A Good Start
Structural Engineer –
Basic design principles are unlikely to ever drastically change. However, the way we approach these principles and the tools we use will undoubtedly continue to evolve as technology advances; with creativity and competition as the driving forces. Building Information Modeling (BIM), to me, broadly encompasses the way that we use our analysis, design, and drafting tools together to most effectively accomplish design tasks and is something we engage heavily in every day. My first task at Martin/Martin was working on the structural department’s “parametric modeling”. It is a part of BIM that creates smart families within Revit, which do much more than convey designs via construction documents.
The idea of parametric modeling is to use physical 3D modeling attributes (parameters) within Revit which drive other attributes, perhaps through structural calculations, to automatically adapt and change parts of the model. The potential is massive. For example: we began developing a “family” that can take parameters defined by the user (span length, deflection limit, wind load) to size the components of a cold-formed steel stud panel while, at the same time, physically modeling it in the 3D world. Or, more recently, a family was created to calculate required stadium raker geometry using vibration criteria and sightline requirements, while also modeling the members physically and providing a visualization of the sightlines.
Our work in this realm, so far, serves as a solid starting point in understanding what is possible within Revit and structural modeling; there is surely so much more that can be done and explored. I hope to see this good start take off and be used by Martin/Martin to remain cutting edge in everything that we do.