Is BIM going to change Building Design ?

Part 2 : Is BIM going to be the next revolution in building electrical design? (read part 1 here)

BIM concept (Building Information Modelling) is also promoted out of the US through building SMART International (formerly International alliance for Interoperability, IAI)  which recommends a data standard for BIM: IFC (Industry Foundation Classes). I heard about projects requiring BIM design in Northern Europe…

Major CAD sotware suppliers now provide the market with BIM software : Autodesk(Revit), Bentley. These software are very mature with the architectural and structural part of the building: up to xD (one even told me that the instructions for the steel part manufacturing are automatically produced from the design).

However the electrical part is very basic. Autodesk proposes BIM software for MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing). The Electrical part consists mainly in power summary calculation and terminal level spatial drawing (from the sub distribution switchboard to the socket or the lights). There is no short circuit current or voltage drop calculation. So in engineering companies using BIM software, the electrical design is done separately .
The BIM software is seen by the electrical designer just as a common documentation repository for all the project.

electrical design & Building Information Modelling

electrical design & Building Information Modelling

However we can imagine all the benefits that all the building players can take from a better integration of the electrical software part in these global softwares:

– visualizing the electrical switchboard in the technical room: footprint and door swing checking,

– integrating automatically electrical installation heating impact in HVAC sizing,

– doing the best trade-off between all the building elements (structural, electrical, mechanical) to save energy,

– calculating automatically the recyclability of the whole building including electrical part,

– …

– and of course avoiding re capturing and data loss because of separated software to design the electrical part

The launching of a software that really integrates the electrical part in the BIM world would be a revolution in the electrical building design which would bring important benefits to all the building players.

I would be very curious to share this information with other  views and information or news ?

Martine Pauletto


  • There are electrical BIM programs that exist that do more than what Autodesk and Bentley offer. My company, Design Master Software, has a program called Design Master Electrical that you might be interested in learning about. We include the features that Autodesk includes in their software, plus the calculations they lack. We can do fault (short circuit) calculations, voltage drop calculations, outdoor photometrics, breaker sizer, and feeder sizing. We also can generate a material takeoff that a contractor can use for a cost estimate.

  • Thank you very much for this information. It will be make great difference if it so utilized in devloping country. It will be great in selecting the equipment sizing the parts and reduced the time of the procurement and do real time of estimating. keep sharing

  • For those who can read and understand french language, i recommand to go and listen to the 13 videos on building design software – presented at BIM’s day last May 13 in PARIS – organized by the “Fédération Francaise du Bâtiment” –

    13 videos by:
    Active 3D
    Attic +
    Bentley Systems
    BBS Slama

  • Hey thanks David. I’ll check out your BIM program solution. Reducing the time for procurement is important to what we do.


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