Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a powerful tool that is widely utilized in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries in the United States for the design and construction of buildings, and is becoming prevalent worldwide. The BIM model can be used not only for architectural design, but also to analyze, design, and monitor multiple systems within a building. The structural engineer will keep a BIM model up-to-date with structural information as part of the design team requirements, but they must also model the building structure in separate programs for the purpose of structural analysis and design. This requirement for modeling the building twice is an inefficient use of resources, especially since a BIM model has the capabilities of aiding the structural design process through interfacing with those same programs.
Utilizing a BIM model for the purpose of structural analysis and design is a topic that needs to be explored to understand its limits of application, and how it can be taught to students who will become part of the AEC industry upon graduation. With each new version of a BIM program, its interface with other programs related to the building systems analysis and design is enhanced and should be studied. Research on this topic will allow for discoveries on how and what to teach students, as well as what industry feels the new graduates should know pertaining to the subject. This paper will explore the use of BIM in the structural design process for Architectural Engineering programs. It will include a literary search on the use of this method in higher education, and will detail the process in which it is introduced into intermediate design courses in steel and concrete, with student assessment of the process.
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