y virtually all accounts in the architecture and construction
world, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is here to stay.
Whether it has fully taken off (and where exactly it’s headed)
depends on who you ask. It has, however, been adopted throughout
much of the building products industry, and many glass and metal
companies have gotten on board in recent years.
Most suppliers have realized that BIM is inevitable. The degree to
which they should focus their energy on this technology remains
a bit murky. To clear some of the air, we asked leading suppliers of
architectural glass and metal about where they stand on the use of
Nearly 20 of the most prominent glass and commercial fenestra-
tion producers in North America—representing a signiﬁcant share
of the market—participated in our survey. These include ﬂat glass
suppliers, fabricators and manufacturers of glazing systems such as
curtainwall, commercial windows and storefronts. Here’s what we
Editor’s Note: Roughly two-thirds of respon-
dents were manufacturers of architectural
metal/framing and fenestration systems. The
rest were major glass suppliers.
Does your company have
BIM components (objects,
models, etc.) readily available?
On Top of Their Game
A strong majority of companies that responded to the survey
86 percent) currently have BIM components, such as objects and
models, readily available. They are keeping their information up to
date—nearly the same percentage of suppliers have updated or cre-
ated BIM content within the last year.
This content typically is developed from a collaborative effort, as
more than half of manufacturers say their BIM components are cre-
ated by a combination of in-house staff and third parties. Less than
one-ﬁfth of suppliers develop their BIM content exclusively in-house,
while a quarter of companies leave it completely to a third party.
On average, glass and metal suppliers rate the complexity of their
BIM content as moderate—content is not bare-bones generic, but
has ample room for more speciﬁcs and variations.
Are your BIM components
developed in-house or by an
A Growing Focus
In the last two years, most manufacturers responding to the sur-
vey have seen an increase in demand from the architecture and con-
struction community for BIM resources on their products. This has
prompted more than 75 percent of them to put an increased empha-
sis on BIM in the timeframe, whether that meant developing BIM
content or even just exploring the possibility of doing so.
A majority of suppliers anticipate a continued increase in demand
for BIM content in the next two years,though just under half of com-
panies think they’ll be increasing their emphasis on BIM during that
span. Manufacturers were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 7 how im-
portant it is for them to have BIM content readily available.The aver-
age among respondents was right in the middle at 4, or “moderately
Combination of Both
When is the last time your
company updated or created
any BIM content?
Where it’s Coming From
All survey respondents say architects are the primary requesters
of BIM content. While most say they’ve discussed BIM with glazing
contractors at some point,this does not happen often.Some say they
have never had BIM discussions with contract glaziers.
Project scale appears to have some impact on BIM activity, as ap-
proximately half of respondents say they get requests for this content
only on large projects. However, the other half of them sees BIM re-
quests on projects of all sizes.
Within the last year
More than a year to four years ago
More than four years ago
continued on page 46
November 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing