Building Information Modeling (BIM) and green building design are two trends in the A/E/C industry that show no signs of slowing down. Both are becoming more and more common in the work that we do as structural engineers, and we think it’s important to understand that they are mutually beneficial components of the design process. They are both important concepts that can reinforce and support each other. That’s why we’ve created a Top Five list of ways that BIM and green building design go hand in hand.
- Team collaboration and shared knowledge: Because BIM inherently includes a higher level of coordination and information sharing from the earliest conceptual stages through design and construction, sustainable design options can be considered at a much earlier point in the process and with more immediate knowledge about their feasibility. In addition, the eventual functionality of a sustainable design feature can be assessed and evaluated more easily as the interplay between discipline-specific data is incorporated into the model.
- Integrating the structural system: Because the mechanical system of a building plays such a large role in its overall sustainability rating, finding a way to design a structural system that integrates with it more fully is extremely valuable. With BIM, our engineers can design a system that aligns more cohesively with the mechanical system and provides extra support in reaching certain sustainability benchmarks.
- Limits waste during manufacturing and construction: BIM models reveal conflicts between systems that are often only identified in the field. By discovering the conflicts earlier, material waste can be prevented and time efficiency can be increased.
- Life-cycle management: 6D BIM can be especially useful in the operation and maintenance of a facility throughout its life-cycle. Because all relevant building component information is included in the model, maintaining and tracking the functionality of sustainable features is performed in a more well-rounded and long-term way.
- Finding the most sustainable structural system for a project: Our engineers play a big role in a building’s overall carbon footprint when they decide which structural system will be used for design. With BIM, alternative systems can be considered and assessed in the earliest concept states, giving our engineers the opportunity to determine which system will result in the lowest carbon footprint. Choosing one structural system over another can have a huge impact on a facility’s overall sustainability, and BIM allows our engineers to make a more informed decision from the beginning.