Architectural Record BE - Building Enclosure

Building Products in BIM

BIM-compliant content for building products, materials and finishes is increasingly critical to the successful future expansion of BIM.
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Sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, greenscreen®, McGraw-Hill Construction, NanaWall Systems Inc., Nystrom, Inc., Pella Commercial and PPG Industries
Stephen A Jones, Senior Director, McGraw-Hill Construction
Continuing Education

Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain how the graphical and non-graphical data in BIM objects of building products significantly contributes to the effective use of BIM.
  2. Apply principles of this learning to more effective use of BIM.
  3. Summarize efficiently to building product manufacturers the data requirements that are essential in BIM objects of building products in order to improve the reader?s future use of BIM.
  4. Assess the quality of BIM objects that the reader is considering for use on a BIM project.



Building Information Modeling (BIM) is dramatically changing the process of designing, documenting, constructing, and maintaining buildings globally. A McGraw-Hill Construction survey of North American architects, engineers, contractors and owners published in December 2009 found that:

  • 48 percent of these companies were using BIM to some degree
  • Over 95 percent of the companies using BIM planned to expand their use of it
  • 40 percent of the non-users forecasted they would adopt BIM by the end of 2011

The industry-transforming power of BIM comes from the fact that the physical and functional characteristics of a building are set forth in a relational database format rather than in drawings, which are just a collection of lines, arcs and text that have no native intelligence and require human interpretation to derive meaning.

The BIM data resides inside intelligent objects of building elements and products which are assembled and configured to produce a virtual model of the building. There are a growing number of objects available for:

  1. Fundamental architectural elements (slabs, exterior walls, roofs, interior partitions, etc.)
  2. Discrete building products (windows, doors, hatches, chiller units, toilets, furnishings, etc.)

These objects contain highly accurate geometric data which is critical for popular BIM processes such as spatial coordination (also known as "clash detection") where system interferences are identified virtually and corrected before causing expensive field changes.

BIM/Revit® Image courtesy of DeMichele Group


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Originally published in Architectural Record


Building Products in BIM
Buyer's Guide
For creating "green wall" landscape elements, greenscreen®'s unique structure wire truss configuration enables spanning between structural members for use as a security fence, privacy screen, shade element, or three-dimensional enclosure. Attachment hardware, posts, colors, shapes, engineering, CAD and BIM available.
Georgia-Pacific Gypsum is a leading manufacturer of innovative and award-winning gypsum solutions which have long been recognized for contributing to the sustainability of commercial and residential buildings. Their pioneering and state-of-the-art fiberglass mat technology has inspired the construction industry to build with products that help manage moisture during and after the construction cycle.
Georgia-Pacific Gypsum
The thermally broken aluminum framed NanaWall HSW60 System, an exterior, weather-resistant, individual (single) panel sliding NanaWall system provides the ultimate in versatility and flexibility.
NanaWall Systems Inc.
Nystrom offers an online library of BIM families for their 10 complementary building product lines—another way to simplify the construction process. This BIM rendering of a wall expansion joint shows the installed joint and adjacent construction. For additional AIA credits, check out Nystrom’s continuing education course, “Building Movement Joints and BIM.”
Pella Commercial offers comprehensive Revit® families for its aluminum-clad wood and fiberglass windows and doors. The families provide flexibility with muntin patterns and sizing, include exterior and interior finish options, provide fields for important energy data like U-factor, and make it easy to group windows, adjust setbacks, and change interior trim conditions. Visit Pella Commercial
Solarban R100 glass is a neutral-reflective, solar control, low-e glass. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of 42 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.23, Solarban R100 glass has a 1.79 light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio, up to 29 percent greater than competing neutral-reflective, low-e glasses.
PPG IdeaScapes
The rapid emergence of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is changing the way AEC project teams work together to communicate, solve problems and build better projects faster and at less cost. And no one can match McGraw-Hill Construction's ability to help you understand and benefit from this transformation. Our special BIM section includes news and case studies; in-depth research; conference & product info; image galleries; and more.
McGraw-Hill Construction