Is Blender BIM a real BIM

I’m an old Blender user and I love the nature of the program “being open source” but because I study Architecture the industry forced me to go into other programs like Rhino, Tekla, Archicad, and so on...
Now I have more questions than answers, is BlenderBIM a real BIM. By that I mean can I produce accurate architecture models, can I show them in simple rendering like SketchUp, can I documents them in such a way I can create my own template and scale it with real construction styles and can I do basic architecture stuff like sections, pans, and elevations. As everyone knows BIM is not only for architects so can BlenderBIM do structural detailing, analysis, and MEP.
I wish BlenderBIM will grow like Blender and if this stuff can be done efficiently, it will be a huge step toward the AEC industry as a whole.
The problem is the AEC industry is very slow to adapt because their time is really expensive and for now all the talk about BlenderBIM is about the programmers and how it will be, there is no clean feature list we actually care, Architect will not care about code or what’s going on under the hood they will care about what they can be done in it.
I really wish BlenderBIM to have a simple rendering output like SketchUp, easy for organic modeling like Rhino, intuitiveness IFC like visualARQ, and robust structural design and analysis capability of Tekla.
I know it needs support especially in its early stages, I and others are here to help as much as we could



  • edited June 2020

    Blender can produce accurate architecture models. It is a very capable modeler. If you haven't learned how to do precision mesh modeling (making extensive use of local axis, snapping, and numeric movement), you might need to practice your modeling a bit first, though. If you are expecting drag-and-drop BIM object libraries, you will find some in the Archipack Add-on, but nowhere near to the commercial BIM offerings right now.

    If your definition of BIM is whether it is capable of authoring and consuming ISO-standard BIM data such as IFC, BCF, and more, then yes. In fact, it is much more advanced than most other proprietary offerings.

    If your definition of BIM is whether it can produce drawings, the answer is "not yet". The features are slowly being implemented. Here is an example of drawings produced with the BlenderBIM Add-on. It supports sections / plans / elevations, scales, titleblocks, view styles, and so on. That view is also created with "sketch-up style" simple output. However, the support is still very basic, as it is a relatively new feature. Therefore, it is not yet ready for production use without headaches. For example, it doesn't yet support geometry-associative annotation.

    If the definition of BIM is the integration into all the other ecosystem of tools required for building coordination, like clash detection, issue management, structural analysis, environmental analysis, MEP systems design, and so on, the answer is also "not yet". There are some very advanced features built for clash detection, and a very advanced set of features built for (currently read-only) issue management. However, in contrast, there is very, very basic support for structural analysis and environmental analysis (well, it depends on the type), and zero support for more MEP specific tasks.

    Welcome to the early days. The BlenderBIM Add-on didn't exist less than a year ago, and only being developed part-time by volunteers. You might find the BlenderBIM Add-on Roadmap enlightening. You may also be interested to see how much progress we've made so far from zero.

    Keep in mind that although there is talk about code, almost everybody in the OSArch community is a professional. For example, I am trained as an architect and am currently working in the AEC industry, designing and building buildings. I develop not as a coding exercise or with a "software vendor" mindset, but to solve real industry problems, design, and deliver a building. I believe most of the others in this forum will say the same in their respective fields.

    Hope it helps :) Welcome to OSArch! Anytime you'd like something improved, start a thread, file a bug, and I'll do my very best to fix and improve things!

    bitacovirMahmoodMohanadpaulleeJesusbillengfernandoDarth_BlenderDADA_universearchiisoPaulTOBArnoldEstruturasand 1 other.
  • That's a nice answer @Moult ! It would fit almost 1:1 for FreeCAD too :D

  • @Moult
    Thank you for this answer.
    Mentioning that almost everyone here is some kind of professional in AEC industry make me feel comfortable.
    Now it’s just a matter of time and support for BlenderBIM to be the next beast.

