An article recently published in LUX reflects on the role of lighting design in Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is evolving past a 3D construction modeling system to include all services, including lighting. This opens the possibility for BIM to become a new collaborative tool for design teams.
Typically, the lighting design for a building only comes along once the building design is ‘frozen’; everyone has agreed where the walls and the ceiling are going and – if we’re lucky – where all the furniture will be placed. At this point it’s possible for the lighting designer, who might be a manufacturer, to produce the layouts and the supporting performance data. It is the system that we all understand and we know the drawbacks to it.
But that traditional approach brings its own problems. A ‘frozen’ scheme can be unfrozen at any point, requiring a late re-visit to the scheme; manufacturers often find that they’re just one among a number of other manufacturers, with no guarantee that all of the time taken in developing the scheme will result in an order; worst of all, a successful scheme, costed and approved, can still be lost due to ‘value engineering’.
The BIM approach will be different. The higher level of engagement required by the members of the project team will create an inherent flexibility within the process. This will make design changes more organic to the process. The productivity benefit comes from directly supporting design development – a far cry from the phonecall that would once inform designers of major changes.
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