A wide range of engineering services

Engineering ServicesHere at McNeil Engineering, we provide comprehensive design services that include civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. We also offer consulting services for cities, urban designers, urban planners, and others in the Utah construction market. With so much on offer, we figured now would be a good time to go into greater detail regarding our services and what they entail.

Civil Engineering in Utah and other states

Let’s start with the core of what we do. We are civil engineers first and foremost. But what exactly is it that civil engineers do? Well, in short, civil engineers work closely with others in the construction industry, from architects to contractors, to ensure construction projects progress as they should. Many of their tasks include site surveying ground condition tests, inventory, and materials and equipment maintenance and support. Civil engineers are also responsible for coming up with solutions that take the weather and other geologic factors into account.

Structural Engineering for Long-Lasting Projects

Structural engineering of the type we do fits specifically into the wheelhouse of civil engineering. Structural engineering in this context focuses mainly on the framework of a structure. Engineers design the structures to ensure they can withstand whatever stresses or pressures they may encounter in their environment. The key for structural engineers on projects like ours is to ensure that the buildings and structures we work on remain safe, reliable, and secure at all times.

Land Surveying Where You Need It

Another big part of what we do is land surveying. It’s a critical part of any construction project. There are different types of land surveying, but civil engineers utilize this technique in specific ways. Surveying in civil engineering represents the collection and analysis of specific data regarding the land under survey. Specific measurements of the horizontal and vertical lengths between points will also be recorded. Details will be documented regarding specific aspects of the land, such as size, shape, formation, and soil. Quality and accurate land surveys can set the foundation for a successful project.

Landscape Architecture for Beautiful Grounds

Another important aspect of what we do includes landscape architecture. Put simply, landscape architecture is described as designing specific outdoor spaces that integrate well within an overall project. In our case, we design large landscape architecture projects, such as those for green spaces, a town square, municipal playground, and so much more. Keep in mind there are significant differences between landscape architecture and landscape design. Landscape architects have a degree and they generally work on larger public works projects, whereas a landscape designer often works on residential and smaller-scale projects. Landscape architects are experts in their field.

Consultation Services for Companies Who Need an Expert

We also provide a wide range of consulting services to companies that require a committed and knowledgeable professional to help them with their engineering needs. These are often companies that do not have the in-house expertise they need to get the job done successfully. Our consulting civil engineers advise our clients on the design, development, and construction of projects of all shapes and sizes. We pride ourselves on offering consulting services that ensure safe, efficient, and fully resourced project completion. When you need a consultant you can count on McNeil Engineering.

Other Services We Offer

Now that you’ve learned more about the human aspect of our resources, take a few minutes to learn about some of the other services we offer. We provide a wide range of engineering, surveying, and consulting services. But these services would not be nearly as effective were not for our technologies. We use the latest technologies suitable for engineering projects.

One such example is laser scanning. 3D laser scanning has become an industry norm. Advancements in hardware, software, and workflows have made laser scanning a viable option for projects of all sizes. Laser scanning allows our surveyors to collect tremendous amounts of precise data at high speeds. We use the most advanced, high-definition laser scanners, total stations, and modeling and point cloud software to provide comprehensive, record surveys, 3D CAD models and detailed 2D isometric drawings.

We also have extensive expertise in BIM 3D modeling. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is essentially a technological solution that allows engineers to view a digital representation of a building as well as specific characteristics of its functionality. BIM is a model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

And guess what? That’s not all. If you need consulting services for roofing, paving, and even construction administration, we have the people and experience you need to ensure the job gets done right the first time, every time. We invite you to take a moment to peruse the various projects we have completed in Utah and around the country. Let’s work together!


What is BIM?

BIMMost of what an engineer does is done in the mind, or on good old pencil and paper. When an engineer plans a structure, they must envision the structure in their mind and plan a two-dimensional version on paper.

Or, if an engineer is surveying a structure, they must look at the structure and use their mind’s eye, but also be able to decode it on a plan. Obviously, this way of doing things has worked for the most part, fantastically, for many years. The problem is there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in engineering, until now. What happens when brilliant minds are given advanced technology to work with instead of legacy tools. We’ll give you a hint… magic happens!

The technology we’re referring to is BIM, or business information modeling. This process is, in short, the process of creating 3D digital renderings of really, anything you want. BIM has been an absolute game-changer in the field of engineering. An engineer can use BIM to make models of pre-existing structures that need to be changed or added to, landscapes, and even projects that are still only in the planning stages. BIM helps engineers take their ideas from their brain straight to three dimensions before construction even starts. This saves everyone involved an immense amount of stress, time, and money. At McNeil Engineering we are so proud to offer the latest technology in BIM for our engineers, which can help them to be better for our clients! If this seems interesting, here are three ways that BIM has upgraded modern engineering.

