Historically, architectural design has relied on envisioning the building based on sketch, physical models and drawings. However, as the existing conceptions of practices continue to be broadened and challenged, innovation is now a key element for the architectural services sector to meet the challenges of fast-moving change.
The urgency for innovation can be seen in the statistic provided by the NSW Architect Registration Board , which sees Australia’s $100 billion built environment sector expecting to reach AUD 7.1 billion by 2020.
The building and architecture industry is undergoing significant changes driven by specialised design software solutions such as Building Information Modelling (BIM).
The advent of BIM has transformed the architectural design from paper sketches into a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building that can be communicated across all agents of the project.
BIM has been a major driver in the transformation of architectural processes through the intelligent 3D software that allows architects to envisage what a completed design will look like in detail ahead of time. Across all stages of planning, designing, constructing and managing buildings, BIM increases efficiency and cross-discipline integration.
Architecture design processes
BIM incorporates time and costs into the model which allows users to manage information intelligently. Throughout the lifecycle of an architectural design project, there is a plethora of interactions between multiple parties which can add to the complexity of the process.
Projects modelled in BIM can include the real products and materials that will be used to build them, incorporating physical properties, characteristics and cost into the model.
This streamlines the process of design and communicates complicated information accurately to everyone involved. The advantage of BIM lies in allowing the joint work of architects, clients, builders, engineers and other stakeholders to occur within a single intelligent and shared process, making it a critical tool for the digital age.
Designing for the environment
With global greenhouse emissions growing by two per cent in 2017 , building sustainable architecture has been always a hot-topic amongst architects. Environmental ratings, such as Green Star, encourages organisations to adopt designs which emit the least carbon emissions.
Building sustainable designs with BIM increases integration and efficiency to streamline the construction process and significantly reduce the chance of human error.
Fewer physical materials are used during the construction stage which can cut costs and wasted resources. BIM-based products also allow architects to measure and analyse the effects of daylighting to conduct an energy analysis of maximising the sustainability of a building.
Despite general consensus indicating that implementation of BIM has stalled due to the lack of effort made to mandate adoption or develop national standards, BIM is still recognised as strong drivers to accelerate the economy. By obtaining a built asset for less, clients can invest more in their buildings which can overall improve the economy and reduce waste.
Currently, a BIM task group in Queensland is taking on a three-pronged approach to protect the future for architects. By raising the awareness of BIM with extensive knowledge of all components in the software, an architect will be able to use it to its full potential.
Additionally, as understanding BIM is becoming one of the critical skills for the current practice of architecture and design, the workforce needs to adopt those changes. Training is a crucial element to the approach of improving adoption and driving change in the design industry.
A great example which shows the effects of increased adoption of this methodology is with Neeson Murcutt Architects, Durbach Block Architects and CHROFI, which reacted to the demand of these critical skills by effectively implementing BIM training programs.
This resulted in increased capabilities in delivering high quality design to current date standards, showing how crucial the expertise on design tools is for the growth and development of the industry. Clearly, a key priority for businesses is to adopt BIM as part of their design process.
BIM is an invaluable process offering an abundance of benefits to the architecture and design industry. Projects which leverage BIM capabilities of integration, cost-efficiency and flexibility have better chances of success at every stage of the project.
Australia’s current design landscape is falling behind the world average due to lack of training, knowledge and skilled resources to utilise the software.
However, learning from the example of Neeson Murcutt Architects, Durbach Block Architects and CHROFI in their adoption of BIM, Australia’s design industry has a strong potential to drive value.
*Mike Russell is COO of Central Innovation.