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Building Information Modeling: A New Frontier For Construction Engineering Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Trends in Construction Engineering Education I

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.333.1 - 12.333.10



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Mulva Texas State University-San Marcos


Robert Tisdel Texas State University - San Marcos

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Prior to taking his position at Texas State University as a full time instructor, Robert spent several years working in commercial architecture, specializing in advanced technology, corporate facilities and office design. While working as an architectural professional, Robert managed numerous projects ranging in scope from master plans to clean room design. As a LEE⁄s accredited professional, Robert works diligently to infuse sustainable innovation and environmental responsibility into everything he practices.

Robert holds a Masters of Architecture accredited program from Texas Tech University. He is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering and Technology at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Building Information Modeling: A New Frontier for Construction Engineering Education

Building Information Models (BIM’s) are 3D parametric, virtual representations of the built environment. These models can contain the same amount of information as present in an actual building. They are also capable of representing specific details to facilitate extended analysis as needed ahead of construction. For example, all the performance parameters of specific materials such as concrete masonry units or fabricated structural steel are linked to particular installations within the BIM. This allows for the possibility of integrated engineering design such as finite element analysis. Consequently, as BIM technology progresses and improves, it has important implications for the practical and educational aspects of construction engineering.

This paper explores the link between BIM implementation and onsite construction activity as experienced in a classroom setting. Starting with the design of a 36-unit multifamily residential project, students used BIM software to avoid conflict and enhance coordination ahead of actual construction. Live cost data were used to guide and inform the design process. This allowed students to make changes to building assemblies and components with an understanding of overall cost and schedule impact. Importantly, cross-discipline integration between design and construction dramatically decreased the time needed for cost estimating, planning and scheduling. It also facilitated reductions in consultant billings for specific civil, structural, and MEP design services.

Through a case study approach, this paper validates the use of Building Information Modeling as an integrated format for construction education. It demonstrates the advantage which a comprehensive interface can provide to an engineering student; one which depicts the integration between design and construction services. In such an environment, students are able to simultaneously comprehend both how the building is designed, and how it will be constructed. While additional research regarding the use of BIM’s is underway by the authors, the findings contained herein point towards a larger role for its use in future projects and education.


For centuries, the roles of architect and constructor were intertwined as ‘master builder’. The knowledge of building materials and methods was implicit in the process of design. Indeed, innovations in buildings stemmed as much from creating new means of construction as they did from new building forms. Invariably, this tradition continued until the renaissance when the use of perspective representation and orthographic drawing was introduced. With these new forms of communicating information about buildings, the processes of building became increasingly legalistic, codified, complex and adversarial. In fact, today’s standard AIA contracts state that “the architect will not be responsible for construction means, methods, techniques or procedures.”1 Fortunately, the introduction of Building Information Modeling (BIM) holds promise for ending the disassociation between constructing and designing, thereby paving the way for an increase in building innovations and the potential return of the ‘master builder’ role.

Software that allows for the three dimensional (3D) construction of a virtual building (i.e., BIM) will increasingly impact project delivery and the resulting interaction between architects,

Mulva, S., & Tisdel, R. (2007, June), Building Information Modeling: A New Frontier For Construction Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3000

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