Landscape Middle East February 2017 Issue

Page 22

I digital tools


benefits of BIM By: Chris Smeaton

BIM Manager, InSite (division of KEO) Following on from a presentation I made to the Leaders in Landscape conference, as part of the Big 5 Outdoor Show in Dubai, I thought I’d share my thoughts on exploring the benefits of using BIM for planning and landscape design. I’ll start with the basic question of, “What is BIM?” There is no simple one-line explanation, due in part to the double acronym of “Building Information Modelling” and “Building Information Management” both of which, while related, carry different implications. One of the best short explanations is that BIM is simply the means by which everyone can use a process of working, to coordinate and understand an existing or proposed built environment through the use of digital models. Modelling an asset in digital form enables those who interact with the built environment to optimise their requirements, resulting in a greater whole life value for the asset. BIM has become a requirement on an increasing number of projects within the engineering and design industry across the Middle East and will soon be the way all projects are run. Up-skilling our industry is a priority for all, as BIM is a process that is here to stay. We all hear how great BIM is and all the benefits that it can bring to the design, construction, and asset management industries. However, as companies and industries transition into BIM it comes as no surprise

However, BIM adoption within the landscape industry is not easy as there simply isn’t the number of off-the-shelf software options enjoyed by architects and engineers. In fact, there is a lack of interest and understanding among large software developers to provide the necessary tools for landscape architecture, which has left a void in the market. This void is being filled, partially, through mix and match use of existing software packages, practitioners developing their own work arounds and small companies developing plug-ins, all of which are effective but not comprehensive solutions. So, what are the some of the options for a landscape architect who wants to embrace 3D modelling or BIM?


that they experience certain challenges with the adoption of the new way of managing projects and with the tools which help this process. Landscape architecture is no exception. One of the principle challenges we see in adopting BIM within the landscape industry is the practitioners’ general lack of interest and awareness of the advantages that a BIM process provides. People readily see the inconvenience of change, but less so the advantages of adoption. This is slowly changing, due both to a general increase in awareness and driving influences from architects, clients and government mandates. As the overall design industry is now focusing on BIM adoption, what happens if you, as a landscape practitioner, don’t follow suit? In short: isolation and inefficiency. Without adopting similar processes and tools, you will lose the ability to actively collaborate with colleagues across disciplines, and at a time when collaboration is becoming increasing sophisticated and critical to project success. Furthermore, according to a study by TheB1M, in not adopting BIM you stand to lose out on a potential efficiency saving of 20-25%. In a market driven by aggressive pricing, a one day week efficiency saving can easily be the difference between success and failure.

AutoCAD + Sketchup​(with various plug-ins, e.g: ​LandFX​) Sketchup + Modular Planning Rhino​ (with ​Land Design​plug-in) Vectorworks Landmark AutoCAD Civil 3D Revit + Dynamo + CS ArtisanRV These are all workable options with their pros and cons, but the truth of the matter is that landscape falls in-between a lot of the software capabilities as, for example, we need the grading flexibility and calculations of Civil3D but combined with the 3D geometry and documentation power of Revit or ArchiCAD.

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