Architectural models have always been an important design  tool on our projects. In the past we made cardboard architectural models. Read our blog model citizen about the virtual models we use in the design process now and how bimx has changed the ways we communicate with our clients, builders and other consultants here.

Cardboard models were great, but we found it difficult to make changes or tweaks to the design without destroying the model. Quite often after a few changes they would end up in the bin and we would start anew – and so they often quickly became very expensive design tools.

Another problem with making cardboard models was that the workflow didnt tie in with the documentation process. In other words none of the time spent modelling in cardboard could be converted into the building consent documentation. The two work streams (modelling and drawing) were independent and it made the design process repetitive and inefficent.

Luckily BIM (Building Information Modelling) came to the rescue. There is nothing new about making virtual models in Archicad – I have been working in archicad for fifteen years now. Modelling in Archicad not only made it possible to model options easily, but importantly it allowed us to convert all the work we had done modelling and designing into working drawings. This had a significant impact on the design process. Linking the modelling and drawing phases was a game changer for small design led practices like mine – and its meant that we can invest time into refining the forms and materials early in the process – which allows me to manage cost, risk in design. It allows provided a great platform to collaborate more closely with clients because these virtual models make it much easier to envision the finished product.

The big problem with BIM has always been that we had to print the final information on to drawings – there was no way we could issue the data rich models to clients or builders.

Bimx has changed all that – we are now able to send clients and builders virtual models that they can download on their ipads or iphones. It means that they can access all the details, schedules and quantities direct from the model while on site. Its a really powerful design tool and I have started using it on all my projects.

You can try it in two simple steps!

Step 1: Download bimx app to your Computer, Ipad or iphone here . Its free – you dont the pro version and the standard version is free!

Step 2: You can then view the model of the Lake Pupuke house we designed currently being built by Thorburn builders here

You will be able to walk through the model on your device – exploring the model and going through the spaces on your phone! Builders are able to view details, schedules and quantities on their ipads on site – its a very powerful tool!

While Computer models dont quite capture the craft and attention to detail that these cardboard models used to generate – apps like bim x clients are much more powerful because of all the data that is bound up in the model. How many windows on the job? How much glass? What architrave and fascia details have been specified – these can all now be downloaded on your phone – It makes it a great platform to manage costs and risks – and give the clients a much richer design experience.

I still make occasional white cardboard models to rationalise forms and explore architectural relationships on complex jobs – but I love bimx. In my view it is a game changer and a sign of things to come. I would love to hear from you if you have a project that we can help you build – first on our computer screens – and then on your site!

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