Cadalyst AEC Tech News #129 (October 7, 2004)

6 Oct, 2004 By: Michael Dakan

We've reported on GeoPraxis' contributions to building information modeling extensions previous issues of AEC Tech News (March 4, 2002, and August 5, 2004), when the company introduced its Green Building Studio software and Web site. This product greatly expanded the usefulness of BIM (building information model) throughout the design, construction, and operation lifecycle by enabling building engineering analysis and design in the 3D BIM.

The system establishes an engineering data XML schema you can utilize by way of several engineering software tools. The Green Building Studio Web site offers some engineering functions as server-based applications you can access for free. You perform building energy use analysis on the BIM so the BIM team can quickly see the energy use implications of design decisions from the earliest stages of design throughout the building lifecycle.

GeoPraxis Releases BIM Adoption Survey
GeoPraxis was in the news again recently to announce the release of a survey on the adoption rate of BIM and 3D building modeling in architectural and engineering design practice. A team from GeoPraxis carried out the study, sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric and with assistance from McGraw-Hill Construction, Autodesk, and Bentley Systems.

A total of 585 architects and engineers responded to the survey. Of the CAD-using respondents, 52% reported that they produce a 3D model on 75% or more of their projects. They reported that the promise of integrating whole-building energy analysis, cost estimating, energy code compliance, and LEED certification were key drivers in the expanded use of 3D CAD and BIM in their firms. They also said they would be using these tools more if clients and building team members simply asked for BIM models instead of 2D drawings. They suggested that municipal building departments, utility efficiency programs, and green building rating organizations could become major instruments of change for the AEC industry.

This relates strongly to the report issued by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) that addressed the staggering costs associated with inadequate interoperability in the AEC industry, which we discussed in the September 16, 2004, issue of AEC Tech News. BIM tools and techniques are potentially an important part of the answer to the $15.8 billion annual cost to the AEC industry estimated by the NIST report.

Design Community Sees BIM Potential
Design professionals responding to the GeoPraxis survey offered a wish list of tools that would encourage them to use BIM and 3D CAD more often. In addition to energy analysis, cost estimating, energy code compliance, and LEED certification, they desire building systems and materials selection; HVAC, plumbing, electrical and lighting design; ADA compliance; fire code analysis; and structural analysis, among other features. The demand for new BIM tools and uses is growing and gaining ground as more people discover the usefulness of BIM — and the potential of a complete BIM model. Market penetration and use of BIM software seems to be occurring faster than anyone predicted, and is accelerating at a greater rate than predicted.

The complete survey results are available on the GeoPraxis Web site, complete with the survey questionnaire and detailed results of each question. It's interesting reading and offers a glimpse of what would have to be considered the leading edge of the movement toward BIM adoption.

As GeoPraxis was releasing its survey results, it was also announcing its expanded Market Research and Consulting practice, headed by industry veteran Thomas Conlon. The survey is an example of the kind of work the group can do, as well as a tool for GeoPraxis' own marketing and promotion efforts for Green Building Studio. GeoPraxis Market Research and Consulting is available to assist with strategic planning, market research surveys, and focus group projects using cutting-edge survey and analysis tools.

Exciting things are happening in the world of 3D CAD and BIM, and GeoPraxis' tools and enhancements to BIM are a significant part of that, and a product of the movement to realize the potential of BIM.