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LOD Specifications for Structural BIM Processes: Defining Model Elements and Content Requirements

September 28th, 2015 BIM

LOD Specifications for Structural BIMThe key benefit of BIM is that it allows structural engineers to share the digital model of a structure with the contractors and fabricators. It also brings the engineers and their design teams closer and enables them introduce improved collaboration and coordination.

It is very important for engineers to develop the models with high level of clarity and reliability for various stages of structural design, fabrication and development.

Here, Level of development specifications comes into picture.

Today, structural engineering contract scopes are well defined due to the introduction of level of development (LOD) specifications from 100 to 500. All structural models are not detailed to a certain specific LOD. For example, it cannot be said that a structural model is LOD 300, or LOD 400.

A structural 3D model is a mix of various levels of development for various components:

However, this information is typically useful for facility owners and managers – i.e. after the building is ready to be occupied.

Structural engineers typically require LOD anywhere between 300, 350 and 400.

Structural engineers are increasingly demanding for models with greater details. The BIM technology advancements hence empower structural engineering firms, by lowering the involved risks. If, the models that are sent to the contractor are accurate and have the required fabrication detail, these constructible 3D models provide both engineers and contractors, enhanced control over the project, and hence reduce risks and liabilities.

Better control over projects with constructible structural 3D models will not only reduce risks, but also enable improved coordination between building owners, design teams, general contractors, and the structural engineers, resulting in cost reduction.

Often engineering firms and independent structural engineers do not have the in-house capabilities to develop BIM with the required LOD. Joining hands with BIM experts and outsourcing service providers, can help them develop models with design, fabrication and installation information and communicate the same with contractors.

Just the right amount of details and level of development specifications, translates into successful design communication and coordination between teams. This in turn enables engineers to decrease the time in design and development phase. Besides, any issues in the structural design can be easily identified and revisions can be efficiently tracked. All this, translates into development of high performing and safe structures.

Gaurang Trivedi

About Author: is engineering consultant at TrueCADD. Besides, donning multiple hats, as a website manager and marketing in charge, he also oversees the editorial content, coordinating and managing the website, its news sections, blogs and social media promotions as well.

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