Can You Supplement BIM With 3D PDFs?
Sasha Reed discusses the virtues of 3d PDF within BIM applications for AEC.
For many project teams, virtual design and construction and BIM are opening up a whole new world where products and materials are specified in models and clashes are detected before ground is even broken. The ability to design and share instructions in 3D is making teams more efficient.
The goal of BIM is to tie together valuable information created, distributed and gathered during the project life cycle, remove process inefficiencies, and change the way information is shared and utilized. More and more, teams are implementing electronic plan rooms and BIM rooms so all stakeholders can interact with project data, documents and each other to get on the same page at the start of a project.
The Power of the Universal File
But what happens when project partners don’t have access to or technical knowledge of solutions leveraging BIM? How can teams make sure that all members—including consultants, engineers, contractors and clients—can contribute to the conversation as early as possible?
For many project teams, the answer is to leverage PDFs. Owners, engineers, architects, contractors and facilities professionals are transforming industry workflows by using PDFs to go digital. Users electronically create, redline and share 2D PDFs for design reviews, estimates and RFIs through punch lists, closeouts and facilities management. Easily navigable digital document sets are created with assigned user access and document management permissions to ensure that the right team members receive the right information at the right time. And, robust PDF solutions track all annotations for built-in accountability.
The most innovative teams also are bridging the gap between those who typically have access to BIM and those who don’t via 3D PDFs. All team members can contribute to and greatly benefit from the ability to view, navigate and comment on portions of 3D models exported from Revit, Navisworks Manage, Navisworks Simulate or any IFC file.
3D PDF Functionality
Invaluable content is more accessible than ever before with the ability to slice 3D models, paste 3D views onto RFIs, isolate 3D model regions and manipulate objects within 3D assemblies—all to get answers more quickly.
Once exported into a 3D PDF format, users can manipulate and navigate 3D PDF models and add industry-standard or customizable markups to 3D views. The 3D functionality in some digital solutions makes it easier to clarify questions and resolve issues more accurately and earlier in the process. For example, in addition to simply adding markups to 3D views, users can copy and paste specific 3D objects from one PDF to another to more clearly document questions about a particular building element, essentially creating the next generation of RFIs.
Advanced PDF solutions include sectioning tools to expose interior details of a model and tools to explode and reanimate parts within 3D assemblies. Project team members can isolate specific rooms or elements, pull apart elements to drill down to details, and provide a better visual explanation of complex issues or how pieces should fit together. Users can create exploded views of typically hard-to-reach places and then smoothly animate the re-assemblies. Then, these new 3D views can be saved and shared to communicate how elements fit together for immediate field issue resolution.
These 3D document-based conversations can take place onsite or among remote project team members in real time through collaboration solutions built into PDF software. Cloud-based PDF technology brings multiple project partners together online to coordinate and resolve issues in real time.
Leveraging 3D PDF technology bridges the BIM gap among project partners so teams can facilitate better communication throughout the design and construction process. The combined powers of BIM and PDF enable designers, contractors and owners to minimize the risk of costly rework, communicate issues clearly and concisely and, ultimately, finish projects faster.