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BIM on Small Scale Homes: Two Case Studies

AIA Austin | 1:20

BIM on Small Scale Homes: Two Case Studies

Jack White

8 November 2016

Video Views

BUILDING information modelling (BIM) enables the biggest of buildings to have the most intricate of details perfected virtually before a single brick is laid. But can BIM environments be used on small-scale projects like family homes? Spoiler alert: Absolutely.

Today, I’m looking at two houses that prove BIM is just as important for singular dwellings as it is for multi-purpose high rises. We have a British case study and an American example each looking at how implementing BIM can lead to perfection. If you can trial run a project of any size and stature in a technological capacity without risking any mistakes, why wouldn’t you? It was a no brainer for the brains behind these abodes.


The first exemplar is Aamodt and Plumb’s outstanding development in Texas (video above), the winner of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) regional Design Award for Austin. Architects Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb embraced BIM for this mainly pre-fabricated home. Completed in just 12 months, the 6,000 square metre project was fast-tracked by the implementation of a BIM process, in addition to off-site pre-fab work for the roof, wall and floor panels, and the usage of a timber frame.

Above and Below: Aamodt and Plumb’s prefabricated house in Texas, United States (images courtesy of Aamodt and Plumb Architects and AIA Austin).

Aamodt and Plumb took it upon themselves to “redesign the process of building a house” with BIM being the ideal methodology to perfectly conjoin innovative construction methods, sleek design, meticulous deadlines and eco-friendly elements.

Above: Aamodt and Plumb embraced BIM and completed the project in 12 months (image courtesy of Aamodt and Plumb Architects and AIA Austin).

In Merseyside, Director at John McCall Architects Colin Usher was looking for his company to help build his own family home. He wanted an ecologically friendly property that was cost-effective to run. No problem.

The four-bedroom dwelling cost £240,000 to build, and unbelievably costs just £15 a year to run (video here). These outstanding results were achieved in large part by using BIM. The project team were able to accurately integrate elements such as solar panelling, an air-to-water heat pump, thick insulation and underfloor heating, testing their performance virtually. In winter, the house is colder by just one degree Celsius – now that is some hot work right there!

Above and Below: Usher's property in Merseyside, United Kingdom (images courtesy of Jan Plotrowicz).

Projecting what his home would be like before work was carried out, BIM allowed Usher to carefully factor orientation, insulation, air tightness and thermal mass. With each element finely pinpointed, his home was completed and on average, Usher saves £2,485 per year on his energy bills.

There you have it, some small-scale projects that prove BIM really is applicable on projects of any size. Let us know of any more that are also inspirational, we would love to check them out!

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