April 13, 2017


Building Information Modelling: Creativity vs. Efficiency

BIM: More than just a software… but how could this proficient tool influence creativity?

The introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has revolutionized architecture, streamlining processes and saving time and effort. As a result, this model has been adopted widely among Canadian and American firms, including Omicron. This article from Wired UK tags BIM as the “Google Docs for buildings,” but the questions it asks are: Could BIM kill creativity in architecture? Could this be the price we pay for efficiency?

There are no easy answers, but this is what our architects have to say:

“The Parthenon was created in Athens between 447-432 BC and achieved a level of sophistication of design and precision of construction that can hardly be equalled today so I wholeheartedly agree with the comment in this article that ‘technology is more about process than product’. BIM is a tool in the architect and engineer’s tool kit and it helps us do our job – hopefully with greater efficiency – but is not something which determines form. A chisel shapes wood but it is the carpenter’s hand that guides the chisel.” – Kevin Hanvey, Architect AIBC, Principal / Director, Architecture (BC)

“Using BIM software (like Revit or Archicad) helps us design and document buildings more holistically and communicate the design more effectively prior to the actual construction. There is a tacit belief that using BIM means a faster, more efficient design and documentation process but there are few metrics available to prove that out. In terms of creativity, the artist or designer selects the right tool to get the job done – BIM is not like a pencil or brush, but it does allow architects and designers to realize new forms in building that were difficult or improbable with previous tools. – Hal Owens, Architect AIBC, Vice President, Design and Engineering

“The software out-of-the-box is just the starting point. It must be molded and customized to reflect the company, its graphics and its workflows. This can take some time. We must employ the right people and associate with consultants who share the same goals. Users (designers, production, contractors and estimators) must understand not only how to construct the building and work the software, but also how to best use the software to achieve a positive workflow to reach our objectives.” – Ian Shafer, BIM Production Manager