23 March 2009

Who is the Best BIMmer?

For those not familiar with the expression, BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. BIM is common tech speak for using information-based building semantics in CAD design workflows. The exact definition is actually still evolving. BIM products include the likes of Autodesk Revit, Graphisoft and Bentley. Two things generally characterize BIM software: increased program complexity and higher software costs. Some liken BIM in the architectural industry to PLM for product manufacturing.

We would argue one important difference: PLM was a customer driven concept to meet large scale manufacturing needs. However, "few have pursued full 3D (building design) modeling with great vigor, and even fewer have embraced BIM and information extraction, even though the AEC software industry has spent much time and capital creating and promoting BIM software," states Goldberg, H. Edward in CADalyst magazine. So a large portion of the need for BIM software may be originating from the software companies themselves.

One thing almost everyone agrees on is that there is a right way to BIM and a wrong way to BIM. But that's about where agreement ends. How to BIM depends largely on which marketing team one chooses to listen to. Autodesk, Bentley, Nemetschek and others are all staking claims "to BIM the Best" in what appears to be the CAD industry's latest gold rush to establish a title standard.

The question arises if this will actually be a standard that most businesses need. Full scale BIM deployments can be very expensive. They may requiring extensive retraining and, in some scenarios, a complete refit for design and business workflows. Interestingly, none of Autodesk's ROI charts seem to take this last aspect into account. And even if large companies succeed in (at least partially) implementing BIM, will the solution scale downward for small business and supplier integrations?

Previously on our CAD Blog we introduced our low-cost BIM alternative CP-System, which can be dubbed our "Anti-BIM" proposal. CP-System offers AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT (using LTX), progeCAD, BricsCAD, ZwCAD, CADopia and other IntelliCAD brands quick but accurate HVAC, electrical, plumbing, architectural, mechanical, structural, hydraulic design with extensive parametric symbol libraries. More information about CP-System and a free 30-day trial is available HERE.

No comments: