BIM, the First 21 Years

by John Stebbins, Assoc. AIA

“You mean you can build buildings in 3D on a computer,” I said to a sales rep at a trade show 21 years ago, the first time I saw a building created using a 3D CAD system. I knew instantly that I was looking at the future of architectural software technology, at a time when architects and engineers were just starting to transition from paper to 2D CAD.

That same year I decided to leave my design/build custom home business behind and become an independent sales rep for 3D architectural software. I wanted to contribute to the profession of architecture through advancing technology. Back then, we called it object-based CAD, way before the acronym BIM was coined and I realized then that the days of 2D drafting were numbered.

For many years I felt like a voice crying out in the 2D wilderness, hearing comments like: our clients don’t require 3D, or: clients won’t pay for it, or: we don’t need 3D. Fast forward to today… BIM is all the buzz.

I am out of the wilderness, in the midst of the biggest revolution in the history of the built environment.

Building owners and the whole Building Industry want BIM, but few know how to leverage BIM knowledge and make it work for them.

We have constructed this blog to share our years of 3D technology experience to help the Building Industry – the largest industry in the world – transform by leveraging BIM throughout the building life cycle, from napkin sketch to wrecking ball.

This site puts people doing BIM in front of those who are transitioning to BIM. As this site evolves, we will take up key issues like:

  • Why information about the building is more valuable than the building itself
  • Who owns the model
  • Our biggest fears: legal/liability issues and change
  • How to lead change
  • How to smoothly transition to BIM
  • How many BIM models are necessary
  • What to charge for BIM
  • The downstream use of the model
  • The differences between the Design Model vs. the Constructability Model
  • MEP Model Coordination
  • Using BIM for estimating
  • 3D details and lift drawings
  • Model servers
  • Open standards
  • Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)


Categories: BIM | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. I agree 100% that this is a revolution taking place in the building and AEC Community. I wish that more building owners understood what BIM is and the advantages of BIM for the life-cycle of a project . I look forward to seeing the ongoing discussions on this Blog for all the key issues you have listed and more. Thank you!

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