  • for parametric use Sverchok

  • @nikitron I don't know why my laptop, Win7 uses a lot of CPU when I on Sverchok

    Also, Blender could be a real BIM tool if Dion can solve the geometric modeling (kernel) issue which I don't think it is hard if Dion and his friends have enough knowledge in the geometric modeling field
    As we know Blender is polygonal mesh based when the industry prefers NURBS and Solids and BRep

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    @nikitron I don't know why my laptop, Win7 uses a lot of CPU when I on Sverchok
    As we know Blender is polygonal mesh based when the industry prefers NURBS and Solids and BRep

    Idonno exactly what you are doing. Because there is code on pure python, wich is slow, some nodes are slooooow. But some have numpy support, it depends on your layout.
    I.e. boolean is too slooow
    Sverchok has Math surfaces, coded from scratch by Portnov.

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    Also, Blender could be a real BIM tool if Dion can solve the geometric modeling (kernel) issue which I don't think it is hard if Dion and his friends have enough knowledge in the geometric modeling field
    As we know Blender is polygonal mesh based when the industry prefers NURBS and Solids and BRep

    The allegation that a better geometric modeling kernel is required to do BIM is false. Take a glance at the gaming industry, and tell me if you think they don't have a the right tech to create a digital twin of an entire city. Of course they do - they create entire worlds with very rich data with ... well, meshes. Take a glance at the CG industry and ask a professional modeler to do their job without meshes. They'd quit. You think a small fraction of the AEC industry only "prefers" NURBs because that's what they been fed tools by vendors and their communities and they never had the full time to train how to do more complex 3D modeling that the real 3D modeling industry expects. It's almost shocking that we have the entire process of clash detection because half the modelers only know how to extrude profiles and people struggle to stop two simple boxes from colliding. Architectural modeling isn't hard - you'd never come across these problems in a properly trained 3D studio. Thank goodness this only represents a small subset of the industry: here's a list of trades who don't care about NURBs and Solids, some who don't even know the word NURBs exists:

    • Archviz, marketing team, VR / CG rendering
    • Concept design
    • Feasibility studies for early land acquisition
    • Landscape architects
    • Lighting specialists
    • Quantity surveyors / cost guys
    • Construction sequencing
    • Architects, like, the architects who can still draw, or can do their work with SketchUp
    • Civil, structural, and MEP engineers
    • Builders, steel welders, chippies, concrete pourers, bricklayers

    When it comes to builders doing construction and fabrication, nobody says "oh, thank goodness, you have NURBs / CSGs, now I can accurately build this thing, without it I'd have no idea how to join these two I-Beams or pour concrete or build long curvaceous railway tracks". That's not how construction works.

    The majority of building construction is not the same as a parts manufacturer. Parts manufacturers are highly isolated, decoupled processes from the rest of construction. The rest of construction is simply the assembly of off-the-shelf parts. Therefore, whether the geometric tesselation of the rounded edge of a part results in a 1% boundary deviation has zero impact on the quality or utility of the designer or engineer, because any actually important information that derives from geometry is already supplied by the component supplier in a fully decoupled process.

    I'm not making the claim that meshes are the be-all and end-all. There is a time and place for a more parametric solid modeler (mechanical parts manufacturing, for instance). One program cannot support all geometric paradigms. There are ways to support lossless transfer, and that's what we should aim for. FreeCAD can help fill in the geometric gaps that Blender has.

    @ReD_CoDE go take a sabbatical and learn some programming and some 3D modeling before making unsubstantiated false claims about what is "wrong" with the technical decisions behind the industry that might mislead others who might not have the full background to judge. Blender can output BREPs and Solids in IFC.

  • edited June 2020

    @Moult Dion, we have the same view but see things from different directions
    Also, I don't need to learn some programming and some 3D modeling, this is not my job, I don't spend my valuable time in these things

    FreeCAD if could after years of development wasn't here, for me FreeCAD is a failed open-source movement, however, maybe it survives, I don't know, but I don't want you all after years have something like FreeCAD, if you want, continue, good luck

    Those who have enough knowledge can recognize who claims right and who claims wrong

