Building Information Modeling (BIM)

by Russ Gentner

Russ gives a brief explanation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and how it applies to the audio industry.

As a manufacturer, we’ve been hearing about Building Information Modeling (BIM) for some time.  Consultants have been telling us that we need to get Listen products under BIM.  I attended an InfoComm seminar by David McNell (RTKL Associates).  David did a good job of clarifying what BIM is.  It’s interesting to hear how we have moved from paper/pencil drafting through AutoCad computer drafting to this new dimension in designing spaces.  Now instead of drawing a square in the CAD program to represent a window, we embed a BIM object that has all of the information about that window.  With BIM, we capture so much more information that can be used in countless ways.  David showed an example of 3D imaging that showed that because of the equipment room layout, it was difficult to walk between racks.  He did this by having a virtual person walk between the racks.  A quick change in the layout of the room and the problem was solved.

So… what does all this have to do with audio?   Well in my opinion – everything.  We can now create BIM objects for every piece of gear used in a system.  Within the BIM objects we can embed a lot of relevant information like pricing, power consumption, heat generated, required accessories, specifications, etc.  This information then becomes part of a database that can be used not only for design but also for installation and throughout the life cycle of the building and the system.  Need to know how much heat is generated in this rack?  With BIM, it’s simple to find out.  And, all of this gets integrated into the design of the actual space.

There are a number of implications for all of us.  As a manufacturer, our company is now working on creating BIM objects that can be used with BIM.  Designers and consultants are clearly needing to understand and use BIM in order to work with architects.  BIM has the power to reduce design time and cost; and most importantly improve the quality of audio system from concept to grave.  Will it one day be possible to do acoustic modeling with in BIM?  Since we have all of the information about the space and the objects within, it seems very possible.

One thought is to have SynAudCon provide an online class on this subject.

What thoughts do you have on BIM?