The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry has been using Computer Aided Designs, also known as CAD, for the past few decades. For the purpose of building construction, it is useful in the creation of plans, sections, elevations, details, isometrics, and models.
While CAD drafting is important, the industry requires more than that. CAD is not without its drawbacks. The answer lies in Building Information Modeling, commonly known as BIM. BIM is a methodology that enables the modeling of information rich building models in a collaborative virtual environment.
This article will help you in understanding the difference between BIM and CAD.
What is CAD?
CAD is used by architects, and engineers to create 2D and 3D architectural drawings. CAD uses lines to represent various architectural components like walls, doors, and windows in plans, sections, and elevations. Due to the increasing complexity of today’s construction projects and the need for increasingly complex design solutions, CAD software alone is unable to meet the requirements for many modern building projects. This is where the debate over BIM vs CAD in construction starts.
What is BIM?
BIM is a process or methodology in which architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, and contractors work collaboratively to design, build, and operate residential and commercial buildings using the same 3D model in a shared virtual database. BIM is a streamlined communication process that enables to design, build, and operate a project efficiently and collaboratively.
BIM allows for the generation of drawings for each floor of a building that incorporate data and details that were contributed during the process of jointly developing the model by different stakeholders of the building design and construction industry. When a complete 3D BIM model of the proposed building is available, those participating in the project are able to examine it from every conceivable vantage point and pinpoint specific aspects that require modification or enhancement. The data itself reflects much more than simply the positioning of walls. Data pertaining to scheduling (4D BIM), costing (5D BIM), sustainability (6D BIM), facility management (7D BIM), and safety (8D BIM) can all be examined to produce a structure that is truly efficient and that serves its residents in the best possible way.
Advantages of BIM over CAD
The advantages of BIM over CAD are undeniable. Let us look at the factors which make BIM a better alternative than CAD.
- Error Reduction: Plans, sections, and elevations are made simultaneously in Revit BIM software, thus there won’t be any discrepancies. Whenever revision is required, the changes won’t cause any errors in other factors of the building.
- Collaboration: BIM enables a collaborative environment, unlike CAD. It helps in the collaboration of architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers with the help of a single database 3D BIM model.
- Saves Time: Since all drawing sets are created simultaneously by a single database model, time is saved to create separate plans, sections, elevations, and details, unlike in CAD. It also helps in saving time in construction.
- Single Database: Revit BIM unlike CAD provides a single database for architects, engineers, and contractors to create a 3D BIM model.
- Value: According to the ‘Dodge Data and Analytics’ report 82% of BIM users have said that they have achieved positive ROI by implementing BIM. Also, 25% have found that implementing BIM has improved labor productivity.
Disadvantages of BIM
- Initial Investment: The initial investment in enabling BIM software, training professionals, and hiring expert BIM professionals is more compared to using CAD software.
- Lack of Experts: Since BIM is a new technology there is a lack of BIM experts. Training professionals in BIM requires time and money.
Should You Convert from CAD to BIM?
It is highly recommended to convert from CAD to BIM despite the initial investment required. CAD is used only for the designing of a building while BIM is used for the entire lifecycle of a building in its design, construction, and facility management phases.
BIM mimics the real building process in a collaborative digital environment while CAD uses an automated method of paper and pencil drawing. Buildings are constructed with BIM utilizing real-world construction features like walls, doors, windows, columns, beams, etc. rather than using a 2D line drafting method like CAD. This makes it possible for architects to design structures in a manner that is consistent with how they will be constructed. Using the central virtual building model, design changes are automatically reflected in the individual drawings that are generated from the model. When used in this manner, BIM not only boosts efficiency but also paves the way for more cohesive design work and a construction process that is based on 3D BIM models. BIM provides additional benefits throughout the construction and operation of buildings, but switching from CAD to BIM is already justified by the benefits acquired during the design process.
The Future for CAD and BIM
While the future of CAD in the building industry is looking increasingly bleak. The prospect for BIM in the future is positive. BIM is enabling new opportunities in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industries by merging Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In the not too distant future, Building Information Optimization (BIO) will take the place of the more familiar Building Information Modelling (BIM). In order to design a building in compliance with its optimal footprint, structural load capacity, and thermal performance, rather than designing walls, doors, and columns manually, a computer program will be supplied a set of parameters, with the help of BIO. Now, tasks that previously took weeks or even months to perform can be completed in just one day.
Transforming the building design and construction process from CAD to BIM is a critical step for the future of the construction industry as BIM is the future. As a result, every architecture design build firm ought to make it their top priority to invest in the training of specialists and the implementation of BIM. The survival of the architecture industry in the future depends on BIM.