One of the main problems I find with BIM technology is that it tends to be self-isolating. Something that I am sure in these days of Covid we are all getting familiar with.

What I mean by self-isolating is that as designers and engineers we invest our time and efforts into creating beautiful 3D data rich BIM models. Unfortunately, we can only really share these with colleagues in the office or on occasions with some other consultants who are members of the design team.

Getting the message out

Sending a BIM model to a client requires a leap of faith: there are many factors why it could fail, technology being perhaps the most likely.

We do not want to frustrate the client, so we err on the safe side and send  drawings and images. Arguably, the construction industry has moved into the 21st century and now we send drawings as PDFs. This isn’t really changing how we work is it?. It doesn’t cut out any unnecessary processes except for posting by mail and perhaps passing the printing cost onto the recipient.

There are several studies and legal cases, that show a significant percentage of people cannot correctly read  drawings. They are also often mislead by  images. Surely BIM could help us and the client here?

A simple example

I have put together a simple example of how we can use BIM in the early stages of design. It demonstrates how an information rich BIM is used to pass on our ideas and get feedback from the client. It’s a house I designed and built for my family last year.

As I have some time in lock-down I am slowly post-rationalizing what I did, to see if my design and build process could be improved. I am using xbim Flex to demonstrate how BIM communication can be more inclusive of non-BIM users. (In this example that is my wife).

The video below is a Flex message (created in one click from Revit). I sent it to the client as the initial design proposal based on her brief.  On projects where the new ISO standard ISO 19650-2 is enforced this would be drop 1, “The Brief”. 

Everything is sent by email directly from my BIM tool with no problems of file size and file uploading.

This is what my wife sees when I send it to her iPad.

On reflection

I wish I could have used Flex the first time around; it would have saved me several hours printing drawings, exporting to PDF, sometimes sending out the wrong versions or having to resend due to transmission errors.

Please let me know what you think; no comments on the design please, there is a good reason I gave up architecture in favour of IT and BIM ! If you are interested in using Flex we are making a Personal version available free to early adopters, you can download the Revit version here.

For the next blog I am going look at the planning application process, surely this can be made more efficient!

Update 24/06: If you wanted to take a closer look at the above conversation in our interactive Flex demo you can have a look around yourself and try it out with your own designs!