Buildings’ LEED Performance Predicted By BIM Software

BIM software takes a three-dimensional approach using building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic data, and quantities and properties of components in order to maximise design, construction, and lifecycle performance.  

Partridge, a partner with HIP Architects in Edmonton, has been using BIM software in his case Autodesk’s Revit since 2002.  He uses it to work out basic plans and necessities during the earliest stages of planning a small office building in the city suburbs.

“We developed a simple, rudimentary building information model with the sole purpose of informing us about its energy footprint and the way it would be put together. Then, we looked at potential problems. Anybody knows that -40 degree temperatures and wind are not good things in Alberta, so we looked at where problems might occur, using computational fluid dynamics to put together a simple picture. We weren’t trying to be wind engineers — we were just using the tools that BIM allows us, and which you can’t do with CAD.” Patridge explained.

Partridge used BIM to model different scenarios.  They turned the building to face away from the wind, then added factors such as ventilation, looking at the impact in different areas with help from third-party structural analysis and design software.  They analyzed the thickness of walls and the thermal abilities of the glass to optimize building envelope performance.  As a result, Partridge said, the client had a good idea how his building will perform and how it stands in terms of achieving potential LEED credits, facilitating his pursuit of requests for proposals.  Patridge says that BIM can help reduce the number of people needed on site.

Contractors and tradespeople are just beginning to work with BIM software. While the automotive and aerospace sectors have used it for many years, it’s just emerging in the building trades says Partridge.

Base BIM software providers include Autodesk (Revit), Graphisoft (ArchiCAD) and Bentley Architecture, with additional providers of third-party plug-in software that lets users do scheduling, costing and other tasks.



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