BIM for AV

Mark cites a feature in BIM called ???clash detection??? as pivotal to driving down costs and design time. ???If you are an AV designer,??? he says, ???you have to think and visualize in three dimensions. 3D modeling is all about sight lines, room geometries, image size and acoustics. One of the things that a three-dimensional model lets you see is the impact of your solution way earlier through clash detection, which you can???t possibly do with a series of flat drawings. The model will actually tell you that there is a pipe running right through the middle of the light path, so if you hang your projector here and your screen there, you see you???ve got a problem. You literally solve those problems early in the design phase and not in the construction phase. That???s been a huge boon to everybody, both the builders and designers, and certainly to the owners who bear the brunt of the cost.???

Furthermore, BIM is not just a design tool; it is also a management tool used long after a building is completed. ???In the old days, you would create a set of drawings for the builder, who would mark what he changed. The owner would get a set of marked-up drawings for the record, and that???s all he had. With a model, he now has a fully-functioning, three-dimensional database of information, which doesn???t just have the lines on it; it has components and all the attributes of those components. Nor does it get shoved in a project file, it gets handed off to the maintenance guys, who replace a valve and mark it up in the model.???

Even before reading this article, I knew about the “clash detection” feature. That’s great and all, and it might help ensure a projector’s light path isn’t obstructed by a light fixture or speaker.

I was really hoping for some other useful advantages of BIM. And don’t get me started on “Oh, the building manager will use the model throughout the lifetime of the building.” I would say less than 1% of owners will even attempt to track things or even view things in a Revit model. They’ve got to be so knowledgeable about everything in a building, constantly fixing/upgrading the next “emergency” that I just don’t see them having time to learn the details of the beast known as Revit.


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About Matthew Peterworth

I currently work as a Technology Specialist at Henderson Engineers in Kansas City – a Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing (MEP) design firm. Prior to that I was a Project Manager for Information Technology Services (ITS), the central IT department at the University of Texas at Austin. As of July 2008 I am a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) through BICSI. And as of June 2011 I am a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the great state of Texas. Please follow me on Twitter @mpeterworth.

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