While Building Information Modeling (BIM) is standard operating procedure on large commercial projects, relatively few residential builders have gotten on board. The few home builders who are using it call it a game changer; the technology has real innovation potential for home building in general and in green, high-performance building, in particular.
Less Time, More Profit, Better Quality
BIM refers to a three-dimensional model of the home that links to one or more underlying databases with costs, schedules, product specifications, engineering data and more.
The model offers several benefits. Because it shows the home's structural and mechanical systems, both in isolation and in relation to one another, conflicts (such as a duct that runs into a water or drain line) can be identified and eliminated at the design stage instead of requiring field variances to correct. Also, the underlying data will immediately display the price and schedule implications of any changes and options. The model can even be used to generate 3D presentations and walkthroughs for use by the sales staff.
Used correctly, BIM can yield lower design costs, more accurate estimates, fewer change orders and easier sales — all of which benefits builders’ bottom lines.
Enabling High Performance
The above benefits are ones any builder should be interested in, but as noted above, BIM can be a particularly good fit for high-performance construction.
A zero-energy home
starts with good design, then moves through a series of decisions about construction detailing, equipment choice, plug loads and renewables, with each decision set building on the ones before it. The BIM model makes the decision-making process easier. It has the potential to show how every system in the home fits into the overall design and allows the builder to quickly see how different choices at each of those phase of the project can impact energy usage, home performance and the budget.
Tools like this may become more important as technology advances are made and homes get more complex. The model can also help demonstrate to customers the impact that occupant behavior can have on home performance.
NAHB offers additional resources
to help builders who are interested in constructing high-performance homes, including a sustainability toolkit
. For more information, contact Jaclyn Toole
, assistant vice president of sustainability and green building, or follow @NAHB_Green
This article was originally written for the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA). The full post is available here.