Bridging Building Information Modeling and Parametric Design

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Building Information Modeling is receiving an ever-increasing acceptance in the building industry and in construction-related education or research. More and more, Architects, Engineers, but also Contractors and Building Owners are starting to understand the benefits and the potential of BIM. Legislation and trade organizations are developing recommendations and requirements for BIM-based processes. The adoption of BIM is gradually approaching 50% of all users, if we are to believe some of the studies that are published on this subject, although wide differences can be witnessed between countries and regions.

However, there are still many practitioners and researchers who are still not convinced about the benefits of BIM, either out of lack of experience or based on a different point-of-view on the design process, where BIM is often disregarded.

A good example can be found in the large amount of designers who integrate parametric modeling and visual programming into their design workflow, using applications such as Grasshopper. While they might involve BIM as a part of their projects, its role is usually limited to post-design elaboration, to create construction documentation.

This paper discusses some of the limitations in BIM, by positioning and comparing it with Parametric Modeling. BIM usability throughout the design process is strengthened, by improving the integration between both approaches.

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  • Building Information Modeling is receiving an ever-increasing acceptance in the building industry and in construction-related education or research. More and more, Architects, Engineers, but also Contractors and Building Owners are starting to understand the benefits and the potential of BIM. However, there are still many practitioners and researchers who are still not convinced about the benefits of BIM, either out of lack of experience or based on a different point-of-view on the design process, where BIM is often disregarded. Especially during the early stages of the design process, architects are reluctant to start using the BIM approach, instead relying on more generic modeling and drawing techniques, e.g. by using SketchUp or 2D drafting software.
  • PARAM = a composition of geometric entities. the designer controls the generation of objects from an overall logical script or scenarioBIM = The creation of a digital, virtual mockup of a building project is done by modeling and adjusting parametric objects. These objects have their own, “intelligent” behavior and are configured by setting the property values of all exposed parameters.Thedesigner models the skeleton of an object in a BIM system, whereas underlying algorithms generate the flesh and skin that will be the realization of the object.BIM = PARAMETRIC, but usually modelled piece-by-pieceWhile BIM relies strongly on parametric functionality, it is mostly used on an object-level. The BIM model thus behaves more like an assembly of rather independent objects. In parametric design, the whole project becomes a single assembly, with full control over both the overall form and the smaller details.
  • PARAM = freeform double-curved geometry, parametric systems seem to be more flexible and capable, mostly because of the generic platform on which they are commonly developed, e.g. Rhino, MicroStation and CATIA for Grasshopper, Generative Components and Digital Project respectively.BIM = One notable argument to avoid the use of BIM in the early stages of a building project is the requirement to enter quite a lot of design information upfront. In typical BIM software, a wall immediately receives a full composition, including insulation and finishing. Some people suggest using “generic, empty” compositions.Especially as the model itself contains an abundance of project-related information, it is frustrating to note that representations are mostly limited to traditional drawings and 3D views, whereas relationships and diagrammatical representations seem lacking.
  • PARAM = geometry contains little information and is not so different from geometry created in traditional CAD systems: BIM = All entities have a clear meaning and function. The culmination of the BIM structure are the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), which describe all possible and foreseeable building elements in over 800 entities, 350 property sets and over 100 data typesIFC-SDK (url: joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/ifc-sdk/home) is an Open Source C++ library for reading and writing IFC files. There are no dependencies to any external libraries or software platforms. The included examples have test routines available, but seem to focus mostly on showcasing geometric aspects.IfcOpenShell(url: www.ifcopenshell.org) is an Open Source C++ library, with additional geometry support through the OpenCASCADE geometry kernel. Although the focus seems to be on the viewing and loading aspects of IFC models and on conversion to other software tools for visualization.IfcGears(url: www.ifcgears.com) is an Open Source C++ framework, which generates IFC compatible classes from the original Express files. This framework is also illustrated with a viewer applications, using Open Source toolkits for the graphical user interface (Nokia Qt) and for the scenegraph (OpenSceneGraph), required to manage the graphical display and view manipulation.OpenIfcTools(url: http://www.openifctools.org) is Open Source for non-commercial use. This set of libraries is written in Java and is cross-platform. There is a fully functional viewer available, but support for modeling and scheduling is in preparation.BIM Server
  • PARAM = notable exception is the design patterns initiative by Robert Woodbury (url: www.designpatterns.ca)BIM = To a certain extent, project participants can collaborate on a project using and even defining their preferred process and to a large extend independent of the software tool that is being used.The preferred approach is through dedicated model views, where subsets of the building model are exported and imported for particular exchange events. E.g. instead of hoping that a complete model will be perfectly translated, without any loss of information and while still being able to work seamlessly between different systems, only the information subset that is at stake will be exchangedOpenBIM initiative
  • PARAM = Shape & Form= Modeled or generatedBIM = mass modeling > one-direction only
  • PARAM: export or link to toolsIntegrated (e.g. Karamba) vs. external (e.g. link to ANSYS, energy+, …)BIM: more and more integrated
  • GeometryGym > Grasshopper to structural Analysis + IFC .NET wrapperANAR+ > Processing, generate native scripts + native GDL = recreate parametric logicChameleon > a model from Revit is exported using the gbXML-format and then loaded inside Grasshopper, allowing for further manipulation and analysis.Vasari > integration of parametric modeling and Revit system w. integrated analysisDynamo >open source extension for Revit and Vasari, to provide Visual Dataflow Programming
  • Native/integrated parametric objects:GDL ObjectsRevit Families
  • e.g. Grasshopper > gHowl add-onInitially, only a small set of messages are considered, to create, select, remove, copy, paste or transform objects and to modify a particular property X with value Y of the selected objects. E.g. an energy analysis system does not require the full geometry of rooms and spaces, but rather the connectivity between spaces.Parallel > e.g. BIM model > test cost, structure, … simultaneously
  • Often the GUID is generated and can not be set deliberatelyRedundancy checks are missing. Maybe TCP/IP is a more stabile alternative?Inspired by BCF but try to be less formal, more direct
  • elaborate the integration of these approaches in the design process, to benefit from advantages in bothThe BIM model is still linked to performance evaluation based on structured information in the building model. But the creation of the digital model can rely more on the parametric design paradigms, where design intent and external information streams can be captured to generate models. different applications are used collaboratively,
  • Bridging Building Information Modeling and Parametric Design