1. Planning

Like we mentioned, it can be incredibly difficult to take a plan for a structure, or an idea of a structure’s function and bring it from your brain to real life. BIM is an outlet to plan a project in three dimensions and get all the kinks worked out before ground is even broken. It helps projects can come to life as efficiently as possible. If an engineer designs a 15-story staircase without an elevator, that’s a problem. When planning with BIM, an engineer is much more likely to notice problems like that in the planning stage and be able to fix the problem with a little replanning and a few clicks, rather than having to knock down newly built walls in order to add a last-minute elevator!

2. Execution

BIM ensures a project is executed properly. When a commercial construction project happens, it takes a whole team of people to bring the idea to fruition, and it is inevitable that somewhere along the line of communication there will be a misunderstanding of some form or another.

Let’s say a dentist has contracted a new office to be built and e-mails how he would like it to look like structurally. This hypothetical dentist plans to be the only dentist in this building and only plans to hire a small staff. He pictures a luxurious lobby and several rooms for dental surgery. However, somewhere along the way, the plans get changed and suddenly there are way more rooms than the dentist envisioned. Engineers using BIM plan the building digitally before ordering any building materials, so the dentist would have many more chances to see a 3D digital representation of his building before construction begins.

3. Communication

One of the most difficult jobs of a construction worker, an architect and an engineer is understanding a client’s vision for their building. On the other side, it can be incredibly difficult for most people who aren’t construction workers, architects or engineers to understand what their building will look like or feel like just from seeing the plan on paper. BIM improves communication. How? Because everyone involved gets to see and agree upon a three-dimensional visual representation of a building in all of its aspects.

Here at McNeil Engineering, we are BIM experts. For more information on what BIM is, visit our website here.


McNeil’s different types of engineers

Engineer TypesAs our name, McNeil Engineering, suggests, we specialize in engineering and are proud to have a well-rounded staff of specialized engineers for all different types of projects. That being said, we realize that people in need of an engineer’s professional assistance for a project might not immediately understand what kind of engineer the best fit for the job would be!

Of course, any potential client of McNeil can always contact us for more information on what kinds of engineering services we offer. However, we also thought it might be useful to potential clients to understand a little bit more about a few types of engineering we have staff specializing in, what the differences are between them, and what type of projects each type may accompany best!

Of course, there is quite a bit of overlap between these specializations, but there are key differences that mean more than you might think! So, without further ado, read on for 3 different examples of special engineering that McNeal is proud to offer.

1. Civil Engineering

Let’s begin with civil engineering, because it is probably the most well-known and commonly used term out of this list! This is because “civil engineering” is often used as an umbrella term for any commercial engineering project that has to do with infrastructure. This is not entirely accurate, though it is based in truth. Civil engineers have their own specialized place in projects. So, what is that place, and what does a civil engineer do? Civil engineers have the incredibly important and sometimes daunting task of evaluating a construction project or plan in terms of how effective it will be in relation to the area surrounding it.

Civil engineering often has to do with transportation. For example, imagine a small coffee shop in a big city quickly gains popularity and has the means to open a new location. A civil engineer’s touch on the plan can make that coffee shop’s second location a step towards a booming franchise. In this scenario, it would be a civil engineer’s job to do research to optimize the location of the new shop by, say, a high commute traffic area where people might like to stop for a coffee before work? Also, a civil engineer would make sure that the location is optimized or everything important to a coffee shop, like Wi-Fi, water, and electrical reliability. This coffee shop example is just a small example to show what kinds of jobs civil engineers are responsible for. Often, they are tasked with much more pressing tasks like new roads, airports, housing and apartment complexes and much, much more.

2. Structural Engineering

Structural engineering does have a lot of overlap with civil engineering when it comes to what kinds of projects they can work on, however a structural engineer has an equally important but very different focus. While a civil engineer’s job is to optimize and plan a project like a building, for example, the structural engineer’s job is to make sure that building stays standing. Civil engineers are mostly involved in the planning stages of a project. Structural engineers are absolutely involved in the planning of projects because they are experts in planning a project to be structurally sound before construction even starts. Structural engineers are often sent plans for projects after they are mostly finished to be evaluated for potential structural issues. One of a structural engineer’s most important jobs, however, is to be present at a construction site to make sure that the construction is going to plan structurally to, again, make sure that once that building or structure goes up, it stays up.

