How to Start 3D BIM Modeling: My Comprehensive Guide How to Start 3D BIM Modeling my guide 3D BIM Modeling
My Guide To Starting 3D BIM Modeling

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a process that allows teams to create and manage building information. This includes everything from design sketches to construction drawings, and from material quantities to costs.

In recent years BIM has become essential for design and construction professionals. If you’re new to 3D BIM modeling or want to learn more about it, this comprehensive guide is for you. In it, we’ll discuss the basics of 3D BIM modeling and offer some tips on getting started.

1) What Is 3D BIM Modeling?

BIM modeling is a process used to create a three-dimensional representation of an asset with information.

The virtual model contains intelligent 3D objects instead of just 2D lines, which can help with visualization, quantification, and simulation of design, construction, and other tasks related to the building process.

The model can also simulate various aspects of the construction process, such as traffic flow, material movement, and lighting.

3D BIM models are created by drawing in 2D with elevation data, generating a three-dimensional representation of walls, windows, pumps, pipes, and everything in between!

Once the data is inputted into the BIM tools/software, it can be used to create various views of the building or structure, such as plans, sections, elevations, perspective views, and more!

Here’s a great example from Arturo’s excellent course about Modeling for Parametric Buildings with Revit:

3D BIM Modeling Examples in Revit by Arturo Bustíos Casanova
3D BIM Modeling Examples in Revit by Arturo Bustíos Casanova

The benefit of using 3D BIM models is that they provide a more visual and easily understandable representation of the construction project than two-dimensional (2D) drawings.

3D BIM models can also generate accurate estimates of construction costs, timelines, and many other uses!

Read here about Zara’s fave model uses: My Top 10 Uses for BIM in Construction Management – Plus Three Bonus BIM Resources!

2) How To Start Your First 3D BIM Modeling Project

How to start 3D modelling? The 3D model should always come first (before the 2D drawings); however, sometimes, the easiest way to start learning with 3D BIM modeling is to create a model from a digital copy of your building plans. This can be done simply by scanning any existing paper plans.

Once you have a digital copy of your plans, you can begin to reference the 2D, trace the walls and add detailed information about the dimensions and materials of each element.

This 2D to 3D process is still sometimes how BIM models are created in real-world projects too!

This process helps pre-construction teams find all of the issues with an existing 2D plan set on a project that may not yet use BIM, however it is not really known as proper BIM modeling.

Here is a basic introduction to creating a 3D floor plan using Revit – from the Balkan Architect:

BIM modeling for beginners – by the Balkan Architect

Once your BIM model is complete, you can use it to create additional information such as schedules, quantities, costs, and resources.

These additional uses of the BIM model help to create a more comprehensive view of your construction project and make it easier to identify potential problems and issues.

Using 3D BIM modeling, you can ensure that your construction project is well-planned and coordinated from start to finish!

3) What Software Programs Are Used To Create 3D BIM models?

BIM software programs allow architects, engineers, and construction professionals to collaborate on a project’s design, construction, and operation.

The most common building information modeling software are:

  1. Autodesk Revit
  2. ArchiCAD
  3. AllPlan
  4. Vectorworks
  5. Solidworks
  6. Bricscad
  7. Tekla

Each program has its own unique set of features and capabilities. 

BIM software programs are essential to the design and construction process – they allow professionals to work together to create better buildings.

If you would like to learn more about different BIM tools, Jannee has a great list here: My Top 10 Best BIM Software Programs

4) Tips For Creating Accurate And Realistic 3D Models

Any designer or engineer will tell you that accuracy is vital in 3D modeling; the last thing you want is for your model to be inaccurate.

Unfortunately, even the most experienced designers sometimes struggle to create true-to-life 3D models.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when creating 3D models is the scope of your project.

Ask yourself who will use the BIM model – this will help you determine the level of detail necessary for your model.

It’s essential to consider the purpose of your model.

Do you really need to create a realistic representation of an existing site? Or will some basic massing of the existing conditions be enough?

The level of accuracy required will also differ depending on your goal.

If you’re using manufacturers’ products, you won’t need to be as precise as you would if you were designing complex systems that need to be built from scratch using your fabrication-level drawings.

Once you’ve determined the scope and purpose of your project, you can start to focus on the details.

Regarding 3D modeling, accuracy is all about getting the small things right.

Pay attention early on to the origin point and coordinate system – so that you don’t have to make significant updates later.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

If you’re having trouble creating the 3D BIM models you need, there’s no shame in seeking out the assistance of a professional.

A designer or engineer who has experience with 3D modeling software can often provide valuable insights and tips – there are so many experts willing to help.

The more you work with 3D modeling software, the better you’ll become at creating realistic and accurate models.

5) How Does The Coordination Process Work In 3D Modeling, And How Can It Be Improved?

The coordination process in 3D BIM modeling generally works by allowing different team members to work on various aspects of the model concurrently and then integrating their contributions into a single cohesive model.

However, this process is not without its challenges.

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that all team members work with the same updated model version.

This cannot be easy to manage when team members are located in different areas or working at different times, however with a clear BIM Execution Plan (BEP), a solid Common Data Environment (CDE), and model-syncing software; you will be able to solve most of these issues.

