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BIM VS. CAD (Why BIM Proves to be the Future of Design)

Jim GarlockBy: Jim Garlock

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What does BIM stand for?

Building Information Modeling is a 3D model-based process that renders digital mockups of buildings and infrastructures providing intelligent insight to improve efficiency during the construction phase. BIM technology uses one coherent system to help AEC professionals manage multi-discipline coordination during the design, planning, and management phases.

Here’s where we’re going if you want to jump ahead

BIM vs. CAD (The Full Story)

In the 1960's MIT graduate student, Ivan Sutherland, presented his Ph.D. thesis to a panel of tenured scholars, introducing the world to a revolutionary graphical communication system and forever changing the lives of architects and mechanics around the world.

Computer-aided Design (CAD) has implemented simple tools to improve the design process considerably, automating tedious tasks that previously debilitated productivity. For example, an architect mapping a new structure, CAD grants them the ability to keep a repository of all repetitive elements to prevent manual reconstructive every time.

Basic 2-D CAD image

As the technology evolved and developers were able to engineer more intelligent CAD software for half the price, a mass adoption followed, improving the way professionals of all disciplines created, modified, analyzed, and optimized their designs. For the first time, engineering conversions and calculations could be performed automatically within a software program.

These small changes and adaptive rendering capabilities kept operators content for some time until the challenges and shortcomings slowly reared their head:

Both Building Information Modelling (BIM) and CAD systems offer users an alternative to manual, pen and paper drafting, giving them the opportunity to render electronically.

BIM, a comparatively newer technology, seems to solve all of the problems above and more. BIM encompasses the physical and intrinsic properties of a design so users can toggle between 2-D and 3-D projections, scaling out or zooming in where necessary.

BIM: A Platform for Collaboration

Unifying a diverse set of people under a singular vision is always met with difficulty. Construction, regardless of the size of the structure, or if it falls in the realm of commercial versus residential, is a collaborative effort. A handful of disciplines come together to produce something tangible and lasting.

CAD's detriment is the platform from which it operates—the software is accessed through individuals CPUs and programs require installations. BIM has evolved into a cloud-based system that lends itself to remote access; all individuals involved with a particular project are capable of accessing the file from any location with an internet connection. The cloud also supports instant updates for all users.

For the majority of construction endeavors, the project is armed with an architect, a designer, structural engineer, subcontractor, investor, plumber, and project manager. BIM serves as a point of convergence for all of these individuals, giving them a space to share their contributions and annotations to the project.

BIM is a common data environment where everything is mutually accessible and modifications are updated and visible to all that are involved.


There’s Greener Pastures

We live an era where energy conservation is paramount and of increasing importance to most home buyers. Green architecture requires extensive preemptive and sustainable design, choosing the building materials with great care and understanding how to arrange them in a way that reduces waste.

The combination of using sustainable design and BIM is referred to as “Green BIM”.

BIM technology fosters building optimization so engineers eliminate waste during the project's lifecycle and the building lifecycle in its entirety. Not only are engineers building a structure that supports energy conservation, but contractors are producing the structure with minimal material waste.

In leveraging BIM, users fully vet the scope of the project, the steps they must take to achieve their goals, and the expected outcome. For sustainable construction, in particular, all design must be considered holistically. These buildings aim to eliminate extraneous waste, use green materials, and co-exist with the ecosystem around them.

CAD systems cannot support this holistic development, considering the drawings are less intuitive. From a BIM system, users can zoom in, understanding the movement of heating and cooling through the house, zooming in on the walls to find places that require heavier insulation. By receiving energy feedback throughout the conceptual design process, there is greater opportunity for conservation after implementation.

Let’s Redefine BIM with Virtual Reality

The main objective of computer-generated imagery is to recreate real-life images as closely as possible, being intelligent enough to assimilate to reality. There is a significant benefit to seeing a structure virtually, prior to attempting to build, and this benefit extends to all workers. Viewing the BIM generated structure through a VR headset may change how we view the design process in general.

Undoubtedly, there have been moments where a finished building is unveiled and it does not live up to the original vision. BIM streamlines vision and reality and VR merges the two further. Essentially VR makes draftsman of construction workers, and architects. The gaps between roles fade away by sharing the exact same expectations for the end result, expectations outlined through a BIM VR experience.

The wearer becomes immersed in the design, investigating all facets mechanically, structurally, and conceptually.

Building Your BIM (We’re Here for You)

Although CAD and BIM are a bark of the same tree, CAD is becoming archaic as BIM evolves into a powerful drafting system with expanding functionalities. In the long run, BIM will ignite greater profit potential by eliminating productivity loss and error potential.

All BIM solutions are engineered to generate and manage the digital renditions of your future architecture, illustrating the physical facets as well as the purely conceptual.

As a long-time software provider in the construction industry, Chetu Inc, welcomes BIM development projects of all specifications. Our solutions are custom, tailored to the specific needs of your niche area of construction.

In order to concoct the perfect BIM formula, Chetu leverages Unity, Revit, Rhino, ArchiCAD, and Forge technologies to render the 3D geometry required to process the influx of collaborative data.

Chetu's custom BIM solutions integrate with pre-existing construction management systems, continually processing drafts of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing structures and updating them on the cloud.


Chetu does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of a specific software, company or individual does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Founded in 2000, Chetu helps businesses to develop applications, solutions and with support services. Chetu's specialized technology and industry experts serve startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies with an unparalleled software delivery model suited to the needs of the client. Chetu's one-stop-shop model spans the entire software technology spectrum. Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, Chetu has fourteen locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.

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