Over the past few years, BIM, or Building Information Modelling, has been trailed as a way of transforming how architects, engineers and construction professionals design, build and view buildings.
Whilst more advanced users of BIM are adding a time dimension into their models, known as 4D BIM, Architecture practice, Cartwright Pickard, is looking ahead at 7D BIM with a government-funded research project, with the Mackintosh School of Architecture, which aims to create an innovative method for the whole life cost of buildings from the earliest stages of design using Building Information Modelling.
Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, awarded the project £118,019 last year in a bid to tackle the government’s target to reduce whole life cost by 33%.
What is 7D BIM?
The next stage of the BIM model, after 4D, can be taken further by adding capital cost information (5D), environmental performance analysis (6D), and to reach 7D, adding information relating to the whole life cost, including operation and maintenance of the completed building.
Interim findings of the research currently indicate that by increasing the amount and quality of information added to a BIM model through the stages of the building’s life-cycle, and then adding to the model, building performance data once the building has been occupied, the industry will be pushed towards a more intelligent approach to building design and delivery.
Cartwright Pickard believes that 7D BIM will enable the industry to more accurately predict whole life costs, which will help those commissioning buildings to understand the long-term viability of alternative design proposals.
The ultimate goal is to create a design decision support tool that will enable clients and designers to make more informed decisions from the earliest stages of design based on the whole life cost of a single building element through to comparing whole built assets with others.
The Architecture firm is currently in the prototype phase (stage four) of the project, before the next stage which will be piloting the 7D design tool.
Industry partners include BLP Insurance, Morgan Sindall, Galliford Try, Prosperity Capital, industrial building materials and systems supplier Etex, Hoare Lea, Stanhope, and Elliott Wood. The companies are financial partners of the research, having matched the sum the project received from the government, as well as taking part in workshops to feedback.