  • @Moult, well I don’t agree.
    Mesh modeling is quit annoying for architects. People who do design like architects prefer a tool to help them to do it faster and better. Mesh modeling is a tool to creat 3D models but not as a fresh designing tool., let me explain in game development 3D modelers they don’t design they get the art and form from separate teams specialists in character design, environments, vehicle....etc even in the architecture visualization here the visualizer don’t design he got the design ready they just add materials, lighting and set the camera for the final production rendering, and for the structural engineers and MEP they just use a normal part their mission is to collect and assemble with calculations even if there is a special design it’s rare and somehow simpler than the rest of the working pipeline. If the architects use mesh tools then they could spend 80% of their time trying to figure out how to optimize the topology and deal with it’s headache. NURBs and solid modeling is the way to go for architecture design.
    I’m not saying it’s not useful for sure it is but mesh modeling give you the flexibility to control your object more but it’s very designing unfriendly in the sense that it’s not accurate enough and required a lot of work for small outcomes.

  • @Moult is half-true, I don't say what Dion says is wrong, but is not totally true
    Dion says VFX, CG, ..., all produce a virtual world, so it's true. BUT what's the virtual world? The desired virtual world should have which characteristics?
    Dion has a big mistake, he constantly repeats each software should not be a Swiss Army knife, but he's totally wrong, today is NOT 1980s, 1990s, today is 2020s
    When all the world work on Industry 4.0 and some technologies and methodologies that Dion even can't think about them, let alone build something for
    As mentioned before all kernels use a hybrid approach, so I like meshes, solids, NURBS, ..., which in reality in the low-level layer all of them are mathematical things and you can solve an equation in different ways

    The main issue is that nobody want change until finds lost the game
    buildingSMART doesn't want change, because needs a lot of effort, software vendors as well, it doesn't matter it be Revit, FreeCAD or even BlenderBIM or even IfcOpenShell
    I talk about Data-Oriented approach today, that needs even IfcOpenShell changes/shift all the code they built during the time to a new paradigm

  • edited June 2020

    @MahmoodMohanad I am saying that the majority of tasks in the industry is an assembly of pre-built components, not the fresh design of new components. For that task, similar to a game developer who assembles geometry, whether it is a mesh or otherwise has no impact. We don't re-invent the I-beam every time we design something. I'm not saying meshes are better for it (apart from scalability, which it objectively is when it comes to a city scale), I'm saying it doesn't matter what you use. Therefore, investing a huge amount of time into a new geometry kernel yields little benefit. Most of our library is pre-made. We've assembled complex buildings with hand-drawings: does the fact that our pencil lead has a 5% deviation from the true fabrication matter?

    When we do model new things from scratch, architects model boxes and simple extrusions due to fabrication limitations. There is no topology to worry about. We don't need to worry about topology as there is minimal concern for texture unwrapping or shape deformation. A single n-gon extruded along an axis is equally simple in mesh-land as in Solid/NURB modeling land. When the shape is actually complex and requires fabrication level non-mesh representations, that process is completely de-coupled from the architect, and remodeled by a dedicated fabricator who knows what the fabrication machines can and cannot do.

    I am trained as an architect. I have delivered buildings. The claim that "mesh modeling is quite annoying for architects" clearly doesn't apply to everyone. If you find it annoying and feel more comfortable with modeling these simple shapes with NURBs / Solids, go for it. If others feel comfortable extruding a mesh plane, they can go for it too. It makes no difference, because for the majority of applications, it doesn't matter. It has never mattered for decades. Does DXF/DWG support NURBS? No. Because it doesn't matter.

    The conclusion I am pushing here, is not that meshes are better or NURBs are better. The conclusion is that whereas meshes and NURBs have their time and place for different tasks - for the majority of the construction process, the debate is meaningless. I made a list of trades who couldn't care less in my previous post. If we do clash detection in software that doesn't support NURBs, does it matter? Does it make any difference? No. The geometry kernel does not determine the utility to the majority of the industry.

    @ReD_CoDE said:
    Dion has a big mistake, he constantly repeats each software should not be a Swiss Army knife, but he's totally wrong, today is NOT 1980s, 1990s, today is 2020s

    @ReD_CoDE Clearly, you are unfamiliar with the Unix philosophy of software design. Again, I would warn anybody reading your conclusions that you do not have experience in software development, and to take your claims with a grain of salt.