3. BIM engineers

AT McNeil we are proud to employ skilled and trained BIM engineers. We truly believe that BIM is revolutionizing the infrastructure and engineering industries and we are so excited to have the latest in BIM technology. For the uninformed, BIM stands for “business information modeling” which is, basically, the process of digitally planning a project in full before beginning construction. This involves much more than just written planning. BIM engineers are experts in BIM software and can fully digitally model projects before ground is even broken. These #D models and plans can then be evaluation by either or preferably both the aforementioned types of engineers to make sure that a project is ready to begin construction. This process minimizes any mistakes made during the construction process. At McNeil we specialize in BIM because we want your project to go as smoothly as possible!

If you are part of a company or organization that is planning a project that could benefit from this kind of assistance, or if you are looking to learn more about our services, please contact us here:

McNeil Engineering Direct Contacts | Our Team of Engineers in SLC Utah

We hope now you understand a little better the differences between the types of engineers we employ!


Debunking common BIM myths

3D BIM ModelOver the last decade, BIM has gained prominence within the AECO industry. With BIM’s capability to foster more efficient and faster project delivery, it’s easy to see why their adoption rate has increased. When done right, BIM can also help reduce costs and foster better decision-making processes.

Even with all these benefits, some construction companies still fail to see how BIM can fit into their organizations. However, many of these hindering beliefs they hold are myths. In this post, we dispel some of these myths so you can create buy-in for BIM within your organization.

BIM is simply a trend that will pass away soon…

Whenever a new technology arises, many people see it as a fad. And in all honesty, most eventually end down the drains. However, BIM isn’t one of them! BIM offers tremendous benefits that make them superior to any other thing in the construction industry!

Back in the early days, paper, two-dimensional designs were the real deal. But that was soon replaced with computer-aided design (CAD) software that helped visualize projects in 3D. BIM is an extension of 3D models. It adds additional dimensions like information about scheduling (4D), costs (5D), and many more.

These capabilities are too sweet to turn down. And it’s difficult to see how BIM would not play an even greater role in the construction industry for decades to come.

BIM is nothing more than software

To be fair, having the right software is a crucial part of BIM. However, BIM is way bigger than ‘just software’ used to create building models. It involves a rethinking and reorganization of the way building projects are carried out.

From its definition, BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives AEC professionals the insights and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage infrastructure and buildings. BIM’s primary focus is on creating a collaborative way for everyone involved in a project to work together, from architects to engineers to even stakeholders.

BIM is only for big companies

Embracing a new technology like BIM doesn’t come without its challenges. The huge upfront investment in time and training can be daunting, especially for smaller companies trying to do the barest minimum to stay afloat.

Even though big companies might have more resources to easily adopt BIM, it’s no excuse for small companies to evade adoption. Turning down BIM would hurt any organization in the long run as BIM is here to stay. And because BIM helps to streamline workflows, improve collaborations, and plan better, adopting BIM – even as a small company – can help save costs in the long run while maintaining a competitive edge.

BIM is for project planning, not execution

While BIM is an invaluable tool for project planning, its usefulness extends throughout the entire project lifecycle, from planning to designing to constructing and even managing. One great way to think about BIM is its integrative capabilities. It doesn’t consider each stage of the project as separate entities. Instead, it sees the larger picture and collects important information.

Data collected during the planning stage will help during the execution stage. Similarly, information collected through the execution phase will be beneficial for operation and maintenance down the line.

BIM is just 3D modeling

No doubt, 3D modeling is an important part of BIM, albeit just a small part of a humongous process. The ‘modeling’ in building information modeling extends beyond the visual representation of building models. It is, instead, a part of a digital dataset and database centered around a collaborative framework.

The Common Data Environment hosts both graphical and non-graphical information that is used to generate data-rich models that can help manage data throughout the life of infrastructure. Saying BIM is just about 3D modeling is an unjustified reductionism.

BIM has little impact on long-term productivity

There is nothing further from the truth! Anti-BIM advocates point how BIM takes time to scope and implement in the initial stage. While it is true that careful planning and implementation takes up more time and resources, this initial investment benefits long-term productivity.

Just think about the training and learning curve required to make the shift towards BIM. That can be daunting, but that’s just the way it is when learning new technology. But with time, people will get used to it, and greater productivity will naturally follow.

BIM is expensive

Again, shifting from a traditional system to BIM will involve lots of upfront costs, just like any other transition would. However, what truly matters is the long-term costs involved, and BIM is not expensive from that perspective.

During the planning stages of a project, the aspects of BIM that will be implemented will help determine the BIM tools that will be used. With proper planning, these tools can be free or inexpensive. Asides from helping professionals attain spending budgets, BIM can also help speed up completion time.

Contact us here today for more information.


