How are you using Building information modeling? Recently,the BIM-M Initiative executive committee released An Updated Roadmap for Developing and Deploying Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the Masonry Industry and David T Biggs PE, SE, a structural engineer with Biggs Consulting Engineering in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., gave a progress report on the program, started in 2012 and shared additional updates with Masonry Construction.

"The BIM-M Initiative is progressing at an increasing pace. Advances in the technology are coming incrementally. People are hearing more about it and becoming more involved in BIM-M development," he told Masonry Construction in an email. "Initially, there were four phases of development anticipated and the contracts and projects for Phase 2 are just being completed.  The completion of Generation 1 for BIM-M is now anticipated for December 2017"

Biggs also highlighted  "a growing relationship with BIMForum and the incorporation of masonry information into their 2014 Level of Development Specification" as a milestone achievement in 2015 and noted that a goal for the remainder of the year is to produce a Best Practices Guide for Modeling of Masonry using Autodesk Revit.

Recently he and others involved in the initiative attended the BIM-M 2015 Symposium on April 9-10. Highlights included:

  1. The attendance of over 120 architects, engineers, contractors manufacturers and software providers all interested in the development of BIM for masonry was a unique event in our industry.
  1. The committees progressed their agendas and planning for Phase 3 of BIM-M.
  1. The opening presentation from Will Ikerd on the 2014 Level of Development Specifications from BIMForum noting the relationship of masonry to the larger BIM picture was very informative. It shows that masonry is well represented through the efforts stimulated by BIM-M and the actions of the TMS BIM Committee. Masonry is represented on the cover of their LOD document too.
  1. The designers session highlighted progress on the masonry unit database. Mark Unak of Codifyd, a leading technology firm that is a provider of product content solutions, from Chicago demonstrated a search engine solution for masonry products.  BIM-M will be moving forward with a unified database where manufacturers can choose which products and which attributes to include in the database.
  1. The designers session also included presentations from Mike Adams, Morgan Wiese and Clint Bailey of Integrus Architecture, an architectural/engineering firm from of Seattle, and Shawn Zirbes of CAD Technology Center, a worldwide leader in building information modeling (BIM) technologies and services and one of the largest Autodesk partners in the United States. Both companies are BIM-M consultants who demonstrated tips and aids for users of Autodesk Revit to model masonry more efficiently.  These will be included in the upcoming Best Practices Guide.
  1. The contractors session had several highlights. Mark Swanson of IMI gave an overview of BIM and digital technologies that are expanding throughout the construction industry.  Jim Schrader of Power Construction, Chicago IL, gave the general contractor perspective on what BIM services masonry contractors need to provide as part of the overall project.   A BIM model that can be useful with clash detection is essential.   Adrian Siverson of R&D Masonry, Marysville, WA and and Peter Sindic of Richards & Weyer Construction , Lyons, IL  gave two perspectives of BIM services masonry contractors are doing on projects.  The mason contractors  find efficiencies and economy from using some level of BIM on projects even if they are not mandated to use it on the overall project. Each emphasized that having BIM capability is a necessity but that the required degree of BIM services varies dependent upon the demands of each project.  The key is to only do as much modeling as is useful to accomplish the project.   Just because you can model to great detail does not mean it is always needed.
  1. Attendees were exposed to various software examples from Tradesmens Software, Autodesk Revit, Sketchup and Cad Blox. Mobile Apps for Construction was the title of a presentation that will be available through BIM-M too and will be of benefit to contractors right now.

"BIM-M remains dedicated to unifying the masonry industry and advancing it technologically by stimulating the use of masonry through Building Information Modeling," said BIggs. "The initiative is more critical now than when we began.  It is clear that BIM is no fade and it is growing world-wide.  The North American masonry industry must be a player to remain one of the dominant building systems in the construction industry."