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Book Section
January 2009

Potential Obstacles to Use BIM in Architectural Design

Kiviniemi, A & Fischer, M 2009 'Potential Obstacles to Use BIM in Architectural Design', in: Shen, G & Brandon, P S & Baldwin, A (eds.), Collaborative Construction Information Management, Spon Press, Oxon, UK, pp.36-54.


The Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) practices are facing a radical change because of the emerging use of Building Information Models (BIM) instead of traditional CAD and 2D drafting. The change is starting to affect the work of architects faster than other disciplines, mainly because architects must produce the basic model before the engineers and other construction professionals can efficiently use BIM.

However, there are still also serious concerns, even scepticism, among architects about the usability of BIM as a creative design tool and about the effects the change may have in the professional practice and role of the architects in the new processes.

This article discusses briefly some dimensions of the problem; why is it difficult for many architects to move from drafting to 3D modelling although buildings are 3dimensional objects and spatial relations have paramount importance in architectural experience? Could it be that the background of architects’ unwillingness to change their work process is what Heidegger calls “readiness-to-hand” and what Merleau-Ponty calls “intentional arc”; our learned dispositions toespond to the situations instead of rule based rational thinking?

The approach to the topic is mostly practical, the article discusses the issues from the view point of building design using a mixture of literature review and phenomenological thinking; reflecting literature findings to the changes in the AEC industry, and also to the first author’s own professional background as an architect. The hypothesis is that architectural design process is not a rule-based rational system, but a complex mixture of intuition, skills, experience and personal and cultural values, and that this situation has significant impact in adopting new design tools and practices.


SEEK Members

External Authors

Martin Fischer


SEEK Members

Non-SEEK Editors

Andrew Baldwin

Geoffrey Shen

Publication Details

Book/Publication Title
Collaborative Construction Information Management


Spon Press
Oxon, UK.