Russell Gentry, associate professor in Georgia Tech's Digital Building Laboratory, and David Biggs, principal of Biggs Consulting Engineering, are leading the National Building Information Modeling for Masonry Initiative (BIM-M), a new industry consortium to include masonry materials and systems into BIM software for the architecture, engineering and construction industries.
“The purpose of our initiative is to unify the masonry industry and all supporting industries through the development and implementation of BIM for masonry software to create smoother workflows and collaboration across all disciplines,” said Gentry. Professor Charles Eastman, recognized for his development of BIM, is the technical lead on the project. Additional Georgia Tech team members include assistant professor Tristan Al-Haddad and doctoral students Andres Cavieres, Francisco Valdes and Shani Sharif.
Numerous affiliated groups have joined in with their support. Financial sponsorship of the effort is provided by the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), the Masonry Society (TMS), and the Western States Clay Products Association (WSCPA).
“All members of the building community are going to benefit from the inclusion of masonry into BIM software,” stresses Biggs. “Building owners will have more advanced tools for understanding total cost of building ownership and upkeep, architects and engineers will have better design and communication tools, and the masons and other trades on the construction site will experience improved scheduling, safety, and site logistics.”
An executive committee has been established with representatives from the diverse sponsoring organizations. “The industry-wide involvement in BIM-M is an indication of the professionalism and commitment of the masonry industry to the modernization of the entire construction industry,” said Jeff Buczkiewicz, president of MCAA. “Our organization plans to participate through every phase of this worthwhile project.”
Work groups with an emphasis on Architectural Modeling, Structural Modeling, Construction Management, Construction Activities, and Material Supply will be established to look at masonry BIM from all angles. “We encourage other members of the industry to join a work group at this critical first phase,“ said Robert Thomas, president of NCMA. “When there is an opportunity to make it easier, faster, and more cost effective for our members’ products to be used, you can bet we’re going to want to be involved from square one.” Interested parties can contact Russell Gentry for information on joining a work group.
The first phase of the National BIM for Masonry Initiative is expected to wrap up in early 2013 and will deliver a roadmap for bringing masonry into BIM. This roadmap is expected to include specific project plans for standardizing masonry unit databases, developing automated 3-D layout of structures with all types of masonry (structural and veneer), and integrating BIM systems with structural analysis systems and all types of supply chain applications.
About the Digital Building Lab at Georgia Tech
The Georgia Tech Digital Building Lab is a consortium of faculty, students and corporations working to advance technologies for the design and construction of buildings. Housed within the College of Architecture, the Digital Building Lab combines expertise in architecture, computing, building construction and civil engineering to tackles research projects aligned to strategic industry challenges. Learn more at www.dbl.gatech.edu.
About the International Masonry Institute (IMI)
IMI is a joint labor-management cooperative program of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and the contractors who employ its members. Its core programs are quality craft training and technical assistance to the design and building communities. IMI provides in-office seminars and technical consultations for architects, designers and builders. Additionally, our website (www.imiweb.org) offers an extensive listing of masonry details as well as other technical masonry information. IMI is committed to creating the “best built masonry environment” through its ongoing seminars, technical assistance and research and development. For more information about IMI, visit www.imiweb.org
About the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC)
The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest continuous union in North America and represents approximately 90,000 skilled masonry-trowel trades craftworkers in the United States and Canada, including bricklayers, tile setters, cement masons, plasterers, stone masons, marble masons, restoration workers, and terrazzo and mosaic workers. For more information about IUBAC, please visit www.bacweb.org.
About the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is the national trade association representing mason contractors. The MCAA is committed to preserving and promoting the masonry industry by providing continuing education, advocating fair codes and standards, fostering a safe work environment, recruiting future manpower, and marketing the benefits of masonry materials. For more information about MCAA, please visit www.masoncontractors.org.
About the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) is the global trade association representing the concrete masonry and hardscape industry. The Association is involved in a broad range of technical, research, education, marketing, certification, communications, and government relations activities. NCMA is an association of producers of concrete masonry and hardscape products, and suppliers of products and services related to the industry. NCMA offers a variety of technical services and design aids through publications, computer programs, slide presentations, and technical training. For more information about NCMA, please visit www.ncma.org.
About The Masonry Society (TMS)
The Masonry Society (TMS) is an educational, scientific, and technical society whose mission is to advance the knowledge of masonry. For more information about TMS, please visit www.masonrysociety.org.
About the Western States Clay Products Association (WSCPA)
Western States Clay Products Association was formed in 1962 by brick manufacturers in the Western United States to develop technical information for enhancing quality use of hollow clay structural brick in construction in high seismic regions. Eventually the focus included all reinforced structural clay brick applications to include fire, wind, tornados and bomb blast. WSCPA is often referred to as the structural brick arm of the Brick Industry. WSCPA is anxious to support the industry in developing a comprehensive BIM alliance across all associated masonry design and construction organizations. Jeff Elder, Technical Chairman is representing WSCPA on this BIM-M initiative. For more information about (WSCPA), please visit www.brick-wscpa.org.