Sustainability in design and operation of buildings and their impact on the human and natural environment can all benefit through greater use of BIM, according to architectural researchers.
Among the advantages of the online design process are the ability to simulate climate conditions and quantify structural effect of designs on natural landscapes and eco-systems, according to Autodesk’s head of Consultancy for the Middle East and Africa, Suhail Arfath.
UK-based bodies have also emphasised the need to use technology to better monitor energy supply and Dubai Municipality now requires its usage on all government projects along with those of more than 40 storeys.
And a study which quizzed 1,000 British architects found more than 70% said the technology gave them an edge over non-users.
Arfath said: “The Power of BIM is that it allows all people involved in a project to make far more informed decisions that in previous years.
“No-one is building in isolation anymore. Simulation is one of the key factors. The geo-location of buildings can be carefully calculated and factors such as their orientation with regard to the passage of the sun can be demonstrated. This is hugely important in a region such as the Middle East..
“Factors such as the best position for solar panels can be calculated and as fewer mistakes are made in the design process there is less of a need for modifications later ion – a saving to the operator which can be considerable.”
Arfath said the technology also has ways it can benefit the environment – and allow for a greater degree of future planning.
He said: “As well as such things as good design cutting energy costs in Japan there is a system where the shadow of a building is calculated in order to determine its impact of its surroundings.
“It can predict how things will look 10-20-20 years down the line, so buildings now been constructed will be fit for future generations. As responsible citizens, whether architects, engineers, clients or operators this is very important.
“In Dubai we have a design culture which looks to tall and ambitious buildings. We are now catching up with the west in the usage of BIM and we can learn from the experience of those who have used it before – avoid their mistakes and set new standards.”
Autodesk say the smart cities of the future will need designs which cuts down on gas emissions and provide energy at optimum cost.
The theme has also been taken up by UK-based development consultancy the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) which has 650 companies as members.
BSRIA chairman Julia Evans said that the issues of energy usage and supply will be key concerns for the industry in the coming years, together with the flow of information and how to use it.
Evans said: “Stronger links with clients will also become necessary in order to enable a more cohesive project. This will allow all parties to pull in the same direction for the greater good. We will also see further understanding of human behaviour in the context of building usage and how this can further influence the design and the operation of the building.”