  • I familiar with the mindset you follow, and today it's wrong as well as right
    Again, today is not 1980s, 1990s, "software can do many tasks in its best way, NOT just one"

    You all follow the same insights that I shared too, like "ready-to-use" content that just needs to be assembled, but the approach you and your friends in FreeCAD community follow is NOT interesting to me, hope it works for you all

  • From the perspective of somebody who builds a lot of curved structures, I'm horrified by architects' use of NURBS surfaces - it's a bad habit that results in unbuildable rubbish, they should only go there if they know exactly what they are doing.

    The blender mesh model does have drawbacks, the obvious one is that if I want to think of walls as chains of centerlines, with inner and outer face distances, variable heights, and openings defined by the sizes and locations of windows and doors, then this requires some procedural stuff that is not core blender functionality.

  • edited June 2020

    @ReD_CoDE said:
    ... but the approach you and your friends in FreeCAD community follow is NOT interesting to me, hope it works for you all

    Please @ReD_CoDE & @Moult check your egos at the login screen. I hope everyone is free to say what is important to them personally and relate it to the industry based on the experience they have. We all contribute in the way that works best for us. A condescending tone does not help, neither do comments about what a person has/hasn't done etc. The discussion of NERBS/Meshes/Solid Modelling is really interesting for me and I'm enjoying learning about it. There's no reason to name people in such a discussion except to ask for their opinion and learn. Talk about ideas not people.
    Sorry in advance if this message itself comes over condescending (oh the irony!), I just want to support a good tone and recognize everyones contribution.

  • @MahmoodMohanad I think the definition of BIM you're working with might be quite narrow. For example I know a lot of people who say that SketchUp isn't real BIM. I maintain that a spreadsheet can be BIM. No-one should be claiming that CoBie isn't BIM and it's basically a spreadsheet. For me the question is more 'does this contribute to a BIM workflow'? That broadens the field a lot. I have the impression that lots of people think BIM is Revit or Archicad or AllPlan etc ... no, BIM is about Building Information Modelling/management. Some tools are good at representing and handling a representation of the physical building (modelling software, IFC), some are good at representing the information (spreadsheets/databases) and some are good at handling planning and management (BCF, BIMserver, Gantt charts). The real value comes when you can make the whole picture. How good are these tools at the information exchange that makes the whole thing useful and practical? Revit (the tool I am most familiar with) is a pretty good try at addressing BIM in one software package. For most firms a solid implementation of Revit + IFC + BCF gives a solid BIM workflow. All that in one software package! F*cking awesome. I enjoy working in Revit. But it ain't OpenBIM. Autodesk has worked hard to keep eveything locked in a proprietary format (although I understand the API continues to open up and ODA is forcing open their data with a crowbar) ... so that gets on to the ethical problems of proprietary software which is not the subject of this discussion.

  • @Moult , dude I never claimed I know software development in fact I have no experience what so even in this field, I'm just an architectural student using BIM and general 3D modeling tools for years.
    And let's keep the topic intact Please we are speaking about modeling techniques like NURBs and others, speaking about software development is not the target, we are arguing about how mesh modeling techniques (the blender method of modeling) isn't creat for architects. And your claim that the AEC do mostly assembly work isn't accurate either, architects design too much stuff from scratch heck even shell can be used as a wall and slabs can be used as part of the sun and environmental control elements, and for structure engineering they don't re invent the I beam as you said but the do structural design which involve a heavy modification of it's dimension they do this with the help of analysis and simulation.
    In some mega structures almost all the multidisciplants do new designs.
    Ps: for architects design with boxes due to factory limitations is complete wrong statement. The boxi design called conceptual model and it's only 20% from what we are doing there is something called LOD (level of development) the conceptual part is less than 100LOD where we do the work till 300LOD and sometimes till 350/400LOD. And there no such thing called factory limitations they factories can do everything you asked for the limitations are the calculations which make the whole building stand or not.

