With the construction industry moving towards Building Information Modeling (BIM) as the preferred method of design and delivery, IMI is partnering with others in the industry to guarantee that masonry products and systems are fully integrated into BIM. Currently masonry is represented in BIM software packages, but not to the extent it should be. According to David Biggs, P.E., S.E., principal of Biggs Consulting Engineering, IMI and NCMA made the first step in 2005 by funding the development of Bentley’s RAM Elements software integrating architecture and structural masonry making structural masonry within BIM possible. He points out, however, that now masonry veneers and full wall systems need to be incorporated into the architectural packages as well.
BIM is capable of integrating engineering, cost estimating, scheduling and project delivery. The masonry industry’s collective effort, which includes contractors, labor and suppliers, will develop BIM tools specific to masonry and put them in the hands of designers to make it easier to design with masonry. “Clearly we have made progress,” says IMI Director of Industry Development, David Sovinski, “but even with structural masonry, you have to use one specific type of software to bridge to Bentley’s RAM Elements software and in other applications, you may have to re-enter the wall qualities. We need to make sure that we are putting our collective resources to work so that masonry does not get outpaced technologically with other building materials.”