The Growing Importance of BIM in Civil Engineering

BIMWhile Building Information Modeling (BIM) might sound like a relatively new industry buzzword, the idea for BIM dates back to 1975. Through its evolution over the last 45 years, BIM has gained significant relevance in the construction industry. What’s more, it’s projected to gain even greater dominance in the future.

In this post, we briefly examine what BIM is all about. But more importantly, we explore some of the ever-increasing importance of BIM in the field of civil engineering.

What is BIM?

According to Autodesk, BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insights and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure.

But when we delve into the nitty-gritty, BIM can be understood in two ways: either as software or as a process.

As software, BIM software helps in creating precise virtual 3D models of structures that show the components in a construction project. This includes obvious features like the building’s geometry and spatial relationship. But more than that, it is also used to gain insight into the materials needed, cost estimates, project schedules, and sustainability. And as the project proceeds, information updated to the system are available in real-time to all the parties involved.

As a process, BIM is focused on optimizing the workflow of the entire team, which includes AEC professionals, as well management. When different departments work cohesively, efficiency is improved while waste is drastically cut down.

What’s more, the centralized availability of information about the construction project makes it possible to give and receive feedback in real-time, thereby ensuring everyone is kept in the loop.

How BIM is Transforming Civil Engineering

Here are some of the ways BIM is helping civil engineers with the design and development of construction projects:

  • Visualization and Troubleshooting

To be fair, BIM isn’t the first visualization tool available to civil engineers, but it takes visualization to a whole new level. By creating accurate 3D models, it is possible to tell how the project will look upon completion even before laying a single brick.

But more importantly, these models can be inspected to look for structural faults that may compromise the building in the future. For instance, during the execution of the Eastside Tunnel project, BIM tools were used to generate existing conditions models. And guess what? Over 800 serious issues were uncovered from the model.

Catching potential problems on time improves efficiency in terms of costs, time, and energy.

  • Cost Estimation

Costing has always been an integral part of civil engineering right from the earliest civilization. However, providing spot-on cost estimates is a difficult endeavor.

But BIM is up to the task. Since BIM tools create pretty reliable models, cost estimates that are based on these models tend to be quite accurate.

What’s more interesting is that the entire process is automated. What this means is that if the model is updated, the cost estimate for the project gets updated automatically. A veritable time saver!

  • Comparing Different Solutions

Any building project can be designed and executed in an infinite number of ways. For sure, some designs, methods, and processes will be better suited than others. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to compare different options so the best can be chosen? BIM makes that possible. By adjusting building parameters, civil engineers can see the overall impact changes can have on the building.

For instance, by changing the construction decisions in the preliminary design phase of the Istanbul Metropolitan project, the 18-month construction time was reduced to 8.5 months.

  • Lifetime Maintenance

BIM isn’t only relevant to the design and execution phase of a project. It is also relevant to the operation and maintenance of the building because it contains all the relevant information associated with it – ranging from materials to cost estimates and more. This makes it possible to track the performance of a building.

  • Project Coordination

Every civil engineering project requires hundreds, if not thousands, of professionals that must work hand in hand to attain the final result. As noted earlier, BIM makes it easier to coordinate the different departments involved in a project. What’s more, since information about the project is centrally stored in the cloud, project members can readily access information. All this leads to massive savings in costs and time.

A notable example is the InterCity Sorli-Brumunddal project. BIM workflow was used to cut the traditional construction time by up to 30{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff}.

Wrap Up

As you can see, BIM is a game-changer throughout the entire construction industry. It significantly simplifies the design, execution, and maintenance of construction projects. Based on a recent survey, over 82{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff} of respondents said that BIM had improved the overall efficiency of their companies. With several undeniable benefits, BIM is here to stay.

Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us here today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.


Applications of 3D printing in civil engineering

Building Information ModelingThere have been interesting and mind-blowing innovations in the science world over the years, but few might have the “hurricane” impact as 3D printing when it becomes the main scale. The internet rush of the late 20th century and the early 21st century resulted in many of the fascinating things we now enjoy including Blockchain tech, Data Analytics, Virtual meetings, and co. And yet many believe 3D printing will be bigger, especially for Civil Engineering; how inspiring!

While Additive manufacturing will become useful to every sector of our world, including medicine, art, prototyping, VR, and co, there is no better way people would see it implemented fully than in Civil Engineering.

Civil/Structural Engineering is one crucial sector that has touched and continues to impact many lives. It cuts across all phases of our daily living, from building construction to bridges, dams, roads, towers, storage centers, and other utilities in the city or community. It also has the task of maintaining and improving such facilities. Many consider it the oldest and most crucial branch of engineering, and one can only imagine the many possibilities of 3D printing and Civil Engineering.

