Question: What BIM platforms would you choose for Design through Construction BIM?

What do you use? What would you use?
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This is an open question for those who are involved in real BIM, not just using it to produce 3D models, but to really squeeze all its power from design through construction (using it for accurate Quantity Take-Offs, Clash Detection, and COnstruction Simulation).

I'd like to know what combination of Software packages are you using to get a first understanding of the budget needed and to get some insights on what you think it is great from your work flow and what it is not.

The idea is that where I work, we want to become BIM for Construction champions in Spain, but the company also provides design services, so the spectrum of BIM needs is quite wide.

My first thoughts are to use Revit as the design platform and to test the Vico Office Suite as our Virtual Construction Module. I am tending to favor Vico products because we already use Vico Control for project scheduling, so the integration with that would be much easier.

Do you find this to be the right combination? How well do Revit models integrate with Vico Products? If you are involved in a similar workflow (and for that I mean you are doing real BIM, not just marketing BIM), what are you using?

Please share your insights in the comments section.



  1. I have not seen Revit being used as a design tool. I can't imagine how a parametric package could be a design tool. As with CAD- CAD was never a design tool- It was simply a way of technically recording what you had designed either by freehand or on the drawing board.

    I have been told by some that they use Revit in the design phase. How does it work? To be useful for design, a package has to iterate the designers intentions in a freeflowing way. Revit is a respected parametric package but a design package? Really? Tell me more...

  2. Well first of all I would argue that "the design phase" goes way beyond the intial concept. Designing is also finding the adequate solution for a facade corner or how does the facade turn when there is an oopening.
    As I see it not all is about being able to replicate the freehand design.
    I agree that a parametric program poses some challenges. Not because of lack of freedom, but because you have to know how to be free by using the existing constraints.
    In any case, Tell me if I am wrong, but one of the holy grail of Free Design nowadays as many people understanding is Rhino, and Rhino is used together with Grasshopper when you want to have certain control over your "free desing" basically, you parametrize your freedom to be able to modify it.
    Could revit be made simpler? DEFINETILY!

  3. I agree that there is a lot more to design than the initial concept. However in relation to overall design I think that a model should be reasonably advanced before going parametric- I can totally see your point about using a parametric tool to design details- maybe I didn't interpret you correctly.

    I'm sure there will be a middle ground somewhere but where to find it. I haven't seen Rhino in action. I know a lot of designers think its a great tool. Does it export to other packages? Revit for example?

    I recently experimented with doing a parametric model in SketchUp by creating and using dynamic components. It kind of worked but it was a once-off experiment- I was able to get all of the info from the model including practically of the 2D construction drawings but the process showed me two things:

    1. Parametric modelling for small projects is overkill (probably) no matter what package you are using- Unless you are using a very standard construction system. I am genuinely interested to see if this opinion can be challenged- Needs good examples.

    2. I think a decent but more basic model needs to be produced before the parametric phase. There are many reasons for this, one being that anything that slows down overall design kills design. The other is raw economics- I imagine the client doesn't want to pay for a parametric model before the design is proven. It is often difficult to justify this cost before having a permission to build. The parametric model can be built using the simpler model as a template.

    After the design is in good shape (and the project is of sufficient size) I would definitely go for a big BIM solution. What do you think?

  4. Agree with part of your second point. There is a moment to go parametric and before it doesn't make sense:initial ideas, physical model, etc.
    But I would say that the client is not paying you or should not be paying you "for a parametric model" the client pays you to design or to build (or both) a building. And that is what matters.
    Check Onuma s approach and how he uses BIM to get initial building volumes, sizes, etc. from a spreadsheet with room/space requirements.
    About point 1, well, I am studying this and have no numbers yet to support if there is a project size threshold. But as a concept I would argue that you wouldn't use a typewriter instead of a computer with word processor if you novel is very short, even if you are just writing a short essay. You want to keep what you wrote (words, sentences, etc) stored, organised, available and reusable. Why not do that with the information about your building even if it is small?


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