Here at RVW we use Revit and Civils 3D as the tools to build our 3D models but BIM is a way of working and a process, not a program, object or entity. Working in a ‘BIM environment’ requires all parties to collaborate and share the information that they create in a mutually accessible online space known as a common data environment (CDE), this ensures that everyone who needs to access the information can.
We endeavour to use Revit and Civils 3D on all our projects and contribute to the BIM process where possible. Being geared up and ready to deliver a BIM Level 2 service is something we are proud of here at RVW. Unfortunately working in 3D does not necessarily mean you are working on a BIM project. Some projects do not demand it. If there are no clear Employers Information Requirements (EIR), no BIM Execution Plan or other design team members are not producing information in 3D for it to be co-ordinated, interrogated and intelligent data to be extracted from it moving forward then your project is not BIM in its truest form. Not having a clear brief and execution plan can mean you putting a lot of time and effort into the process that will not be used. You very much need to know what is expected out from the model so you know what to put in.
Sharing more intelligent information within the organisation has been a massive benefit for us. Passing data between several different software programs enable us to ensure we are confident in our designs and that we can iron out any potential clashes between Civil, Structural, Architectural and MEP elements. Also we have the ability for multiple users to work on the same models, speeding up the drafting process.
As engineers our output from our models is predominantly drawings, a model will not replace this ethos anytime soon. We do however produce our drawings using the 3D parametric data contained within our models. This ensures that all the data is tied together so if an element changes or moves it does so on every drawing sheet that it appears on. This process does need to be managed but it is far quicker and easier than 2D methods.
Using the 3D parametric information that is modelled we are also able to output data to spreadsheets, Industry Foundation Class (.ifc) and .dwfx formats, to name a few, which can aid estimation and costing.