Applications of 3D printing in Civil Engineering

The most valuable feature of 3D printing is its ability to create the most complex geometric shapes easily. And create the additive layers to form the structure. With this kind of “anything is possible” feature and the speed by which it makes them, it will advance the course of Civil Engineering.

  • Improvements in modes of Bridge construction

Nobody expected it when the first concrete bicycle bridge opened up to users in 2017 in The Netherlands or when Shanghai, China printed the longest 3D bridge (26 meters in 450 hours). These bridges were an important milestone in a battle that was turning to be one of feasibility. It is showing the world that Additive manufacturing can unlock higher levels of human development, including; emergency bridges constructed in seconds, quick response to disasters, and many more.

  • Improving roads and maintenance techniques

Transportation by road is still the most important and popular mode of transport today. Civil Engineers continue to research and employ different methods and techniques in improving the standards of roads, bridges, and other structures.

While working on roads, the heavy materials and methods used often lead to serious congestions and discomfort. However, improvements are being made to use tar, asphalt, and others in 3D printing.

  • Improving tools for analysis and sensor

To improve roads, bridges, and other construction designs, Civil Engineers often depend on fiber-optic sensors. While these sensors are important to the Engineer, they are also costly to install in the structures and often not compatible with the construction materials used.

However, advancement in 3D printing has developed a simple 3D printed packaging for sensors. These packagings are not only suitable for almost all construction materials but are simple to mount.

When these sensors and devices are fully developed and released, it will help Civil Engineers make a proper and accurate analysis of the structures.

  • Reduce waste and cost in construction

Each year billions of dollars are lost due to waste from construction worldwide, one of the many downsides to the traditional manufacturing process. And some of these wastes are the major constituents of the biological degradation of the earth.

Additive manufacturing produces nearly zero wastes throughout the process of construction. Besides, it creates even more complex shapes than any of the manufacturing processes listed above. Most of the machines, buildings, and other constructions made with 3D printing are achieved with far lesser costs each time. And the continuous advancement in the field will continue to drive down these prices.

  • Achieving more Complex Shapes in designs and constructions

One can only imagine how many designs have been abandoned in the past for being too complex or costly to manufacture. However, complexities in shapes are one of the most interesting features of 3D printers. It allows for more innovation, flexibility, adjustments in designs, and above all, makes it more cost-effective. It comes out as a perfect photocopy of what you see in the drawings, only this time; it becomes tangible.

  • Complete construction in fewer periods

Although improvements in some of the techs/methods used by Civil Engineers have greatly reduced construction periods, it is still a bit slow for the growth we aim to achieve.

Through 3D printing, medical supply grounds, houses, and other temporal utilities are being constructed. With 3D printing, it has become very possible to design more complex and difficult parts in fewer periods.

Wrapping Up

Among the many techs emerging to reshape our world, 3D printing is leading that charge. And many industries have not looked away from it. The sort of attention 3D printing is getting, including research, funding, investments, and patience, will make it the next “big thing” like the internet.

It would mean; Telecoms mast being assembled and mounted in minutes, massive improvements to the housing system, construction of durable roads, and more aesthetic malls and landmark buildings.

For the Civil Engineer, the only limitations to 3D printing are their imagination.

Contact us today with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!


5 Game-Changing Trends Transforming BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM)Building Information Modeling (BIM) has transformed the Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) industry by improving conventional design processes’ efficiency. Many studies have found collaborative solutions on BIM to improve client/team design relationships, accelerate the decision-making process, and significantly improve the ROI. But this is only the beginning.

New trends, rising daily, promise to push BIM applications to unprecedented levels. In this post, we explore the top 5 innovative trends shaping the future of BIM:

3D Printing

While 3D printing is now considered a consolidated technology (at least, in its technical parts), its adoption to AEC is not yet widespread, although it is beginning to make waves. 3D printing has made it easier for professionals to create building elements quickly and efficiently. When incorporated with BIM processes, 3D printing can help accelerate prototypes’ development, thereby hastening the speed of a construction project.

Since BIM already serves as a rich source of geometric information for large-scale, commercially existing, and automated 3D machines, incorporating 3D printing and human workers on construction sites can be coordinated for improved safety and productivity.

3D printing allows the printing of digital files by layering down thin layers in successions. By creating physical forms quickly, teams can better collaborate on projects by equipping them to better understand and analyze the dynamics, functioning, and efficiency of structures. With the growing sophistication of 3D printing technology and its increasing adoption in the AEC industry, it can make a massive impact on BIM processes.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)

BIM is the process of generating, storing, managing, exchanging, and sharing building information. A hot-spot in today’s technological space is the possible integration of BIM with virtual reality, where the user visualizes the virtual world and interacts with it.

