R-Hauz Blog

Beyond Software: Building With BIM

By: Salman Khalili | July 23, 2020

In our last blog, we went into detail about our construction methods. In the spirit of explaining how and why our building process varies from the traditional, we interviewed our resident BIM expert, Salman Kahlili. Our collective experience as a team is what enables us to create our products in new and more effective ways than those currently on the market.

With a Ph.D. and Postdoctoral research experience Salman is specialized in building information modelling (BIM) and digital technologies in the building industry.  Currently, on top of working at R-Hauz, he teaches BIM and digital technologies at the University of Toronto. As a co-founder of Henko BIM Solutions, he has been involved in the development of technologies supporting BIM and virtual design and construction (VD&C) to improve productivity and optimize workflow.

What is BIM and why do we use it?

Building information modelling is a process that ensures effective collaboration and enhances communication throughout the design and construction process. Visualized in a 3D model, shifting from a drawing and graphic-oriented to object-oriented paradigm, architectural design tools become more intelligent in terms of carrying building information within a model. BIM provides for integrated project delivery (IPD), a methodology used at R-Hauz, by supporting coordination, integrated documentation, and the creation of a material database as well as data management.

How does it compare to other modelling software on the market?

BIM contributes to the creation of a digital representation that carries physical and functional building characteristics, geometrical information and production qualities that can power schedules and estimates. At R-Hauz, we deal with information transactions from several consultants, both internal and external, which requires coordination from design to production. The developed digital BIM model represents an overall picture of the building life cycle used by a project team.

How does BIM affect the end product?

BIM supports customization and data exchange through parametric modelling, where building elements are parametrically related. These kinds of parametric relations determine the behaviour of the model, where the internal logic of the layout offers promises in building customization, because changes can be automatically propagated to the BIM model. Without parametrical relations, editing geometric models would be extremely difficult and error-prone.

What is an example of a notable project created in BIM?

Looking at data management as a key benefit of BIM, I would refer to the design and construction of the Shanghai Tower. As the world’s second-tallest building this 128-story tower comprises nine cylindrical buildings stacked on top of one another. There were more than 30 consulting companies, contractors and subcontractors working on the project. Due to the complexity of design and construction management, data could not be represented and coordinated using typical software or design methods. BIM solutions enabled different disciplines to work together, helping improve efficiency and collaboration and avoid many on-site changes.

What is BIM’s role in the R-Hauz process?

BIM supports integrated project delivery (IPD) by enhancing communication between our stakeholders. The key issue with our production process is to ensure the flow of information is accurate and efficient. BIM processes utilize the idea of a shared information model. That is, we use BIM technology to deal with the challenge of managing the exchange of information and communication between stakeholders throughout the process.

What is BIM’s role in the industry going forward?

The current market is shifting towards BIM in both the design of a building and its geometrical representation. It is, however, worth noting that BIM is not just a software, but a process. Thus, the challenge in the industry is not strictly technical, but cultural and social. Using new technologies to innovate is very exciting for R-Hauz, especially when it means shortened timelines, lower costs and new types of building.

As the complexity of information in a given project increases, the management of data in the production process becomes more difficult to manage. The architecture, engineering and construction industry has long sought to decrease project cost and delivery time while increasing efficiency and quality. BIM offers the potential to achieve these objectives.

Have questions? Let us know below!

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