If we take a brief look at the past, we’ll see that construction is one of the oldest professions in existence. As soon as they learned how to use tools, humans started building their houses and other public buildings. But as the time went on and construction technologies continued to improve, the very nature of building remained pretty much the same all the way through. Today, with the rise of 3D modeling we are finally at the threshold of a major breakthrough.
What is 3D modeling?
3D modeling, or building information modeling (BIM), is a process of using a collection of data describing the intended building to create a realistic 3D model of the finished product. Essentially, it’s a kind of virtual reality which allows everyone involved in a project to inspect how the building will behave even before the first brick is laid. Today, Brisbane City Council uses BIM for strategic planning, and Singapore has launched Virtual Singapore, a 3D replica of this city-state to offer new possibilities for urban planners.
These developments are talking roots all over the world. But how exactly are they changing the construction industry?
The benefits of 3D modeling
Realistic approach to architecture
Realistic 2D sketches are a great representation of the future buildings. However, they can go only so far in representing what the actual structure will look like. BIM allows architects a much more plastic and in-depth approach to design. Seeing how the different design elements will look like in the actual 3D environment cuts the chance of something going wrong to a bare minimum and enables more creative freedom.
Impact on project execution
Clear design, in turn, leads to much easier execution. For instance, today, the concreters from Sunshine Coast near Brisbane are able to use sophisticated computer-aided design of tilt-up panels which makes their job considerably easier than it was in the recent past. The same goes for architects and urban planners. And when we put all these things in the same frame we get the picture of the city where every level of the construction industry becomes more streamlined and project execution becomes effortless.
Once made, a 3D representation of a building or even an entire city is far easier to manipulate, upgrade and change than two-dimensional drawings. With more time at hand to work on their ideas rather than to work on their models, architects and designers have the opportunity to unleash those ideas, experiment, and as a result, create a better product.
Exterior and interior design finally brought together
The fact that exterior and interior designers are able to work on the very same 3D model provides both of these professions with much better insight into the thoughts of their colleagues. This way they not only have a more complete look into the nature of the project, but can also work together and improve each other’s ideas.
A better sense of scale
BIM allows us to see the buildings not only as isolated objects in space, but also in correlation to other surrounding structures. While detailed 2D drawings can serve as a starting concept, the only way to take a look at a structure as a part of the cityscape from all relevant perspectives, is through the looking glass of 3D environment. With the benefit of virtual reality, we now have the opportunity to literally take a walk through our models.
Elimination of language barriers
A picture speaks a thousand words, and three-dimensional models go even further. Because of this, BIM-driven projects can allow everyone involved to deduce the instructions rather than read them, which is a great advantage in this globalized world where huge architectural enterprises involve people coming from all continents.
The list of such advantages can go on and on, but even now, it is easy to see that technological developments in the field of 3D modeling are changing the way we look at architecture. We’ll have to wait and see where the limits of this concept are, but it should be clear that the time of small, incremental upgrades is over and that we are ready to make huge leaps ahead.