  • @brunopostle , yep I see your point here.
    Usually when people get over confidence with the NURBs they tend to go wild and the organic structures are very hard in every aspect (they are hard in calculations for structure and they are hard for analysis and they are hard to be fabricated...etc)
    It's required a really skilled team of architects and engineers with a lot of knowledge which is something rare and hard to find. And yes anything else could easily create a mess

  • @MahmoodMohanad I am also constantly surprised at how often I have to make new objects for my Revit models - and how hard they can be to make to a good quality!! So I agree it's important to include a robust system for making new parametric objects. But that's not the same as needing software that works to the tolerances CAM works with, if I'm following this discussion correctly I think that's what @Moult is talking about when he says that blender and meshes are fit for purpose for architectural work but maybe not so suited to manufacturing work. Is that right Dion?

  • @duncan thanks for helping to tame this discussion.

    @MahmoodMohanad my statement about software development practices was directed as @ReD_CoDE - I had quoted the relevant portion of his post that I was responding to. I hope that clarifies things :)

    @duncan I'm not entirely sure what parametric has to do with it, since that applies equally to any geometric representation, regardless of meshes, NURBs, solids, etc. I wasn't planning to describe the various use-cases where one representation might be better over another ... my original post was to refute this single statement by @ReD_CoDE - which I have quoted again for clarity:

    @ReD_CoDE said:
    Also, Blender could be a real BIM tool if Dion can solve the geometric modeling (kernel) issue which I don't think it is hard if Dion and his friends have enough knowledge in the geometric modeling field
    As we know Blender is polygonal mesh based when the industry prefers NURBS and Solids and BRep

    I believe the allegation that a better geometric modeling kernel is required to do BIM is false. I propose that the utility of a BIM application is agnostic of the geometric kernel, geometric representation, whether meshes or NURBs are used, and give historic examples that demonstrate that our industry has operated for a long time without bumping into the shortcomings of a geometry kernel. FWIW, most geometry kernels, including Blender, support meshes and NURBs.

  • @duncan
    Well My view about BIM is any software gives information about a model ( model related to AEC to be more specific).
    I don’t agree with you as spreadsheet application can be considered as BIM software only because it somehow contribute in the workflow, if I take this root then a chrome web browser can be BIM also am I right ? it’s contributing in the licensing process.
    For example if I used Scan & solve or Tekla designer to do structural analysis the software will generate a report for me in form of tables now I need a spreadsheet application like (excel) to view and edit this tables, this need of editing and viewing the tables using spreadsheet application doesn’t make it BIM. And for the people who think BIM is only revit, archicad and so on they are also wrong in my view. These applications are only architectural BIM. BIM is about the whole building there are structural application and there are MEP and way more if all of them are using IFC and they work in such a way they generate a 3D model with all the information stores in it then that can be called proper BIM or at less the way how I see it. I’m still new till now I have been practicing architecture for 3 months in my internship, I’m welling to change me view if things start to be more clear but for now this is the way how I define BIM.
    Btw a side question, do you thing the freedom of rhino with the BIM functionality of visualARQ Is a better fit than revit or as you said “do it all application “ is way more appealing than all of these features ?

  • edited June 2020

    @MahmoodMohanad doesn't sound like you're all that new to BIM concepts.

    BIM definition: I don't agree with the idea that some software is or isn't BIM. I am one of those who see BIM as a process. I go back to the historical paradigms. First, physical lines on paper aka 'drafting'. Then, digital lines on a screen aka 'CAD' (very imprecise term as BIM is also CAD). Then, 3d models generating digital lines on the screen, in Denmark that's called "3D projektering" which I guess translates to 3D design. BIM is the next step, "digital assets" (ISO 19650 definition) as containers of building information. These digital assets are represented as drawing, models, data, quantities ... etc. So if you have a 3d model without data (a door or floor are equal geometry blobs without semantic identity) that in my world is not BIM, it a big step up from 2d drafting, but not BIM. Blender has been able to do architecture for ages as 3d models, you can find old examples of @yorik working with it for projects. What I think BlenderBIM is doing is adding the semantic data (and streamlining the tools so they are fit for purpose). That was a bit of a long answer but I hope it's useful. How successful BlenderBIM gets at projekt documentation also has no impact on whether it is "doing BIM" or not. It is BIM software now. You can pull in IFC files and find clashes.

