The traditional approach to project design, even on major projects involving several different architects, designers and engineers, is for each of these agents to work using their own preferred software. This way of working is characterised by high costs of data collection and entry combined with inevitable data inconsistencies. Now it is working to find the following objectives:
– The integration of quantitative design approaches (manufacturing and use costs, energy requirement and costs, environmental impact) into one software solution.
– The consideration of the building’s over all life cycle phases (construction, use, disposal).
– The use of a modular element construction to ensure data consistency and allow work to progress smoothly and without interruption throughout the project.
A decisive step forward was made with the agreement of a means of dividing the tasks between the CAD dimensional information (with the graphical information and the building cost information (with the database for the building description); the solution being a shared interface, the building information model, (BIM). The design team now has a digital tool available that links the design process with cost information. The modular structure of the data model allows the information to be updated to the current state of the building design at appreciate aggregation stages.