General system architecture for BIM: An integrated approach for design and analysis

Paola Sanguinetti, Sherif Abdelmohsen, Jaemin Lee, Jinkook Lee, Hugo Sheward, Chuck Eastman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


One of the significant benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the ability to effectively use analysis and evaluation programs during design, as feedback. However, the current dominant approach to analysis and evaluation of design proposals requires the creation of a separate building model for each kind of evaluation. This typically involves using a BIM tool to prepare the data for a specific type of analysis to obtain design feedback. Most of the effort lies in modifying the building model to support the analysis required. When dealing with multiple evaluations, this process is time consuming, greatly reducing the design benefits of BIM. We propose a system architecture to facilitate analysis and feedback in architectural design, based on post-processing design-oriented building models. The post-processing automatically adapts the building model to the needs of the specific analysis, where multiple analyses can be run from the same building model. We outline the methods for realizing such design interoperability. By utilizing geometric and attribute relationships and semantics, data subsets are identified and aggregated. We present an example where the design of a class of buildings - federal courthouses, is evaluated in terms of multiple analyses: programmatic spaces, building circulation, energy consumption, and preliminary cost. These analyses are performed by post-processing a single BIM model. The method is applicable to both API-based direct interfaces as well as open-standard building models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-333
Number of pages17
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported by the General Services Administration , Office of Chief Architect. The authors are responsible for this report and any errors or omissions. The authors wish to thank Calvin Kam, Fred Miller, Peggy Yee, Bill Hunt, and Charles Matta for their support, and acknowledge the technical support of Pasi Passiala of Solibri.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Building and Construction
  • Artificial Intelligence


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