    Rhino / visualARQ: sorry I have virtually no experience with either tool. Again I now many people who say Rhino is not BIM capable because everything is just a shape with no symantic information. I have no experience if that it correct. I know it makes an important contribution to BIM workflows, but as I understand it this is typically because of what it can do with forms and graphics - which is all generic modelling. But there are tool specifically for using Rhino in BIM workflows ( and ... so maybe my own definition breaks down there.

  • edited June 2020

    @ReD_CoDE said:
    FreeCAD if could after years of development wasn't here, for me FreeCAD is a failed open-source movement, however, maybe it survives, I don't know, but I don't want you all after years have something like FreeCAD, if you want, continue, good luck

    I'd be curious to know why you do think so... I've been contributing to freecad for about one year and half, and i think the potentials for a good architecture workflow are all there... It just need a bit of refurbishment to me...

  • I appreciate what FreeCAD and its community does, while I appreciate what BlenderBIM does, I see myself as part of this movement too

    However, I think the main goal of FreeCAD was not to be an architecture software, if FreeCAD wants to be in BIM field, than in PLM field, it's because they lost the chance to compete in the PLM area

    And if you ask me today even the BIM industry needs which kinds of software? I will say that the industry needs software like CATIA or Inventor, or Fusion 360, but in BIM way and optimized for BIM workflows

    But Dion mainly likes artistic ways, when I like engineering ways, and I think both of us are right, but see things from different directions

    Dion works based on requests coming from his firm, from bSI community, from FreeCAD community, and from BlenderBIM community, this is good but cause software to be an average of things the majority want
    Autodesk does exactly the same, they don't think about what they want, they answer just requests from the market, and personally I dislike this way

  • edited June 2020

    "Autodesk does exactly the same, they don't think about what they want, they answer just requests from the market"

    Did you EVER worked with ANY of their products? (Longer than a year or so) And did you by change EVER witnessed something being fixed or even heared from them?

  • edited June 2020

    Anyone who knows me knows that I was in Autodesk community for years (6-7 years) and wasn't a normal member, my friends and I were active people who day by day came with new ideas and solutions
    I know Autodesk even better than those who work for Autodesk. Autodesk is a software vendor and always develops MVP, nothing more, because their main customers are average customers with average needs

    And they don't spend time on things that they know don't have future or they want don't have future, like IFC
    Why? If today Autodesk strengthen IFC and causes IFC to be the first choice for many, not the second or third choice, then many people who advertise Autodesk and many companies who develop software and plugins for Autodesk will fail

    If you look at Autodesk R&D projects you see that they mainly have focused on automation and control, AI, cloud (AWS cloud), ... these kinds of technologies, methodologies, and for them some movements are no threat when the majority of movements are based on "THREDITIONAL MINDSETS/METHODS/TECHNOLOGIES"

    This is why bSI mutes me when see I talk about things that threaten their partners, but let's some like Dion and others continue

  • I hear you. Tired of Autodesk and discussing them. History in the making

  • edited June 2020

    Dion when came with this plugin on Blender which those days didn't have a name I supported (and still support) because it had potential (and still has)
    This is my personal view, I just want to work on "emerging" things, because it's like exercise for me, causes always be creative, so anytime I see opportunities in Blender, BlenderBIM, FreeCAD, or even other movements that inspire me and others for sure will help
    I like BlenderBIM and see future for it "IF" Dion and other friends "realize" opportunities too

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    I know Autodesk even better than those who work for Autodesk.

    Humility is a beautiful things. Please stop telling active contributors to real projects that they're doing it wrong. It's starting to sound arrogant and ungrateful. Send a patch or make an RFI.

  • edited June 2020

    @duncan OK, will try to be humble, and I think all of us have to or should to experience things in our own way, wrong or right. And for sure those who choose better choices gain better results too

  • "Do, or do not. There is no try"

    • Master Yoda
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