Karno Energy’s perspective on the transition from CAD to BIM is a testament to what the effects of implementation have been, or the challenges and benefits of the BIM method and tools in engineering and architectural services. The move to BIM was almost an evolution of design activities https://karnoenergy.com/cad-to-bim-conversion/ . At that time, the offerings on the subject were fairly narrow, although both ArchiCAD and Revit were already in use. During the same period, the first research contacts were established with Allplan Engineering and finally with Tekla Structures. In fact, based on memory, the subject was known with the vision of a 3D CAD environment, PDS Integraph, widely used in the oil and gas world, in which the geometric complexities due to piping, mechanical components and parts are known supporting structures. This has always attracted the attention of Karno Energy in terms of design efficiency (e.g., what are now called conflicts were already being resolved back then). Thus, this topic had already been explored, but in the AEC world it was not necessary.

Having a professional person at Karno Energy specializing in BIM-oriented design with an academic background in BIM-compliant design was the link between the CAD world and the BIM world. After a phase of experimentation and evaluation in terms of potential, capability and capacity, the Firm decided to enter the world of BIM completely . The occasion was the participation in an important infrastructure project, fully realized in BIM environment: from spatial modeling, structural roads to architectural and industrial design. The overall coordination was carried out by the engineering company of the road operator.


Karno Energy: Results from the transition from CAD to BIM

In the first phase, the results were not that impressive. “Immaturity” of the software and attempts to extract information for construction purposes seemed like a difficult obstacle to overcome. But the road was paved, and it was clear how irreversible it was. The work of the Karno Energy team has improved the results: for example, the production of the tables on the construction site with all the fittings was aligned with the editorial methods in the CAD environment, using however the quality of the model information and therefore significantly reducing the sources of error. 

Sections correspond to plants and to each other; complex geometric shapes can be extracted by views from the 3D model; anchors are modeled with their actual position and, above all, with real dimensions (which is extremely useful to prevent any difficulties during assembly).


Karno Energy – How have the tests changed

As has been emphasized, the transition has been gradual, as has the change in the firm’s internal processes. 

It could be said that the biggest change that Karno Energy has found concerns the time factor. To think that BIM design saves time is deeply and dangerously mistaken. 

The level of detail required needs to be very clear in terms of meaning, especially during the economic evaluation phase of the assets. High LODs (300-400) require a significant amount of time already at the initial stage. Thus, this is a topic that needs to be shared with the client immediately. After that, the stages of work are certainly easier than a CAD project. But to create a complete and consistent model across all disciplines requires a significant amount of work to be done in advance. You could say that the workload distribution shifts a lot at the beginning of the design, and the total time is not necessarily less than that of a CAD-based design. 

However, much in Karno Energy comes at the expense of accuracy and completeness at all levels, as well as an almost limitless ability to extract information. In addition, it is easy to check the completeness of the model; it can be inherited step by step and “just” made more and more complete.


Karno Energy – The Interdisciplinary Interplay of Architecture and Engineering

Once the Karno Energy system was adopted by the structural engineering department, it quickly became possible to test the interaction with the architectural sector on a real project. 

In this context, a complex of renovated buildings was considered and rebuilt in a BIM environment, including structural components. This was also a turning point for the architecture department, which evaluated the interaction skills, but above all the effectiveness of a single model to share certain choices between the structural engineer and the architect. We have not yet had the opportunity to decide on the interaction with the MEP, but there is little doubt about the possibility.