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building information modeling planning and managing construction projects with 4d cad and simulations

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This book on Building Information Modeling (BIM) was inspired by the observation that interest in the subject is rapidly growing in popularity. It is easy to miss the breadth and potential of this “revolutionary” process due to its inherent nature. 

Yes, the process is revolutionary in its anticipated effects on the construction industry; yet its concepts have been practiced for centuries in a variety of forms. This book endeavors to present the current “best understanding” of BIM a format that will benefit readers with varying levels of understanding of the subject.

 Most BIM practitioners have strongly supported this effort and are sincerely interested in helping others become versed in applying these tools and processes, to educate owners and construction colleagues, to encourage early collaboration between designers and constructors, to build better facilities, and to improve the construction business in general.

 It is not easy, however, to introduce change to the construction industry The ability to sell (show the value of) and encourage use of BIM concepts to owners, construction companies, and project team members (e.g., designers, fabricators) may be of more use than the ability to utilize the processes themselves.

 Humans resist change and these processes require a great change. In fact, they will result in a “cultural change” in every company that commits itself to their adoption. The information presented in this book has been a part of “what and how” we teach BIM in the Construction Management Department at California State University Chico. This book represents a snapshot in time of the evolution of the BIM process.

 Even the meaning of the term “BIM” is a moving target, and rather than spending a lot of energy trying to pin it down, this work simply accepts “BIM” as referring to the broadest and most widely accepted meaning encompassing the processes of this field. At this moment it looks like there is a potentially insatiable demand for BIM skills developing in the construction industry. All of design and construction education will need to rise to address the needs of the industry immediately; and the professions will also need to educate themselves as soon as possible. This work indicates a direction for the learning process to anyone wishing to add value and be successful in the construction industry with Building Information Modeling. This book is intended to inspire those readers who truly wish to improve our human lot by fostering collaboration.

 The fundamental success of the BIM approach lies in its ability to facilitate what already comes naturally. The model helps us to more quickly see what’s wrong. Viewing a 3D model thus can turn this characteristic into a strength. Since the 3D model also provides more transparency to the entire process, it can cause a certain level of discomfort; our work in the model can be seen more clearly by all those viewing the model. 

As humans, we like to see, but only be seen as we wish others to see us; in other words, we like to mask over those areas we have deemed substandard and emphasize the attributes we are proud of. Because BIM does not hide much, it requires a bit of getting used to. BIMdemands a lot of collaboration and forces us to relate to each other differently. It is psychologically a very healthy development, but not necessarily an easy transition. 

The necessary collaboration develops a team spirit and a particular enjoyment in supporting each other with the responsibility for the end product. The team members will more deeply appreciate their similarities, as well as their differences, and take comfort in the ability to cooperate, rather than compete, and take pride in the shared results of the team’s efforts. 

This book has been an attempt to step back from technology for a moment, to try and see it in the context of the human activity that surrounds it on a larger scale. There is a parallel between what the Internet has done for communication in general, through e-mail and web sites, and what BIM is doing for construction projects. The challenge of any age is to use the circumstances of the age, rather than to be used by them.

 In this age of technology the challenge is not to loose ourselves in the availability of information, and to manage the useful information properly. Technology may be forcing human interactions to change, but when we consider our cave-decorating ancestors, and see the delight they must have taken in their art, we can only conclude that it is presumptuous to think that technology will change human nature.

 Thus it is in all of our best interests to understand human nature a little deeper, and use technology to bring out the best in ourselves. The intention for this work is to provide a conceptual background to Building Information Modeling. 

The same ideas will be presented in different subjects throughout this book, and to be read from cover to cover in sequential order is not its purpose (although there is nothing wrong with that either). 

This book may be browsed, or researched by topic, or simply used for reference, or as inspiration; the main purpose is to improve the understanding of the connectedness of all of its components. There is no teacher like experience, so the material herein needs to be put to use in order for it to have the desired effect on the reader. 

There will not be many “recipes” for action, our applications are generally too unique to rely on such an approach. It is best to understand the ingredients, the principles, and concepts, and then forge our own approach to solving the problems at hand. The case studies will give an idea of the breadth and depth of individual approaches, and hopefully be able to provide some direction.