By incorporating AR and VR, BIM can effectively address the problem of retrieving and presenting information concretely. Stakeholders will have a comprehensive and clear image of designs by immersing themselves in realistic 3D virtual environments. This makes it easy to follow every stage of the design process, identify errors, and engage in interactive and collaborative projects.

BIM and VR can be combined and proposed as a solution that allows the client’s inclusion into the design world. The possibilities are endless as a more sophisticated integration of BIM and VR comes into the picture.

Cloud Software

Cloud-based collaboration continues to overtake functions that once consumed hard drive space on a designer or BIM manager’s computer. This boon has more data to be transferred to the cloud, making it easier for building team members to interact with centralized 3D models. With advanced data management tools like Assemble Systems, it is now easy to manage, store, and share project data over the cloud. Panzura Global Cloud Storage System is another software that includes a web-based OS, file-sharing system, and hardware controller.

Using a cloud framework makes BIM data accessible by anyone from anywhere, in real-time. This simplifies the BIM model sharing. Through this seamless connection, information can be quickly communicated to team members. And as you probably know, efficient communication saves time and money in the long run.

Internet of Things (IoT)

BIM is typically used to model a building’s structure and systems during design and construction so that changes in one set of plans can be simultaneously updated in other affected plans. Incorporating IoT into BIM can be the catalyst we need for smart building projects.

If you’re wondering what IoT is, it refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.

IoT devices (sensors) can be used to capture real-time data into the BIM. This can then be used to model things like temperature trends, energy usage patterns, and even movements through the building. This information can be used to design more efficient future building projects.

Drone Usage

AEC professionals and project managers are using drones for recording and reporting the progress of building projects. Being able to capture data of large areas in a short time accurately makes it feasible to easily refine BIM models to make them more reliable.

In the operation phase, the use of drones also protects human surveyors from risky situations. Easy monitoring with drones makes it possible to collect real-time pictures and videos uploaded to BIM collaboration platforms for involved professionals to access.

Drones are also applicable in the facility management phase. The long-life span of a building makes it difficult to ensure that maintenance will be consistently done responsibly. Drones allow for the easy updating of BIM models, which can be used for maintenance intervention plans.

Wrap Up

The possibilities of BIM are endless – thanks to the current innovative trends that are transforming the future of BIM. Some of the other game-changing trends worth mentioning include:

  • Modular construction and prefabrication
  • 3D laser scans
  • Going green
  • Direct product ordering

We’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.


What differentiates BIM from 3D modeling?

3D ModelingComputers have influenced almost every industry, but it has fundamentally revolutionized the design industry. From architects to designers, video game developers to filmmakers, the sophisticated level of designs they make with outstanding precision is almost impossible without the aid of computer software. However, there are different kinds of design properties and a plethora of design tools. Knowing when to apply a particular software can be the difference between success and failure.

BIM and 3D modeling are two of the most common 3D design software. While they are quite distinct, they often overlap. As a result, some people mistakenly perceive them as interchangeable. This post explores ways in which BIM differs from 3D modeling. But first, let’s briefly examine what they both mean.

What is 3D modeling?

A 3D modeling software is generic design software that can be used for a vast range of design applications. At a fundamental level, 3D modeling is used to create photorealistic assets for animation.

What is BIM software?

BIM (Building design and building information modeling) tools are designed for creating designs in the construction industry. They help architects, engineers, and contractors visualize, design, and coordinate the construction of buildings from start to finish.

Key Differences

To understand the differences between BIM and 3D modeling software, we’re going to compare them under specific characterizations.

Domain of Applications

3D modeling software is used to develop photorealistic models of almost any object. This explains why it is vastly applied in diverse design spheres, including product design, gaming, filming, advertising, marketing, geology, industrial design, medicine, and science. These fields use 3D modeling for different purposes, some of which include assessing project potential, integrating designs, and solving technological problems.

On the other hand, BIM software is used almost exclusively for construction projects. It is primarily used by architects, civil and structural engineers, as well as electricians, mechanics, and plumbers. BIM helps to conceptualize buildings and anticipate problems that may be associated with it before real-world construction begins. This helps to improve efficiency and promote collaboration between the many parties involved in the construction of a building.

Main Characteristics

When forming a model through 3D modeling, collections of points in three-dimensional space are connected with diverse geometric features (like lines, triangles, curved surfaces, and more). These basic geometric features are the only information stored in 3D modeling software. 3D modeling software also harnesses texturing tools and shaders to create photorealistic 3D models of polygon density, helping to produce realistic structures.

