The Evolution of BIM and BIM Adoption

BIM Evolution Drawing

According to National Building Specification surveys, the percentage of companies using BIM has jumped from 28% in 2007 to 62% in 2017. By 2020, the number of companies using BIM is expected to increase to nearly 97%.

While the rate of escalation may be staggering, getting an industry to adopt the concept has been more than six decades in the making.

Dr. Patrick J Hanratty developed the first commercial software computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) way back in 1957. What began as a numerical control machining technology would soon evolve into computer-aided manufacturing. In 1961, Hanrattty developed Design Automated by Computer (DAC) which would become the first CAM/CAD software.

In 1975, Charles Eastman published a paper that would basically described BIM as we know it when he discussed ideas of parametric design, high quality computable 3D representations, with a “single integrated database for visual and quantitative analysis.” Eastman even designed a program that gave users a sortable database. And then in 1977 Eastman created GLIDE (Graphical Language of Interactive Design) which exhibited many characteristics of the modern BIM platform.

Originally released on the 1984 Macintosh, RADAR CH would later become ArchiCAD - the longest continuously marketed BIM architectural design tool to this day.

Pro/ENGINEER debuted in 1988 and is today considered to be the first ever marketed parametric modelling design software in BIM history.

AutoDesk purchased Revit in 2002, and with new support, Revit would soon become synonymous with BIM itself. Revit would revolutionize the market with innovations such as parametric families, construction phase control, schedules and visual programming environment. AutoDesk would also acquire companies like NavisWorks in 2007 increasing its BIM market presence. In late 2012, AutoDesk developed Formit, an application that enabled the conception of a BIM model on a mobile device.

Jim Ballantyne, President of CADdetails says BIM software made a big leap once a library of content was big enough that architects could build directly in the program. “Some pretty powerful marketing soon followed,” Ballantyne explains. “certain municipalities and government agencies even started to request projects be completely completed in Revit. And at that point, a lot more manufacturers jumped on board and architecture firms adopted it so they could win those contracts.”

Timeline of BIM History

1957 — Pronto, first commercial computer-aided machining (CAM) software
1963 — Sketchpad, CAD with graphical user interface
1975 — Building Description System (BDS)
1977 — Graphical Language for Interactive Design (GLIDE)
1982 – 2D CAD
1984 — Radar CH
1985 — Vectorworks
1986 — Really Universal Computer-Aided Production System (RUCAPS)
1987 — ArchiCAD
1988 — Pro/ENGINEER
1992 — Building Information Model as official term
1993 — Building Design Advisor
1994 — miniCAD
1995 — International Foundation Class (IFC) file format
1997 — ArchiCAD’s Teamwork
1999 — Onuma
2000 — Revit
2001 — NavisWorks
2002 — Autodesk buys Revit
2003 — Generative Components
2004 — Revit 6 update
2006 — Digital Project
2007 — Autodesk buys NavisWorks
2008 — Parametricist Manifesto
2012 — Formit
2016 — United Kingdom mandates BIM its projects