Preparing to Share Models

BIM for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Curriculum

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  • Unit 4 | Multidisciplinary Collaboration
  • Lesson 1: Preparing to Share Models


In this lesson, students learn how to set up the elements of a project that enable teams to effectively share a building model. They:

  • Create a dimensional framework for the model via levels, grids, and reference planes and use these elements to precisely place building elements.
  • Create views that expose and highlight the elements used by different members and disciplines on the design team.

Creating the Architectural Building Model

To prepare a model for sharing with a multidisciplinary team, it is essential to create a dimensional framework of levels, grids, and reference planes that all members of the team can use to place elements and keep their work coordinated.

Designers typically place elements in their models to act as placeholders for items that will be designed and specified by other members of the team. This approach enables them to consider the locations in their design decisions and indicate their design intent to other members of the team.

The design team must work out the overall strategy for how the model will be sharedムas a single project file (which can be shared on a local network) or as a series of linked models (which can be remotely edited by different team members, then reviewed and checked for changes and conflicts). 

In order to avoid duplication of effort and conflicts, each team member must have a clear understanding of what types of elements are to be placed in each linked model and who will control the changes to that model.

Figure 4.1.1 - Adding placeholder columns to the architectural model at grid intersections


Creating Views to Highlight the Structural Elements

Design teams can create many views of the building model to show specific features and highlight the elements used by each design discipline to assist with their design tasks.

It is often useful to create special views that isolate specific types of elements or hide other elements that obscure the ones involved in a design task, for example:

  • 2D and 3D section views
  • Views that hide selected elements or categories of elements
  • With visibility graphics overrides set to hide or highlight selected categories of elements

It may be necessary to adjust a viewユs settings to be able to see the structural elements in that view. If elements cannot be seen, students should check:

  • Visibility graphics override—has that category been hidden?
  • View properties—is the element outside the current view range settings?
  • Level of detail—is the level of detail fine enough? (Some categories of elements display as single line representations in coarse views.)
  • Hidden elements—has the element been temporarily hidden?
  • Section boxes—is the element outside of the range of the section box?

To ensure consistency between views, design teams can create view templates to quickly apply similar view settings to many views.

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