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BIM and AI: how to produce the 3D model with artificial intelligence

How to Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce the 3D Model for a home renovations project

We often end up believing that new technologies tend to be too complex and difficult to use. But in most cases, these technological advancements have also simplified the design and construction sectors and we have radically changed our working methodologies without even realizing it.

BIM is undoubtedly the methodology most closely linked to automation and new technologies.

Further on in this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to use artificial intelligence to simplify and speed up the drafting of a home renovation project. In particular, I’ll show you how to automatically convert 2D drawings or images into 3D BIM models that you can use as a starting point for your design activities.

How to automatically generate a 3D model from a scanned 2D plan

How to automatically generate a 3D model from a scanned 2D plan

A practical case: how to get a 3D model with artificial intelligence

This is a typical example where AI speeds up the designer’s work, optimizes time and resources without requiring any extra effort for its implementation within the process.

If you deal with renovation projects, you know very well that one of the first steps is to create a coherent survey model of the building’s current status and upon which we’ll start modelling the different interventions. Quite often we may need to start off typical from cadastral plans or old paper blueprints that need to be digitized with the help of a CAD or BIM software.

But what if this digitization process were automatic?

Today, with the help of an artificial intelligence based software, you can push the boundaries of traditional modelling workflows and produce a 3D BIM model starting from a simple photo of the building’s floor plans. The advantage lies in the fact that you can produce a precise and detailed result in an extremely short time (only a few seconds of processing) ready to be used as a basis for setting up the renovations project.

The faster the model implementation process, the more time you’ll have to deal with project phasing!

How is it all achieved?

The recent AI-based technological advancements allow you to take a simple photo of a 2D plan drawing and import it into the application (PNG, JPG, PDF formats are among those supported). you can then define floor levels (ground floor, first floor, etc.), and in just the time of a cup of coffee, the AI-based algorythm, recognizes doors, walls, windows and floorings transforming them all into 3D objects.

But that’s not all because if you want to get into the smallest refined detail, you can switch to manual mode and modify objects by moving, deleting or even add other elements. At this point the model is ready for use in your standard BIM oriented workflow. Now with your exported 3D IFC BIM model ready, you can import it into your architectural design software. Sharing your work with other colleagues is also another possibility because you can use it to generate plan views, elevation views and sections which are consistently connected to the 3D digital format.

In just a few steps you have the 3D BIM model of the state of affairs at your disposal and you can easily proceed with the most stimulating and creative phase of the process: the design!

Then, import the IFC file into your BIM authoring software for architectural design and start thinking about spaces, functions, and design.

Consider transforming rooms according to the client’s needs in relation to the overall plant and structural conditions. Check that the new spaces always comply with regulatory indications (minimum heights and surfaces, interior lighting ratio, etc.). Insert furniture and apply textures.

You can try different solutions and then leverage the Real Time rendering view to check and validate accordingly. Take a virtual tour of the 3D model in real-time to validate design solutions while the high-performance rendering technologies and virtual reality can be used to produce appealing visuals and presentation material to impress today’s discerning clients.

If you are interested in gathering more info on this topic, I recommend reading this article “Guide to an apartment renovation project“.


Rendering | Produced with Edificius

Rendering | Produced with Edificius

Let’s start off with the scanned photo of an old floor plan. With AI get the detailed 3D model from which you can generate coherent technical drawings (BoQs, work schedules, etc.) and 2D drawings (plans, elevation views and cross-sections).

In conclusion, we used an online software exploiting artificial intelligence by automating all repetitive, mundane and time-consuming operations. This way, we can free up extra time and resources to dedicate to other activities.

Artificial intelligence at the service of BIM

We have seen how the implementation of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence in BIM, allows everyone involved in the AECO industry to maximize their productivity with minimum use of resources.

Another fundamental aspect is the ability to manage the enormous amount of data that comes into play during the design and management phases of an asset. Alternatively, it would have been practically impossible to track and use all the information without the support of these new technologies.

In fact, there are many different fields of application in which AI seems to be of great use for the construction sector:

  • facility management
  • architectural design
  • surveys
  • structural calculations
  • infrastructures
  • MEP.

Currently, we can see how their usage focuses mainly on the aspects of project verification and validation, such as budgeting, time and activity planning, etc.

But also on predictive analysis types: a number of platforms and software solutions are already available and that can simplify and speed up the process. They also allow you to generate useful information with reference to Project performance metrics, critical issues and improvement aspects.

Predictive Artificial Intelligence can provide a useful and supportive information bases for designers and construction company related activities. It can improve planning, early risk analysis and health and safety assessments of existing building assets. This is when the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a very important part and becomes fundamental, leading to a strong simplification when planning interventions and the necessary actions.

Artificial intelligence in construction

Artificial intelligence in construction

Artificial intelligence applications in architecture are vast and diverse and allow professionals to reorganise their traditional workflows and escape from routine activities, solve complex problems and improve the overall project efficiency.

Here are some practical examples of the use of AI in architectural design:

  • Parametric architecture – an iterative design method that allows you to work with some parameters to create extremely creative and complex architectural forms that would be impossible to model with traditional modelling methods,
  • Generative design – a project optimization technique that employs intelligent algorithms to perform an optimization process aimed at finding the best solution;
  • Integration with BIM – BIM software with the application of AI is able to collect huge amounts of information that AI uses to explore every aspect of the project, deriving the optimal solutions much faster than the human mind can do. AI-enabled BIM software also leverages machine learning to learn from data, detect models, and make independent decisions on how to automate and improve building design and construction processes;
  • Rendering: Artificial intelligence helps architects and designers create photorealistic and professional images of architectural projects. Rendering software tools, capable of integrating intelligent functions, can automatically set parameters that allow you to obtain high quality images, without any particular effort on behalf of the user. Another possibility is to perform real-time rendering, allowing you to evaluate and validate design solutions and the creativity pipeline while continuing the modeling phase;
  • Immersive experiences – virtual/augmented reality simulations provide a complete view of the project, and allow designers to present their ideas at their best. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can now integrate traditional artificial vision technologies with more advanced computer vision techniques, which transform visuals into even more realistic and interactive experiences;
  • Construction works planning – AI offers the ability to access countless amounts of data, perform predictive analytics, make cost estimates, schedule activities, identify possible threats, etc.;
  • Construction and safety – self-driving machines and robots equipped with artificial intelligence can carry out repetitive or risky construction operations almost independently, greatly accelerating the progress of the project. These tools integrate image recognition software and are able to detect potentially dangerous scenarios;
  • Home automation – the integration with artificial intelligence and IoT technologies contributes to the development of intelligent buildings that optimise energy consumption and improve occupant safety and comfort.

To learn more, why not read this article “AI in architecture: 8 examples“.

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