual model replaces, advantageously, all those scaleless sketches with distorted and misleading perspectives. I will return to this polemic subject on another post.

4.º True BIM – When becoming proficient on all the above mentioned techniques, it is possible to use the true potential of our 3D Virtual Model. It produces all those hardy boring documents, like material quantities, doors and windows schedules, estimates and others. And we can do this almost from the very beginning of our project, in real time and error free.

This whole evolving process usually takes some years, because it demands a change of the very way we structure our design method.

When people ask me what is the best way to persuade someone to drop 2D CAD in favor of the 3D discipline, which can scare the bravest architect, my advice is:
Take small steps. Focus on the immediate gain, on the first step, automatic drawings.


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