Meta Description: Learn about the basics of historic building information modelling and how this technology can help with restoration projects.

The preservation of historic buildings and structures is a complex and challenging endeavour. To ensure the long-term preservation of these important pieces of our past, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of their condition and integrity. Historic building information modelling (HBIM) is a tool that can be used to create a virtual model of a historic building or structure. This model can then be used to assess the condition of the building, identify potential problems, and develop preservation strategies.

Understanding building information modelling

Building information modelling, or BIM, is an approach to design, construction, and operations that uses a three-dimensional (“three-D”) model to store and communicate information about a facility. The model can be used throughout the life of the facility—from planning and design through construction and operations—to support decision-making at every stage.

Application of historical building information modelling

Historic building information modelling (HBIM) gives important data that can be used as input for the preservation strategy of a heritage site. Some instances where the data is used include:

Steel detailing

Steel detailing is the process of creating a drawing that specifies the size, shape, and location of the steel members that will be used in a construction project. The drawing is typically created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. It helps steel fabricators produce the steel parts in the required sizes and shapes and helps erectors understand where the steel members should be placed.

Forensic analysis

Data from historical building information modelling can be used in forensic analysis to help determine the cause of failure for a building or structure. Structural weaknesses and potential failure points can be identified, and the effects of different repair options can be simulated.

Condition assessment

Data from an HBIM model can be used to assess the condition of a historic building or structure. This information can help prioritize preservation and conservation efforts.

Preventative conservation

The data from an HBIM model can be used to develop a preventative conservation plan. This plan can identify potential problems before they occur and help avoid or minimize damage to the historic building or structure.

Facilities management

The data from an HBIM model can be used to support facilities management decisions. The model can be used to track the condition of the building or structure over time and to plan for future maintenance and repair needs.

Benefits of historic building information modelling

There are many benefits to using HBIM, including:

Improved understanding of the historic building or structure

The HBIM model can be used to create a virtual representation of a historic building or structure. This allows for a more thorough understanding of its features, layout, and condition.

Determining the best retrofit solutions

Retrofitting a historic building or structure can be a complex and difficult task. The HBIM model can be used to assess the building or structure’s condition and identify potential retrofit solutions.

Avoiding damage during renovations

Historical buildings carry a lot of cultural value, and even small changes can have a big impact. The HBIM model can be used to plan renovations to minimize the risk of damage to historic buildings or structures.

Determine compatibility with restoration guidelines

There are often strict guidelines that must be followed when restoring a historic building or structure. The HBIM model can be used to assess the compatibility of different restoration solutions with these guidelines.

It can also help determine the environmental aspects that need to be considered during the restoration process. These may include the long-term energy efficiency of the building or structure and its impact on the local environment.

Conclusion

The adoption of building information modelling (BIM) in the construction industry is growing. As the technology develops, its application is expanding to include historic buildings and structures. HBIM provides important data that can be used to support decision-making at every stage of the preservation process. When used correctly, it can help improve the understanding of a historic building or structure and its long-term preservation.