Vectorworks and BIM

the main Vectorworks web site now has a BIM in practice area. I have found a lot of really useful information here. There is a whole page of BIM articles 

Of particular interest is this white paper:

An Introduction to the IPD Workflow for Vectorworks BIM Users:
Many architects and architectural designers, particularly those with governmental or institutional clients, are being asked to “deliver BIM”.

This white paper is nearly 30 pages long, and it sets out:
The reasons for BIM
Integrated Project Delivery: The Basics
The National BIM Standard
Using Vectorworks in a BIM / IPD Project
Appendix: A Detailed Procedure for Planning an IPD Project

I really enjoyed reading his white paper, and I think that this white paper is essential reading.  The paper covers the really important aspects of BIM and Vectorworks will work with this. There is still some confusion over what BIM really is, and what clients expect when they talk about a BIM project, or what is a BIM capable program. 

Do we need BIM? The answer is, we can not avoid it. BIM can reduce waste, reduce errors and increase quality and may increase productivity. So, it will be with us in the future. We are moving from a paper-based physically documented project to a data-rich model based information system, and there is no going back. Even if you only draw in 2D you can still leverage some of the BIM capabilities and advantages such as viewports, associative dimensioning and creating data-rich drawings that allow you to create reports on objects in the drawings. 

In a recent interview, Sean Flaherty, the CEO of Nemetschek North America, stated that
“We offer a whole range of different features and allow architects to choose whether to use them or not. And this is going to continue, even as we build. It’s important to remember that there are people out there still not using BIM techniques. We don’t want to make them second class citizens”

“in some areas it [IFC] is more popular than others. Scandinavian countries, for example, heavily base their operations on IFC, and the US-government now requires plans to be presented in IFC formats. It is increasingly becoming the global standard for model delivery.”

So, if you have to deliver IFC models, you have to use Vectorworks as BIM. In my mind, BIM starts right at the very beginning of the project, even before you have start the conceptual design, and this is where you get the quality benefits of BIM, you can check your concept model against site constraints, site modifiers, solar studies. 

Back to the BIM/IPD white paper…
“Most Vectorworks users use it as a 2D- or 2D-3D CAD product. They may use Vectorworks’ “hybrid design” capabilities to develop a visualization model, then “break” the model to create CAD drawings once the design is approved. Or they may be working in a 2D-only environment, taking advantage of Vectorworks’ graphics capabilities. In either case, the user may be unaware that he can use Vectorworks as a fully interoperable BIM authoring tool, or he may be uncertain of just how to initiate such a workflow in Vectorworks.

Vectorworks is a design tool. Architects using Vectorworks, in the designer tradition of “flexible, versatile, affordable” have always been able to “do their own thing” — as long as the basis of exchange was the physical drawing. And one advantage of Vectorworks for any architecture firm is that it allows the designer to use Vectorworks to “do CAD” or to “do BIM” or even “just design” as the particular design or architectural problem requires.

The BIM delivery of architecture is (not unfairly) perceived as being a more constrained, less flexible environment in which to work. This is true, not the least because the team is now a larger one and the teammates need a common playbook which will not be so tolerant of improvisation or individual style (at least as far as the processes are concerned).”

There are 2 manuals that I have written to help you into BIM:

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