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BIM - Panel Discussion

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     BIM - Panel Discussion

This special panel discussion fully explores the “Building Information Model” as a concept and process. The panel defines and interprets BIM from various perspectives such as architects, engineers, designers, contractors and large facility owners.

Download the Entire BIM Panel Discussion/Presentation (pps)
Download the Entire BIM Panel Transcript (pdf)

Moderator / host of the panel discussion
Charlie White, AIA

Panel Participants
Mark Aycock - Walmart Store Planning/Design Department
Mike Polley - Harriman Associates
Jonathan Smith - Lake / Flato
Charlie White - Brittain & White Architects & Contractors


Sigma’s BIM Research
  • International Alliance for Interoperability - Primary organization trying to drive BIM. Their goal is to develop a standard universal framework to enable and encourage information sharing and interoperability throughout all phases of the whole building life cycle.
  • IFCs (Industry Foundation Classes) - specify and define common data structures for design elements and project information.
  • GSA (General Services Administration) - defines BIM as a 3-D parametric modeling software, with an underlying database. Any changes made to the model or its documentation automatically update and coordinate everywhere.
  • AIA TAP Committee: strongly pushing the BIM initiative


  • What is BIM?
    Mark Aycock - “relational database plus CAD.”

    Why BIM?
    Charlie White - “Obviously, BIM is going to save somebody or make somebody money.”

    Is BIM More Work?
    Charlie White - “Yes, although it potentially can save time during the construction and life cycle phase of a project. BIM is an additional step in detailed-decision making for a building project.”

    Who owns the BIM?
    Mike Polley - “the architect owns the BIM.”
    Charlie White - “the owner owns the BIM.”
    GSA - “the owner owns the BIM.”

    Is BIM strictly restricted to 3-D information or should that definition be broadened to include 2-D information as well?
    Mike Polley - “it’s both 3-D and 2-D.”
    Mark Aycock - “it’s both a 3-D model and a data model.”
    Jonathan Smith - “I agree with Mark, it's not an either or, it's both.”

    Should the building information model be restricted to the IFC standards or should it be opened to other standards besides IFC?
    Charlie White - “A more powerful way is to have a relational database and that information is being maintained outside the geometry of the drawings and the two are linked and that's going to be a much more efficient way, for instance, for someone who is keeping up with some information that has nothing to do with what an architect does.”

    Does BIM require change?
    Charlie White - “Absolutely, It is a completely different way of working. Mainly, it introduces more detailed decision-making earlier in the process. Also, that detailed decision-making needs to be maintained as the project goes forward.”

    Mark Aycock - Walmart Store Planning/Design
    “I see this push towards BIM being driven by four factors:
         1. Open communication channels due the Internet.
         2. Mature and affordable hardware that anyone can afford.
         3. A need for greater collaboration across teams more instantly.
         4. Increase in relational database technology.

    These factors will allow more informed decisions to be made earlier in the process, but before this can happen the software and thus the user must have all the data that it will need readily available to them at any time.”

    Mike Polley - Harriman
    “One of the things that I think is important in this whole process of looking at BIM and the information modeling is how does this whole process help my bottom line? Can we meet production hours with the work that were doing? If you are going to save someone else an effort then the shift of who gets paid what has to happen.”

    Jonathan Smith - Lake / Flato
    “We as an office basically operate, design, how were using what I call BIM light right now in the office using two different programs (SketchUp & ARRIS) to achieve that, and finally what we as a design firm would like to see BIM be able to do. We see that there is a lot of value in BIM with repeating things but when you are doing houses that alone have 60 different window types we start to wonder how we would be able to use BIM efficiently and how it would help us.”

    More About BIM . . . .