Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a new discipline in building production in which computer environments are managed from a single nexus in an information-centered and collaborative way. This requires adherence to a common standard for all the data used in the design and manufacture of the building. In BIM, an identical digital twin of the structure is created in a virtual environment before it is built, allowing everything to be simulated and analyzed prior to construction. BIM allows you to know something before it is completed, and since this information is accessible not only to the engineer but also to machine intelligence, it opens the doors for countless new approaches in building production.
Computers have been supporting architects and engineers in their design work since the last quarter of the twentieth century. Computer-aided design (CAD) allowed them to replicate the process of drawing up projects on paper in a computer environment, but in a way that was much faster and less prone to error. In the fields of building and machine production, these drawings were initially two-dimensional, but three-dimensional solutions appeared over time. For the engineer, there was no difference between the integrity of the information he or she expressed on paper and the integrity of the information that appeared on the computer. An ink-and-paper project simply transformed into pixels and vectors on a computer. But engineers and architects soon discovered that they could do far more with computers than merely coloring in pixels—thus BIM was born.
A three-dimensional design produced with classic computer software consists of surfaces and textures. An algorithm shows how textures on surfaces will look according to the perspective and available light sources. In this sense, the only thing the computer knows about the structure is its optical behavior. Compared to this, BIM is a much more advanced system. A building designed in a BIM environment contains all the information the real thing would: it is like an identical twin to its original, but in a virtual environment. A structure in a BIM environment has all the geometric, material, physical, mechanical, and dynamic information of the elements that make up the structure. It is thus possible to simulate not only what a structure will look like but also how it will behave in real life. Everything about the building, from energy use to the production plan and from building strength to pressure calculations for the heating system, can be modeled virtually, allowing all costs to be calculated in advance.
AI’s the Boss
All kinds of detailed information on a building designed in a BIM environment can be accessed from a single center in a computer environment, from the type of metal alloy on the door handles to the shape of the roof tiles, the location of the steel supports in the concrete walls, and the placement of the valves in the heating system. By making building information accessible to machine intelligence in a structural and defined way, it becomes possible to manage all aspects of building production using AI and rule-based algorithms. In the future, smart systems will be able to oversee the construction of architects’ and engineers’ BIM designs by segmenting the aspects of a building’s construction and parceling the work out to different contractors; and in the more distant future, buildings will be able to be constructed autonomously entirely by AI-based robots and automated systems.
ZetaCAD: The World’s First BIM Application
The concept of BIM was first proposed in an academic paper in 1985, but it didn’t start to attract attention in the software world until the first decade of the 21st century, and it wasn’t until the 2010s that architectural- and engineering-software companies like Autodesk and Graph iSOFT released their first BIM applications. But Tekhnelogos beat them to the punch. Back around 2000, we were working a product that would allow a building’s natural gas system to be designed on a computer. We realized that for this product, we’d have to go beyond CAD software, because the software needed to be able to calculate and adapt to the characteristics of the architectural environment in which the system was going to be installed. We developed smart lines and e-project concepts when the concept of BIM was not yet common. The e-project basically corresponded to a building structure and systems project that was “known” by computer intelligence in terms of rule-based or artificial intelligence, while smart lines represented objects that knew how to behave in an e-project and how to contribute to the system. As the world’s first BIM application, ZetaCAD both produces and manages all the information regarding the natural-gas system in a structure and its relation to the building architecture. Through these means, the process of approving natural gas projects in Turkey has been carried out digitally in a way that can be overseen by machine intelligence since 2004
Building Information Modeling, the online platform on which architects, engineers, and other project participants can work in coordination simultaneously while in different time zones, is built upon previous CAD technologies. At Tekhnelogos, we are closely following this new paradigm, which we have expanded into completely different layers. Our company has a wide range of experience, which allows us to approach BIM concepts in terms of both architecture and engineering. I’m proud to be a part of this experience.
Our BIM products
A type of CAD software that can quickly transfer natural gas system designs to building plans created in accordance with BIM infrastructure.