International Masonry Institute News

IMI and Masonry Industry Join Together For BIM Initiative

The International Masonry Institute (IMI), the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), The Masonry Society (TMS), and the Western States Clay Products Association (WSCPA) are financially sponsoring the National Building Information Modeling for Masonry Initiative (BIM-M) in order to include masonry materials and systems into BIM software for the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Numerous affiliated groups have joined in with their support.

Russell Gentry, professor at the Digital Building Laboratory of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and David Biggs, principal of Biggs Consulting Engineering, are leading this industry consortium. “The purpose of our initiative is to unify the masonry industry and all supporting industries through the development and implementation of BIM for masonry software to create smoother workflows and collaboration across all disciplines,” said Gentry. Charles Eastman, recognized for his development of BIM, is the technical lead on the project.

“All members of the building community are going to benefit from the inclusion of masonry into BIM software,” stresses Biggs. “Building owners will have more advanced tools for understanding total cost of building ownership and upkeep, architects and engineers will have better design and communication tools, and the masons and other trades on the construction site will experience better scheduling, safety, and site logistics.”

An executive committee has been established with representatives from the diverse sponsoring organizations. “Our organization as well as others within the masonry industry are committed to bringing masonry products and systems to the forefront of technology so they are as user friendly as possible,” said IMI President Joan Calambokidis.

Work groups with an emphasis on Architectural Modeling, Structural Modeling, Construction Management, Construction Activities, and Material Supply will be established to look at masonry BIM from all angles. “We hope others in the industry will join us in this critical first phase,” said Jim Boland, president of the IUBAC. “When there is an opportunity to give masonry systems a chance to compete on an equal footing, we are sure that designers will recognize the value and benefits of our products and delivery systems.” Interested parties can contact Russell Gentry for information on joining a work group.

The first phase of the National BIM for Masonry Initiative is expected to wrap up in early 2013 and will deliver a roadmap for bringing masonry into BIM. This roadmap is expected to include specific project plans for standardizing masonry unit databases, developing automated 3-D layout of structures with all types of masonry (structural and veneer), and integrating BIM systems with structural analysis systems and all types of supply chain applications.

If you have questions about the BIM-M initiative, please contact David Sovinski at