Volume 27, Issue 4- July/August 2013

Metal Matters

The New Design Generation
Standardization for Fenestration BIM Models
by Dean Lewis

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is ushering in a new way of thinking about data. It enables the integration of graphics depicting components and assemblies, spaces, the overall building and the building site across the lifecycle of the project. BIM is also changing the design process—enabling design decisions to be made earlier in the project when the opportunity to influence positive outcomes is maximized and the cost of changes is minimized.

Additionally, adoption of BIM is growing rapidly. According to a 2012 data report from McGraw-Hill Construction, BIM utilization increased from 17 percent in 2007 to more than 70 percent in 2012, despite lingering effects of the Great Recession on the building industry.

As the commercial construction industry continues development and optimization of integrated workflow through the use of such modeling, the need for standardization and quality assurance in product models for windows, curtainwall, storefront and skylights has become apparent. With this in mind, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) recently published AAMA 912-13, Voluntary Specification for Non-Residential Fenestration Building Information Modeling (BIM).

This voluntary specification outlines minimum requirements for two types of models—design intent models and project execution and coordination models—and is intended to be referenced in other industry standards, contract documents, proposals and marketing materials.

BIM Fenestration Models
According to AAMA 912-13, design intent models are fenestration BIM models of “catalog” products of standard size and configuration that are often made available through manufacturers’ websites or industry warehouses/library sites. Design intent models are intended for use in early stages of design for visualization, rendering, product selection and other high-level conceptual purposes.

Project execution and coordination models are project-specific fenestration BIM models that are provided at pre-defined milestones in the project execution process for insertion into the overall project BIM model. Project execution and coordination models represent external extents and attributes of fenestration profiles and accessories and are used in coordination, clash detection, sequencing and other integrated design activities.

Design Benefits
In early conceptual stages of project delivery, a project’s design team benefits from fenestration models that are readily available, easy to use and (where appropriate), consistent between manufacturers, to facilitate the rendering, visualization and product selection process.

After contracts have been issued, project execution teams benefit from accurate and up-to-date fenestration models of the products to be supplied for the project, if the models meet expectations and needs of stakeholders while representing “best value” in their level of detail.

While architects currently are ahead of the curve in utilizing BIM, manufacturers have been more conservative in their acceptance. However, in order for architects and engineers to utilize BIM effectively in their designs, they need manufacturers to provide the objects (doors, windows, skylights, etc.) AAMA 912-13 serves as a guide for manufacturers in assembling BIM information relevant to their standard products and services, which may be voluntarily provided as design intent models or by contract as project execution and coordination models.

AAMA 912-13, Voluntary Specification for Non-Residential Fenestration Building Information Modeling (BIM) may be purchased from AAMA’s


Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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