Will BIM Be Big in Residential?

John G. Swanson
July 24, 2012
THE TALK... | Operations, Sales & Marketing

Last week, I received press releases from Milgard and Windsor, each announcing the availability of building information modeling (BIM) files for certain window and door lines offered by the manufacturers.  These weren't the first of such announcements I've received by any means, but the fact that I recieved two in one week made me wonder about the role of BIM in the residential window and door market.

Used by a growing percentage of architects, BIM is certainly going to be the normal way of doing business in the construction of commercial buildings. I suspect it will used in the design of apartment buildings and large scale residential projects also.  But will companies need to supply BIM files for products used in most single-family homes?  What about remodeling and replacement jobs?

I thought I'd use this week's poll question to see where we are with BIM now.  But I'd like to hear from you too.  Manufacturers, where are you seeing your BIM data used? What kind of jobs?  What about those manufacturers who haven't developed BIM files yet?  Do you expect to? Are you waiting for demand to grow?  And finally, we'd like to hear from dealers too.  Are you part of the BIM picture too?  Post a comment and share your thoughts.


Survey Results as of 07/30/2012:


Is your company working with BIM technology?

No, and we don't have any BIM plans yet




Yes, but primarily for commercial projects




Yes including work related to both residential and commercial projects




No, but we plan to in the near future




Our poll results suggest BIM has yet to gain much traction in the residential window and door market.  The vast majority of our respondents aren't working with BIM yet and have no plans for the future. Among those respondents using it, more than half say it's primarily for commercial projects.

It's not hard to see why larger firms with more resources–companies like Milgard and Windsor–are introducing BIM for their products, however. Sure, homeowners looking for replacement windows, not to mention the dealers looking to to the job, may not see the need.  It's easy to imaginee an architect working on multifamily or institutional project looking for BIM data, however.  As life cycle analysis and other green building concerns become more of a factor in the market, demand for BIM might grow.  

For many compaies, it may be just fine not to have BIM plans yet.  But it's probably something that needs to be watched.



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Big league BIM technical docs tends to be used on large unique projects where complex 3D images are needed to understand assemblies. Why spend a premium solving all connections in 3D when the trades understand the issues