BIM What is it and Why Your Architect Should Use It

What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. This refers to a way of creating drawings that accurately document a design that is light years ahead of the old 2 dimensional drawing production style.

While there are a few types of BIM software we use Autodesk Revit and have been for ten years now and we’ve used it to design 15,000 s.f. office interiors and master bedroom additions so we’ve gotten pretty good at it. We are one of the few Architecture offices in Santa Barbara that use it and it works really well for the design oriented projects we focus on, here’s why:

It creates 3d views that anyone can look at and immediately understand

Very early in the design of a project we are able to create an accurate 3d model of the design and add nearly any element we wish from doors and windows to lighting, floors and furnishings. We can then place cameras in the model to see what what the design looks like. We go back and forth from view to view refining the design until it is ready for the client to see. Not everyone is able to understand floor plans or sections so when the client can see a 3d image they can understand it right away! Take a look at our Modern Beach Shack to see how we go from the raw image below to an image we can share with the client.

BIM Santa Barbara architect

View From Street

It Saves Time

The model we create is parametric, meaning all the elements are integrated, connected and smart. The walls know that they are built out of 2×4’s and covered with gypsum board or plaster or tile. In some Architect’s offices rows of draftsmen carefully draw each elevation, section and detail in 2 dimensions. This method requires a ton of time because of the tremendous amount of coordination required between drawings. For example if you draw a window in the floor plan you then need to go to the elevation sheet and draw the window as it appears on the wall, then you need to add this window to the window schedule. BIM software takes care of these tedious tasks for you. When you add a window into a wall you tell it what size it is, what it is made out of etc. then that window will appear in all other views like elevations, sections and in the window schedule. It’s amazing really, I don’t know how we got anything done before we made the transition to BIM.

Santa Barbara architect and interior design

Interior View

How It Benefits The Client and the Project

We’ve discussed how BIM can help the design and drafting but how does it benefit you, the client? In Santa Barbara, creating good Architecture can be difficult. There are many hoops to jump thru in the City Santa Barbara or County process just to get the ok to build your project. Planning department reviews, design board reviews, this process takes time which takes time away from the design process. When the Architect should be considering the best way to orient your new bedroom he or she is instead spending time filling out applications and preparing a design board review. With BIM we can take the time we’ve saved on all that tedious work we described earlier and put it back into creating good design. Take a look at our Sierra Madre and Rinconada projects to see how we put that time back into the design.

Multi family

Conceptual design options for a multi-family project


Our model that we build in the computer includes everything. Beams, posts, ductwork, anything that has the potential to cause a problem during construction goes into the model. We strive to create drawings that allow the contractor to work quickly and accurately. For us Revit is a tool and with any tool it is only as effective as it’s user so we constantly look for new and better ways to use the tools power. Recent new uses have included solar and shading studies to show a client that the setting sun would not be right in their eyes at dinner time.

Imagine what we could do for your project!