The main distinguishing factor is that BIM holds precise and detailed data about the structural properties of a building, in addition to basic geometric features. For instance, BIM contains info about structural and electrical systems, wall systems, ventilation, heating, plumbing fixtures, air conditioning, windows, doors, and more. Furthermore, it also contains technical information about each of these fixtures. As an example, from a BIM object of a wall, you can get info about its strength, density, reflectivity, among many other properties.

Practical Usage in Construction

3D modeling is used to visualize a wide range of designs. It is used in the construction industry for conceptualizing architectural objects. For instance, it can be used to build a photorealistic 3D model of a building before construction starts. Because of its ability to produce high-quality images, 3D modeling is also used for creating marketing materials and in animation production.

Aside from visualization, BIM software gives further insight into the properties of a building before construction begins. For instance, it can be used to determine the number of materials required for a facility, the strength of a building, or even an estimated time to complete the project. Therefore, BIM is used to coordinate construction operations, as well as control and manage the lifecycle of a building.

Pros and Cons

3D modeling is very robust. It can be used to digitally represent objects that don’t even exist yet, making it useful when coming up with innovative designs. It also allows for precise display of any facility to pinpoint accuracy in dimensions. The major limitation is that its main benefit stops at visualization. It cannot be used to coordinate construction operations.

On the other hand, BIM can be used as an intelligent facility operations system; from determining the number of materials needed, to estimating a timeline for the project. This helps to make the construction process more efficient. Since most of the models are created from BIM objects, making major object changes after a design is distributed can disrupt the entire building process.

Software Examples

Common examples of 3D modeling software include Maya, 3Ds Max, ZBrush, Cinema 4D, and Marvelous Designer, among many others. These tools can be used to create photorealistic effects.

The most popular software for BIM includes Archicad, Revit, SketchUp, and BIMobject. While they cannot be used to create photorealistic effects, they help store relevant building data.

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What is the purpose of BIM?

BIM or Building Information ModelingBIM or Building Information Modeling is quickly becoming the standard in building and project design. It is the process of creating and managing information on a construction project. The output of the process is known as BIMs, which are digital files that describe every aspect of the project. This aids in decision-making through the lifecycle of the project.

What is BIM?

According to the US National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee, BIM is defined as follows:

Building Information Modeling is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decision-making during its lifecycle, which represents the period from conception to demolition.

BIM uses more than just geometry. It also covers spatial relationships, geographic information, light analysis, as well as quantities and properties of building components.

Importance of BIM

While there are a plethora of design tools, BIM is predominantly used in the construction industry. Here are some of the benefits of implementing BIM:

  • Accurately capture representations of the site.

BIM harnesses a wide range of advanced design and mapping tools. 3D scanning, for instance, has been increasingly adopted for obtaining a detailed 3D representation of structures and sites. By firing thousands of laser pulse by seconds, point clouds can be created and converted to 3D models that accurately represent real-world conditions. Drones and aircraft can be used to create digital images for larger locations.

  • The best option for collaboration

Different stakeholders are usually involved in the construction process of a building. Architects, contractors, engineers, and clients have to contribute their expertise in the creation of the model. Since various BIM tools and functionalities can be assessed from the cloud in a centralized database, it allows for real-time collaboration between the involved parties. This kind of collaboration is impossible with paper or even separate digital systems.

  • Huge saver of time and effort

During the design phase, multiple models are created by each discipline. These models are then combined into a composite construction model. But for that happens, the contributions of each discipline results in a very robust amount of data.

When combining this data, digital modeling can be a huge time saver. BIM files contain a database with a catalog that contains items and structural parts of different models with intelligent attributes assigned to them, such as manufacturer, cost, and size. These intelligent objects can be used to automate to design process, like to determine the numbers of windows or other components that may be required, helping to save time, and reducing the likelihood of errors.

  • Detecting and resolving conflicts before they happen

The buildings of today are insanely complex. To the average observer, the visual aesthetics of a structure is paramount. However, internal elements play more importance in the feasibility of a construction project. Asides from ensuring the mechanical load-bearing capabilities are up to par, the wiring, plumbing, and fire protection must also be expertly designed to ensure that the safety and integrity of the building are preserved.

To add to the layer of complexity, many of these components even interact with one another. BIM can be used to simulate these internal elements to see if design conflicts exist. By picking up on these errors in the design phase, they can promptly be corrected before actual construction begins.

  • Easy accessibility

Traditional standalone CAD software requires massive processing power that consumes RAM on a personal computer. With cloud applications like BIM, users don’t have to be concerned by the processing strain and performance. Asides from that, they can be accessed from any location and any device.

