North Seattle Community College Launches 3-D Building Information Modeling Program

The construction industry is actively seeking workers trained to use both Building Information Modeling (BIM) and advanced industry-standard Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. Starting in fall quarter 2011, students can get cutting-edge BIM training, as well as core CAD skills, through NSCC’s Architectural Engineering Drafting Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and BIM certificate program. With knowledge of BIM software, building design has become much more sophisticated, shifting the focus to sustainability in both design and construction. Various BIM-based programs (design, mechanical/electrical/plumbing and structural Revit programs are taught at NSCC) can be combined to plan a building based on green principles. You can analyze what energy systems will work best in a particular design and location — what will be least and most expensive up front and what will be the most efficient over time. 

“As soon as I saw what BIM could do, six years ago, I knew it would change the way I worked as an architect,” program coordinator/faculty member Stephen Simmons explains. “BIM is smarter than CAD. With CAD design alone, you had to draw every line in a two-dimensional format. Now, with BIM, it becomes three-dimensional, with all the information referenced for multiple applications. ‘Cut’ a section of a wall and you can ‘see’ its material make-up, including 2-by-4s, dry wall, insulation, electrical and plumbing. CAD cannot show these sections instantly; but in your BIM drawing, you can produce these drawings seamlessly.” 

BIM programming can analyze parts of a building for patterns of sunlight and calculate the amount of heating and cooling required to keep each room at a comfortable temperature day and night, taking geographical location into account. BIM can also factor in the energy savings from possible solar collectors.
Finding qualified teachers of BIM programs is challenging, because these skills are still new in the industry. NSCC is on the forefront of this education and has become a resource for other schools nationwide wanting to start similar programs.
Posted on: May 17th, 2011 at 15:54:48

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