1-2-3 REVIT: BIM for Interior Design

15 Dec, 2005 By: AIA ,Rick Rundell Cadalyst

Interior designers have their own ways of using BIM.

Discussions about BIM (building information modeling) typically focus on the design of the outside of the building and the many benefits BIM brings to that aspect of architectural design. We read about massing models and curtain walls, expressive roof forms and detailed wall sections. But what about the inside of a building -- the finishes, the fixtures, the area requirements, the furniture schedules? Does BIM make a difference there?

It most definitely does, and this month I begin a series of articles on how interior designers are using BIM with spectacular results.

Interior Advantages
Regardless of the specialization of the interior design group -- corporate, hospitality, retail, etc. -- interior designers cite several key advantages of BIM:

  • The speed and ease of creating an interior design model, coupled with the ability to visualize that design.
  • The ability to capture and manage the design as multiple options within a single model -- options that may vary anything from space layout to material selections.
  • The richness and reliability of the data embodied within BIM. This is fundamental for early tasks such as schematic space planning and master scheduling; the accuracy of detailed design activities like quantification and costing and finally for the production of well-coordinated documentation.

I'll start with creating and visualizing the interior design. In the coming months, I'll examine how interior designers use BIM as a way of capturing their design in multiple design options and how interior designers leverage the information stored and managed within the building model.

Creating the Design Model
Architects and designers working on the interiors of a building sometimes start with the building shell CAD files from their own firm or another firm. But in many cases, the building shell might pre-date the interiors project by many years with only paper documentation to rely on. Because it's so easy to create a 3D model with a BIM solution like Revit Building, these designers will sometimes quickly model the relevant portions of the building exterior off the 2D or paper floor plans as a way of starting their project.

As the interior design progresses (spaces defined, walls created, fixtures added, finishes selected) a parametric building modeler like Revit Building preserves design intent, coordinates changes and maintains consistency within the project design. If the designer changes the plan layout, the related ceiling plan and other documentation adjusts automatically. If a wall is deleted, the lighting sconce is deleted too, and the schedule of fixtures is instantly synchronized.

The Revit Building library features families of equipment and components. The parametric nature of the library elements means users have a vast selection to choose from. Manufacturers and vendors, industry groups (like the Woodwork Institute of California) and user communities (like or AUGI forums) provide content as well. Revit Building also provides an easy-to-use family editor to create custom content -- a task some firms assign to a junior team member to build their familiarity with BIM.

Seeing Is Believing
As the design evolves, Revit Building allows designers (and clients) to easily visualize their design in whatever form suits their needs -- from straightforward perspective and axonometric views to the most sophisticated rendered images, 360

About the Author: AIA

About the Author: Rick Rundell

Rick Rundell

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