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BIM – Building Information Modelling

Window models for architects

What is BIM?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) – the planning method of the future

There is no question about it – BIM is the planning method of the future. Building Information Modelling is currently still not widely known, and as views on the topic often clash, we would like to provide a transparent explanation about BIM planning methods.

We want to demonstrate why planning with BIM will soon become standard practice for architects, planners and engineers, and how being an early adopter means that GEALAN is already well positioned as a competent partner for windows and doors when it comes to Building Information Modelling.

What is BIM?

The Building Information Modelling concept (BIM for short) was created by Autodesk – a US software company specialising in digital 2D and 3D design. Renowned CAD manufacturers enables architects and engineers to create and visualise parametric building models using Revit®, ARCHICAD & Allplan – popular BIM programs for architects – as well as to construct and plan in 3D. In order to understand the nature of BIM, it should first be noted that BIM is not itself a type of software, but rather a planning method. When we talk about BIM programs, we are actually referring to CAD software, indicating that the CAD system provider is “BIM ready”. The following example clarifies what BIM means:

In traditional construction planning, the architect uses CAD systems to produce an architectural drawing. These plans are supplied to specialist engineers, authorities, and fire safety experts, among other stakeholders who wish to be kept up-to-date at all times. For architect firms, a constant and considerable priority when designing a building is ensuring that the estimated budget does not get out of hand; costs are calculated based on material quantities derived from estimates based on the drawings. In other words, the geometries are inevitably linked with service components which are defined in monetary terms, as service items are fully listed with details of individual quantities and calculated partial services. But what if there is a change to the floor plan which affects building components such as windows and doors, for example?

In larger projects in particular, changes can continue to arise during the planning phase and often even after construction has begun. When that happens, all drawings must be changed and the quantity measurements adjusted; then all parties involved in construction must be provided with the updated drawings so they can coordinate with the respective technical planning divisions. This amounts to significant additional work and coordination, which also means added potential for error. BIM models address this exact problem. They are used not only to record the geometric structures of a building, but also to store all construction-relevant data and attributes centrally, so that they can be updated if necessary. As such, BIM can be used to optimise building planning to a significant extent, as well as supporting facility management throughout the useful life of the building.

Benefits of BIM

Benefits of planning with BIM

Building and planning in 3D using BIM data allows for a holistic approach to the construction project. The process of BIM modelling a property facilitates continuous data processing throughout the entire lifecycle of the building. The spatial structure, BIM objects and construction services are recorded and assigned appropriate attributes (component type, construction services such as BIM windows and BIM doors, materials used, properties, physical properties, costs, etc.) even before the ground is broken. Any structural changes that may arise are immediately incorporated into the BIM models. This means that the latest BIM data is always available to all parties involved in the project.

Consider a scenario where construction-related changes arise which affect such critical construction services as windows and doors: the BIM window manufacturer which is already using the innovative BIM method and is therefore excellently networked, can respond instantly and initiate the necessary steps in its production planning. Architects’ use of BIM will also mean more efficient communication between clients and manufacturers in future. Because “central” BIM models already exist – with corresponding attributes assigned – which display 3D windows in detail, for example, manufacturers can rapidly provide detailed quotes. BIM façade elements remain clear at all times and can easily be compared with one another, since all attributes of the component are displayed. This means that a BIM window actually becomes a “glass component” which can be opened, along with its data, by all parties involved. BIM requires an overall planning effort which is considerably lower than the conventional approach demands. Linking via attributes allows BIM models to play out all their advantages: project quality improves, planning risks decrease, deadlines are respected and cost control is optimised – thanks to increased transparency and consistently implemented controlling across the entire construction process.

BIM with GEALAN

BIM with GEALAN – equipped for the future

It is not a question of whether planning with BIM will become a reality, but rather when the BIM method will be triumphantly declared as the new standard. The USA, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries have already recognised the potential for success of the BIM method, and gone on to establish it;

in some of these countries, legislators have even made BIM mandatory. In Germany though, CAD systems are still seldom used for “BIM application”. Although BIM models allow for construction sequence scenarios, simulations for the design of technical systems, the detection of geometric conflicts and comprehensive cost management, their value-adding application remains a distant future prospect for many –

at GEALAN, we believe that this has to change. As a system provider of PVC profiles for windows and doors which are used by window manufacturers to produce top-quality, energy-efficient components up to Passivhaus standard, we actively use BIM planning.

Solutions from GEALAN

At GEALAN, we are already capable of manually creating all BIM files for Revit® and IFC format (Industry Foundation Classes: the buildingSmart organisation’s open standard). 
This means that we are the first system provider to be able to create BIM files for Revit® software, in respect of almost any imaginable GEALAN product in the area of windows and doors. In particular, we can integrate our GEALAN-KUBUS® system window elements into architectural planning at a very early stage. GEALAN is already in contact with various architectural and planning firms and provides BIM data to them.

We are also working hard on our new planner software, which will make it possible to automatically generate BIM windows and doors for Revit® and IFC. In addition, we are forging ahead with the enhancement of our planning software for ARCHICAD – a piece of CAD/BIM software used by over 200,000 planners worldwide. We are also focusing on Allplan, because this CAD software makes BIM just as effective for architects and is available worldwide in a total of 20 languages. Planning with BIM means using a project-based database and making your own additions to the information already available. These additions may include separate input screens in which the respective specialist planners can record and maintain all necessary information. In order for BIM objects to be successful, BIM manufacturers must offer absolute transparency and must provide sufficient BIM data. At GEALAN, we are always available to assist customers with the details of downloading BIM data concerning doors and windows.

Our GEALAN planner software clearly shows where the (data) journey is headed, and what architects, planners and window manufacturers can rely on when it comes to planning with BIM in the future. Parameters such as element type, profile system, colour, frame, sash, mullion, glazing, glass strip and connector profile form the design framework for BIM windows. A vinyl window for BIM also includes attributes such as its U-value calculation results. Furthermore, the “PVC window with BIM” provides information about all other properties of the component at a glance, by means of its position text and static pre-dimensioning.

Our BIMobject elements

Would you like an initial look at what BIM support might look like? We are already represented on the BIMobject platform, where you can download our BIM data. We will continue to expand our offering there with additional BIM objects.

Our BIM consultation service

BIM consultation – our experts are here to help you

It is completely understandable for you to have many questions about planning with BIM. We will be pleased to answer them. Our architectural consultancy service offers first-class BIM-related support. GEALAN: Innovation by design – a message that should in future be embedded into construction projects as a matter of course. Let’s shape the future of construction planning together – Building Information Modelling with your expert partner, GEALAN.

To our architectural consultancy service