Another challenge is dealing with conflicts between different team members’ contributions.

For example, if two team members are working on the same area of the model, they may inadvertently make changes that conflict with each other.

To address these challenges, some coordination tools allow team members to see each other’s work in real-time, which can help to prevent conflicts from arising in the first place.

Additionally, some tools (like BIM track and Revizto) provide mechanisms for resolving conflicts automatically or with minimal input from the user.

BIM track issue - 3D BIM modeling issue
BIM Track model issue example

Using such tools makes it possible to improve the coordination process in 3D BIM modeling and make it more efficient and effective.

6) What Challenges Does 3D BIM Present To The Construction Industry, And How Can These Be Overcome?

The construction industry increasingly turns to 3D BIM (Building Information Modeling) to plan and construct buildings more efficiently.

However, the technology presents several challenges that need to be overcome for it to be truly effective.

One challenge is the increased complexity of data that needs to be managed.

With 3D BIM, more dimensions and stakeholders are involved, making it potentially difficult for a more traditional industry to keep track of all the information.

Another challenge is the need for specialized software and hardware – not all construction firms have the necessary resources to invest in these tools, even those that often struggle to keep up with the ever-changing technology.

Finally, there is a learning curve for both designers and contractors.

It can take some time for teams to get used to working with 3D models and even collaborating online!

While these challenges may seem daunting, there are ways to overcome them.

By investing in the right software and training, firms can transition to 3D BIM and reap the many benefits of the technology – you can even use some 3D BIM modeling services to kick-start your implementation.

Summing Up

3D BIM modeling can be an extremely valuable process for architects and construction professionals.

It ultimately allows for a more efficient, accurate, and collaborative design process.

If you are starting out with 3D BIM modeling, I hope my guide has been a useful starting point – remember to start small and build on your successes.

With some practice, you can create stunning 3D models that help you visualize your projects many months before they are even built!

The Plannerly Team is also here to help! 😃

You can create a free Plannerly account today, and you’ll be able to not only plan but also manage all of those pesky BIM tasks that keep popping up between other commitments.

You can set deadlines for yourself or others, so there are no surprises later down the line; share progress updates instantly through email as soon as something gets done.

Get started free today:

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Frequently Asked Questions About 3D BIM Modeling

BIM modeling tools can be intimidating for newcomers. However, with some guidance, anyone can start using these tools to improve their company’s efficiency.

Here I have tried to summarize some answers to the most common questions that I get asked about 3D BIM modeling – I hope you can use them too:

What is BIM modeling?

BIM modeling is the process used to create a three-dimensional representation of a building, structure, or asset. BIM modeling allows users to create and view a virtual model with intelligent 3D objects instead of just 2D lines, which can help with visualization, quantification, and simulation of design, construction, and other tasks related to the building process.

How do I get started with 3D BIM modeling?

Many software programs allow for BIM modeling, so you’ll need to choose one that fits your needs. The most common BIM software programs are Autodesk Revit, ArchiCAD, AllPlan, Vectorworks, Solidworks, Bricscad, and Tekla. Each program has its own unique set of features and capabilities. Once you’ve selected a program, you’ll need to learn how to use it. Many other resources are available online to help you get started.

What are the benefits of using BIM modeling?

BIM offers many benefits for both individuals and businesses alike. Some benefits of BIM modeling include improved communication between team members, improved safety and accuracy during construction, and reduced construction costs. Here is a list of the top 5 Incredible Benefits Of BIM In Construction 👍

Is BIM a Software?

No, BIM is not a software. BIM is a process that allows teams to create, share, analyze, and manage information about the built environment.

How much does it cost to do BIM?

The cost of BIM software varies depending on the program you choose. Some programs are free, while others can cost several thousand dollars. However, the benefits of using BIM often outweigh the costs.

Is it hard to learn BIM?

No, BIM is not hard to learn. There are many tutorials available online that can teach you how to use the software. However, it may take some time to become proficient in using it.

How to improve project efficiency with BIM

When it comes to 3D modeling in civil engineering or construction projects, I always try to use the latest BIM software and tools. This helps ensure that all of my projects are designed with precision and accuracy. Additionally, by making sure that I have the best equipment for modeling, I can create models quickly and efficiently with minimal errors or mistakes. With modern 3D modeling software, it’s easier than ever to use 3D CAD workflows.

To create a 3D model using BIM, you can use various software tools and applications, such as Autodesk Revit, SketchUp, or ArchiCAD. These tools allow you to create detailed 3D models that can be used to visualize a building’s design, construction, and maintenance.

One important aspect of 3D modeling in construction is the ability to view and share 3D models with others involved in the project. BIM 3D viewers allow project teams to collaborate and share information in real time, reducing errors and improving project efficiency.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to get started with 3D modeling in building and construction, consider exploring online resources and tutorials, attending industry conferences and workshops, or connecting with other professionals in the field. With the right tools and knowledge, 3D modeling can greatly improve building, construction, and infrastructure projects’ design, construction, and maintenance.

I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.

Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!

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