    1. 1. Bridging Building Information Modeling and Parametric DesignECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 1
    2. 2. Overview1. Research Context2. Parametric Design versus BIM: the differences3. Bridging Gaps between Parametric Design & BIM4. ConclusionsECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 2
    3. 3. Increased usage of BIMLimited use in Early Design stagesCompare with modeling, drafting & parametric designConceptual FrameworkRESEARCH CONTEXTECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 3
    4. 4. Conceptual FrameworkECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 4
    5. 5. Conceptual Framework (cont.)ECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 5
    6. 6. Conceptual Framework (cont.)ECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 6
    7. 7. Conceptual Framework (cont.)ECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 7
    8. 8. Compare BIM & Parametric DesignDifferences: Approaches, Semantics, Interoperability & Collaboration,Bottom-up & Top-down, Integrated Analysis‘STRESSED’ RELATIONSHIPBETWEEN BIM & PARAMETRICDESIGNECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 8
    9. 9. Compare BIM & Parametric DesignParametric Design BIM• Full "project” or subset of • Object-level: scripted, project parametric objects e.g. roof, canopy e.g. window, chair• Input & parameters • Skeleton geometry = capturing design intent manipulation• Algorithms, formulas, • Parametric detail constraints geometry generationECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 9
    10. 10. Differences between approachesParametric Design BIM• Regular + freeform • Structured model geometry • Embedded information• Visual Programming • Integrated construction documentation (“drawings”) ResultECPPM2012 26-07-2012 2 communities, 2 approaches Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 10
    11. 11. Differences between semanticsParametric Design BIM• points, curves, surfaces, • pre-defined set of layers elements & attributes• Generic underlying CAD • large set of classes system • Open Source• Flexible Frameworks• Not-domain specific – class generation – enablers of custom initiativesECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 11
    12. 12. Differences in interoperability & CollaborationParametric Design BIM• Tied to software tools • Less tied to specific software (gradually)• Exchange in the form of • Model and data-centric static geometry or approaches generated IFC files – e.g. BIM ServersECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 12
    13. 13. Differences in Bottom-Up & Top-DownParametric Design BIM• Overal shape & form • Some mass modeling• Panelling, subdivision, tesselation strategies• Assembly of small • Modeling individual repeated non-identical objects entitiesECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 13
    14. 14. Differences in integration of analysisParametric Design BIM• Ad-hoc/custom links • Integrated solutions• Integrated vs external e.g. EcoDesigner, Vasari • IFC-based tools • Design model vs analytical model e.g. structural, MEP, spatial Still… Multi-criteria? Visual Feedback?ECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 14
    15. 15. What are others doing?An alternative suggestionProblemsMockupBRIDGING GAPS BETWEENPARAMETRIC DESIGN & BIMECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 15
    16. 16. Examples of Integration• GeometryGym• ANAR+• Chameleon• Vasari• DynamoECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 16
    17. 17. Examples of Integration• GeometryGym• ANAR+• Chameleon• Vasari• Dynamo• GDL Objects• Revit FamiliesECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 17
    18. 18. Alternative: Message Passing• Background: MIDI, UDP, OSC• Small set of messages• Generate and remember creator ID• Subsets of information• Parallel processing (different machine, different OS) BIM1 /OSC/modify/objectid/prop BIM2 App erty/value AppECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 18
    19. 19. Possible problems• GUID to GUID mappings• OSC/UDP = Real-time protocol – messages can get lost! – Other protocols are slower but have control concept• Suggest Mixed use: exchange IFC model and use messages for manipulation & interrogation• Adhere (partially) to BCF but less formalECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 19
    20. 20. Possible Examples?Ex. Quantity Estimation• BIM model• Generated listings• Python interpretation for Quantity Estimation• Select entry in listing• Display element in viewerECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 20
    21. 21. Possible Examples?Ex. Param > BIM > SIM• Rough Parametric Model• generate skeleton walls, floors and roofs• generate spaces• generate IFC model• generate area & cost estimationECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 21
    22. 22. IntegrationBIM Model generationCollaborative use of applicationsCONCLUSIONSECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 22
    23. 23. Thank you for your attention Questions? stefan.boeykens@asro.kuleuven.beECPPM2012 26-07-2012 Dr. Arch.Eng. Stefan Boeykens 23

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