What are the primary goals of creating a building model? Who are the key stakeholders?
The primary goals of creating a building model are to facilitate communication between the key stakeholders so that the building they build together is clearly understood. BIM solves many of the problems of older drawing methods: it provides an excellent idea of what the final building will look like, it can detect conflicts in the drawings, it allows real-time changes to be shared with the entire design and construction team, it allows the integration of vast amounts of information (from specs to dimensions, maintenance schedules to user limits), and it can simulate the actual performance of the building.
The key stakeholders in building are the owner, the designer, the builder, and the users.
- Owners want a building that is easy and cost-effective to operate and maintain, and a building that will provide for their needs and maintain flexibility in use for the long-term. They also care about having the building delivered in a reliable, on-time, cost-effective manner.
- The designer wants to provide clear directions for the builder and they want to meet the program requirements of the owner. They also care about producing these documents in a timely and cost-effective manner.
- The builder wants to build the building. To do this, they need clear directions and a general construction timeline. With these, they can find the most cost-effective way to deliver the project.
- The users want a building that's healthy, usable, and enjoyable to be in.
How much detail should you include in your building model? How do you decide?
You should include as much detail as you need for your current stage in the design and construction process. You decide by figuring out why you are designing the building in BIM right now: is it conceptual? or are you starting to get specific dimensions? or are you producing construction documents?
In your initial design, the focus should be conceptual: how will the building generally look and feel, and how will the building meet the program requirements set out by the owner. The initial design may include thoughts on flow, skin, and urban interface.
As you iterate, you will begin to add detail, first starting with a general sense of room dimensions, construction materials, window and door layouts. The further along you go, the more specific and set-in-stone this information becomes. This makes it easier to make other decisions in the design process and helps the contractor begin to prepare for construction.
The key stages are Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, and Construction Administration according to the American Institute of Architects. Detail should progressively increase as you proceed toward bidding. Afterwards, the model should be finished, but additional detail (such as furniture) or clarifications (such as unexpected site conditions) can be added.
How much detail should you include about the composition (layers, materials, thicknesses) of your wall, floor, and roof assemblies at different stages of your design process?
- Conceptual design
- Preliminary design
- Design development
- Construction documentation
Many door and window manufacturers provide Revit families for doors and windows that you can specify for your building design.
- What is the advantage to manufacturers for providing these families? (it's not free to create and provide them...)
- What is the benefit to you as the designer of using these manufacturer-provided families? Is there an advantage to using them versus the families provided in the Revit library?
What are the advantages of getting the Revit component families (for furniture, equipment, and fittings) directly from the manufacturer versus from an online sharing website like RevitCity.com?
If you can get the component families directly from the manufacturer, you will have the actual building components a contractor would order, which would reduce confusion between the design and build teams. You could also receive the actual specifications of the equipment you are using, which means that you can design with smaller margins of error, as you know how things are going to fit together. You could also attach the manufacturer's recommended maintenance and operation schedules, which would help the owner manage the building. Finally, finding the actual component families will help you render the building more accurately so that the owner can have a better idea of what the final product will eventually look like.