These are exciting times in the building industry. After hundred of years of being dominated by non-intelligent 2D technologies, the industry is now paying attention to a new generation of 3D smart technology. This technology represents buildings not as meaningless 2D lines but as an interconnected set of intelligent 3D parametric objects. As the designer creates or changes these objects, the implications are automatically propagated to ensure the integrity and consistency of the entire project. Implications for safety and cost are continuously maintained.
While our experience with this new technology was exciting and rewarding and at times frustrating, our experience with the LDAC project confirms that technology alone is not the ultimate solution. Developing and managing the partnerships between all concerned parties involved in the design-build process, particularly with owners, designers, builders and fabricators was unquestionably a critical component to its successful implementation.
The Letterman Digital Arts Center (LDAC) project demonstrates that the critical decline in productivity facing the construction industry in this country can be overcome by forward thinking owners and the project management team implementing a construction management process centered around the creation of a smart virtual building information model. The real value of using the BIM process lies in the sharing and integration of information with multiple end-users, designers, contractors, and suppliers through the life cycle of the project. Building information modeling will redefine the roles of architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, building product manufacturers and facility managers because of its powerful 3D visual graphics and storage of intelligent 3D data. A critical issue that has to be dealt with sooner than later is the ownership and accountability of the building information models.