BIM’s New Business Model

Aiming introduce the whole industry to the benefits of building information modelling, last month Tekla officially launched new software programme BIMsight…. for free

There is a theory that the concept of “free” is the future of business. In his 2008 book “Free”, author Chris Anderson drew on examples of digital distribution for films and music, which not only posed benefits to the consumer but also widened the audience and brand appeal of the products on offer.

Last month, 3D modelling software providers Tekla officially launched their latest software, BIMsight, at a black tie dinner held at the Burj Al Arab.

Billed as a “new, advanced application for building information modelling”, BIMsight can be used by all project stakeholders to enhance communications and cooperation. And it can be downloaded for free.

Using the internet, BIMsight provides a platform allowing each party to combine their models, check for clashes, comment and mark changes; it is compatible with other 3D models created by different AEC disciplines.

Calling it a “paradigm shift”, Tekla’s business manager Paul Wallett reasons that free downloads will increase the popularity of BIM in design and construction processes.

“To enable this paradigm shift Tekla took away all barriers and made the software free; no budget discussion is needed or committees formed and everyone can collaborate freely and start communicating. This will rapidly promote the use of building information modeling (BIM) throughout the industry, even to those who could not have imagined affording it before,” Wallett explains.

Despite a decades-old BIM market, adoption of the technology has been slow — although changing attitudes towards waste and budgets over recent years has helped, the industry maintains “archaic” working practices.

“Changing people’s working processes has taken a long time to get where it is today. Predominately the construction industry has worked the same way for hundreds of years; an architect comes up with a concept, the engineer makes it work structurally and the sub-contractor fabricates,” Wallett says.

“Each time a paper trail of calculations, drawings and contracts is created and each time another piece of paper is created for verification or a separate model built, but not interfaced.”

Download lowdown

??This will rapidly promote the use of building information modeling throughout the industry, even to those who could not have imagined affording it before”

Tekla’s paid for software enjoys a market share of 85%, counting the likes of Tiger Steel (who used the software for Ski Dubai), ARUP, Bechtel and Murray and Roberts as clients.

The new BIMsight is a centralised maintenance and communication tool, facilitating a paperless process which detects, reacts to and corrects design errors before on-site construction begins. Unlike other Tekla software it does not require training.

To tailor the information embedded in the model, Tekla uses industry foundation classes (IFC) for interoperability, meaning other collaborators can comment on the model but not change it, retaining full control for the creator.

Tekla cites increased efficiency, reduced risks and improvements to safety, as primary benefits; while BIMsight also addresses a demand for sustainability through prefabrication and site management.

“Tekla’s mission is to drive the evolution to digital information modeling, multiplying our customers’ potential to think and achieve big in their projects and businesses,” explains executive vice president Risto Räty.

“Understanding BIM as a centralized process rather than ‘just a model’ requires cooperation and goodwill between the construction disciplines. This is exactly what we want to achieve with the new Tekla BIMsight software, and our part of the goodwill is to distribute it for free, for the whole industry to easily take into use,” Räty concludes.

Tekla BIMsight is available to download from

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