--Designing sustainable buildings

Advancements in software technology have led a new architectural drafting revolution.  Building Information Modeling (BIM) software provides an innovative approach to developing a set of construction drawings for a building.  Compared to CAD, the BIM software essentially creates a drawing for the user according to the provided input, hence the name, ‘information modeling.’  There are many additional advantages that BIM has over CAD software. 

In general, BIM simplifies the drafting process and at the same time provides additional assets to the drawings.  Using one electronic file, an entire set of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural drawings can be created from the architectural model.   The user generated information can be modified to meet the construction specifications.  In other words, every time the user draws a wall, they must declare the composition of the wall section.  This includes products, materials and sizes.  Using this information the software will generate schedules and lists of materials with quantities of materials to purchase.  This is where the main sustainable aspect comes into play.  Limited construction waste is a direct benefit of using BIM software. 

Any BIM object inserted into a drawing can be modified to construction and purchase order specifications.  It can also be changed according to change orders throughout the process.  This complete digital coordination allows for sustainable construction management.  When modeled in BIM software, the initial design is more comprehensive than any initial design in CAD.  With BIM, the drawings will undergo less frequent changes early in the process.  It also enhances construction management with better scheduling of materials and contractors. 

Overall, BIM is a sustainable approach to design and construction that offers simpler drafting with more capabilities to organize a project from pre-construction phases to developing a set of as-builts with limited changes.  CAD and BIM cannot be compared as to which one is better.  Building Information Modeling will eventually undermine the use of CAD in the construction industry as more architects, engineers and contractors become familiar with the software.