IoT and BIM – The Future of Building Design
As an architect, it’s one thing to simply sketch out a concept of a building from different perspectives and views. It’s another thing to then coordinate that design with engineers and contractors and make it a reality. The AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry is constantly on the lookout for smarter solutions and innovations to not only streamline the design process but also make buildings that are more intelligent and efficient.
Enter, Building Information Modelling (BIM).
BIM is the next generation of building design, planning and management. With BIM technology, an entire building can be mapped and modelled out in a collaborative 3D space. The idea behind BIM is simulating an entire building in software to pinpoint potential flaws or inefficiencies in the design prior to and even after construction. Architects, engineers, and contractors can work together to fine tune details like electrical, HVAC, structural, plumbing, and more all in a single platform, saving both time and money on potential re-works or fixes. Once the model is complete, the software can then piece together exactly what materials and resources are needed in order to turn the digital design into reality.
You might think that the capabilities and functionality of BIM ends there, but that’s actually just the tip of the iceberg. It’s what happens after a building is constructed is where BIM really shines, and it’s all possible with a little help from IoT.
IoT for BIM
IoT brings a wide range of capabilities and new opportunities for the construction industry, most of which revolve around big data collection and connectivity. Placing embedded sensors in and around any building or construction site gives project managers and stakeholders much more insight into aspects including (but not limited to) energy usage trends, air flow and circulation, population density, and climate patterns. On their own, the data collected by each IoT sensor is siloed and completely independent of other sensors. Integrating that data into a centralized system like BIM, however, removes those siloes and allows for seamless relationships between a multitude of data sources. This allows BIM software to effectively simulate the entire building lifecycle using data collected from the real world, and subsequently project that data for future buildings.