by Radu Dicher, LFA, ASLA
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a project execution and delivery process articulated entirely around data. Taking a step back to gain perspective, it’s hard to underestimate how critical data is in the world at large at this point in time. Truly, what is reality anymore?…Within the architecture, engineering, construction, operation, and facility management (AECO-FM) industry, a process having accelerated during the past couple of decades renders the current status of the field essentially scaffolding around a data-centric framework. I like to frame the issue by explaining that the 3D geometry—the most conspicuous exhibit of BIM product, the “model” everyone’s thinking of when thinking of BIM—is just one of the byproducts of the data embedded in the digital project.
Entering the landscape architecture practice: in a sense, our trade is one of the last to join the paradigmatic shift. A pertinent point to be made is that a certain understanding of the “BIM” acronym—where “building” is not understood as a process (the latter being the preferred interpretation today) but as the noun—explicitly all but excludes our trade entirely. This is also the reason why some professionals in the field, including myself, petition for replacing the word “building” with “project,” such as in using the “digital project” concept. But essentially all current projects are BIM—which sets their underlying structure, articulates the deliverables of most trades, and, most frequently, delivers a comprehensive normative standards framework to the project.
But along this “assimilation” process, one of the typical expectations from the rest of the trades in absorbing us as full participants is the actual informational contribution, we, as landscape architects, can pitch into the project data pool. It’s the question I’ve been asked most as a landscape architecture practice BIM manager.