Building Information Modelling (BIM) and AV Solutions

(13 Nov 2015)

Building Information Modelling sounds complex, right? Well, yes and no. The very bright people who make Building Information Modelling (BIM) software certainly put a lot of complex things into it, but at the heart of it, BIM is really straightforward. Simply put, BIM lets you construct a 3D digital model of a building or a room.

You've seen this before, in a more analogue sense. In a traditional wooden architect's model, all of the planned rooms, windows, doors, stairs and so on, are clearly laid out in front of you. That kind of model gives you a reasonable amount of information about how the building will look, but Building Information Modelling goes one step further: with BIM, you can simulate the way the building or room will behave in all kinds of conditions. Using BIM is therefore a really useful way to understand how any audio visual equipment you are planning to use will work in a space, before you have plugged a single device into the wall.

BIM gives you information that would have been very difficult to work out with traditional 2D modelling. For example, you may believe you want your AV equipment in a particular place, but BIM can tell you how the equipment will be impacted by, say, the planned lighting design. Then you can experiment with the lighting design to make the overall experience better. And, if you want to get really clever, you can even figure out the impact of the planned AV setup on the building's energy usage profile.

If you are building from scratch, BIM really comes in handy. Using Building Information Modelling, you can plan how and when the AV setup should be installed, to avoid conflicts in the construction process-which can be expensive to correct if you get them wrong. BIM helps answer these questions by giving you information about every part of the process, from technical design and scheduling, to virtual walkthroughs of the finished product. This means more efficiency and less rework, which of course results in cost savings.

Even better, you can use BIM to model buildings and rooms that already exist, allowing you a better understanding of the potential impact of any planned audio visual solutions. You can see how different equipment and configurations could change the aesthetic of the overall design, or even work out how more sustainable equipment options in the AV setup can lead to energy and money savings-while still maintaining the overall look that you want from your audio visual solution.

Using BIM to plan the setup of audio visual equipment allows for less waste at the building stage, better understanding of the environmental impact of any given setup, and happier end users who get what they planned for-because they were able to experience it before it even existed. So even if the software behind BIM is complex, a decision to use it should be totally straightforward for anyone who values time, money, and good planning.

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