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BIMX: Visualizing the Future

Thursday, July 26, 2018
By: Todd Rainsberg, CSI, CDT – Project Manager/Designer

Remodeling a room in your home can sometimes be a daunting task consisting of countless hours of gathering “inspirational images” for design ideas, selecting colors and furniture, and numerous trips to home improvement stores. Whether it’s a DIY or a hired professional project, “seeing” your vision isn’t fulfilled until the project is complete. 

Imagine that same approach on a larger scale project, such as the renovation of a corporate office building or construction of a new school. Embarking on a project of that size without seeing a “final” product until after completion can be frustrating and unnerving.

Having the client involved throughout the design and construction process is essential. “I can’t see my building”, “I can’t imagine what it looks like” or “I don’t understand a floor plan or elevation” are statements heard from clients when looking at 2D drawings. Most clients have an inexperienced eye for understanding plans, sections, and elevations shown on design or construction documents. Technology has been changing and evolving, providing a better way to present projects to our clients that has a more visual approach.

Building Information Model Explorer or BIMx for short, is an interactive 3D visualization tool that allows us to present the building model to our clients so they can experience the model in a “real world” scenario. They are able to “walk-thru” the spaces and see design features, colors, textures, finishes, and get a feel for the spatial relationships throughout the entire project, prior to the start of construction. The project model is developed in Archicad, a 3D Architectural BIM software for design and modeling developed by Graphisoft, and exported as a BIMx model. Once exported by our architects, the BIMx file can be viewed on any PC, MAC, tablet, and/or mobile device with the FREE downloadable viewer. 

On the recent Lake Local Schools project, the BIMx models offered a unique opportunity for SHD to collaborate with 10-12 of their high school students and teach them how to create unique BIMx walk-through videos. These high school students spent an afternoon with our staff learning about the BIMx models and the new buildings for Lake Local Schools. Once completed, the students’ videos were then uploaded to the school’s website for District viewing.

Presenting with the BIMx model throughout the design process allows constant collaboration between the entire design team. By integrating 2D drawings and the 3D model, BIMx hyper-model, we can help bridge the gap between the project design phase and the construction site. Carrying rolls of drawings on a construction site may become a thing of the past and carrying a BIMx model may be the “vision” of now.

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