The digital transition of a building for renovation

10 August 2018 by Snapkin


The digital revolution has radically changed society as well as industry. If banks, transportation, research and even healthcare adopt innovative strategies to gain performance, the building sector also has an opportunity to succeed in this new paradigm. To support this transition, in 2015 the French government launched the Digital Transition Building Plan (Plan Transition Numérique Bâtiment, or PTNB), and more recently last April, the executive office presented its plan for the energy renovation of buildings. With the hope of renovating 500,000 buildings per year, the government has clearly made it a national priority. A solution stands out for addressing these issues which relates to the current predicament of our century as well as to digital: BIM (Building Information Modeling).


Why renovate using BIM?

BIM consists of creating a building’s digital twin that is accessible and can be updated throughout its life by all stakeholders working around the infrastructure. In addition to containing the structural elements of a building, the BIM model contains other information, such as the various materials used to construct a wall, the measurements of each window and even equipment maintenance data. Regarding an existing property, capturing reality before modeling it is necessary. Referred to as a Scan to BIM, the most reliable method today is first to digitize the building using a laser scanner, and then to create a digital model from the scan, called a point cloud. It is thus easy to take exact measurements, establish various scenarios or even better anticipate risks and renovation costs. BIM is basically a collaborative method for better anticipating events that can happen during a building’s lifecycle.


BIM during renovation opens new perspectives

Energy renovation

The BIM model is updated throughout the life of the infrastructure, and can serve as support for potential simulations. As part of energy renovation, the digital model is used by design offices for evaluating the existing structure: which insulation materials have been used, what type of shade the building has, what types of windows were used, etc. Coupled with dedicated tools, such as those from the startup company, Kocliko, it will be easier and quicker to carry out renovation work simulations and to evaluate the impact of energy efficiency.


Like energy renovation, any rehabilitation project requires the creation of scenarios to best predict costs and potential risks associated with the work. In this context, the model is used by architects and designers to test hypotheses and to define the best way to maximize the project’s success.


Even if a building is destined for demolition, it’s more and more common to create a digital avatar of it. In fact, the digital model supplies an accurate inventory of equipment and materials and best meets the challenges of end-of-life issues, recycling and reuse of materials. Here too, deconstruction simulations can be easily carried out. If use of this method is relatively unknown in France, it has already been successfully used elsewhere, especially in Great Britain with the emerging notion of DRIM, “Deconstruction & Recovery Information Modeling”.


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