  • Coordinate steps and processes

The 3D model generated from BIM can be broken down into sub-models to represent each stage in the construction process. What’s interesting is that these sub-models can be set to automatically update and evolve, thereby saving more time in the design process.

More importantly, professionals involved in the construction process – like engineers, architects, and construction workers – can have a reference for getting detailed insights into the smallest subsection of a design. This way, construction can be meticulously executed to precisely replicate digital designs into real-world buildings.

  • Follow buildings throughout their lives.

BIM schematics are not only useful in the construction process. Once the building is completed, the database of all relevant information about the building is transferred to the building manager. This allows building managers to easily learn about the critical information of the facility they’re managing.

For instance, if a leak occurs in the building, the building manager can explore the leak area in the 3D model to look for water mains, as well as assess electrical hazards and other potential problems that may arise. This information is invaluable for the repair team as they can adequately come up with an effective strategy.

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How BIM is used in construction

BIMBIM or building information modeling is a classic symbolism of technology disrupting the traditional methods of construction and yielding outstanding results by the aid of technology.

What is BIM?

BIM aids a construction project in designing, building, and operating a building using 3D models rather than a series of drawings. It enables engineers, designers, and construction managers, to simulate the structure and functionality of a construction structure with accuracy and devise systematic solutions to create a risk, free, highly functional facility.

Why Use BIM?

Here are some reasons to replace traditional methods with BIM in building construction.

Easy Exchange of Information

Earlier, the traditional methods of design and construction required stakeholders and creators to deal with a lot of paperwork. The communication workflow relied heavily on multiple file-formats scattered across devices, people, and formats which made it difficult for the stakeholders to maintain transparency in the process. It was easy to miss out on certain details and for parties to fall out of sync in communication.

With BIM, all the details of the construction project are stores as a single unit of information. Inbuilt tools enable designers and constructors to share information with various stakeholders in a click, thereby, maintaining consistency in the process and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Greater Efficiency

“Fail fast” has become famous in recent years. It refers to the experimenting with trying new things, and if an idea fails, quickly reiterating the process by learning from mistakes and moving along. This is hardly a feasible option in the world of construction when so much: time, money, materials, environmental commitments, and public and government commitments are at stake. In the world of construction, the bottom line is more like do it once and do it right.

Thankfully with BIM, all the information, right from the idea conception to the blueprint layout and final decisions are digitally imagined and stored in a single repository. BIM also makes it easy to test the functional capabilities of construction, thereby allowing engineers to simulate testing conditions with greater accuracy and use the findings to build a sturdy construction that lasts. All this leads to judicious use of resources invested, helps the team in adhering to the timelines, and results in greater efficiency for the project.

Accurate Sustainability Analysis

One of the evaluations engineers carry out in the pre-construction or early stages of construction is a sustainability check of the building. This includes assessing the building’s future performances, constructability, and performance. BIM software has inbuilt methods to test the building by simulating its exposition to energy, acoustics, load, and lighting. The results from this simulation are reliable and nearly accurate and have a major impact on the construction timeline and the final result.

Flexibility

Since BIM can easily experiment with design and other factors and data can be tweaked without affecting the actual building construction, using the software provides great flexibility in design to the engineers. This flexibility allows them to consider alternates and devise multiple scenarios of the construction phase. Thus, they can easily weigh their options to study the costs and consequences involved in various options beforehand and can devise the best possible outcome using the software, a feat otherwise impossible or demanding a lot of work with the traditional methods.

Reduced Costs

Many stakeholders shy away from BIM because of their higher initial costs. But there are demonstrations in the construction world to show that BIM actually reduces the total cost of construction in the long run. A decrease in iterations, low wastage, a decrease in delays, and accurate communication are some of the factors that save a lot of project cost, in the long run, thanks to BIM.

During the actual construction itself, accurate design simulations in the previous stages help to achieve milestones more accurately and with greater efficiency. This leads to an avoidance of rework which saves a lot of time and helps the project to meet deadlines with ease.

Greater Insights into Project Life Cycle and its Data

Since BIM creates a central repository of data and lets the engineers carry out all kinds of simulation activities, the data collected along the way of the actual construction proves valuable in the post-construction stages too. All the data related to the requirement gathering, the design, the risk assessment, the construction, and its maintenance can be used for facility management to provide great post-construction support.

Such data can also be used to answer building queries quickly raised post-construction.

Conclusion

A lot of high-end building projects across the world having high stakes involved are already using BIM to change the way a construction project proceeds. BIM is more of an investment that you make in the initial stages that pay off more than the investment worth in the long run.

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