Busting the myths around BIM for Design and Detailing Firms

By Anna Liza Montenegro | BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process for designing and collaborating using an intelligent 3D model that’s currently changing the way structural engineers, detailers, and fabricators are working together to design and deliver structural systems. However, there are common misconceptions surrounding BIM and we’re here to bust those myths.


Here’s the truth: No matter the size of the firm, BIM will help make smarter decisions and positively impact the overall project efficiency and quality. Users can make a change once and all documentation will be automatically updated.

With that being said, adopting BIM has benefited smaller firms in various ways, including:

  • United Structural Design, LLC in Phoenix (with 2 employees) can now visualize end products more easily with 3D isometric views, as well as deliver projects without outsourcing drafting services.
  • TSI Structures, LTD. in the United Kingdom (with 41 employees) has the ability to quickly design steel connections without having to recreate the design model and can use model-based collaboration with the structural engineers to streamline approvals.
  • Steel Detailing Online, Inc. in Denver (with only 1 employee!) is able to automatically generate traditional deliverables (such as shop drawings, erection plans, CNC files and material lists), as well as work out the constructability of a design and quickly recheck complex spatial geometry.


Here’s the truth: Getting started with BIM doesn’t have to be costly! Regardless of the size of your business, Autodesk offers the flexibility to choose subscription options that best fit your business needs, including:

  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Annually
  • Multi-Year Rental

For the world of structural design, detailing, and fabrication, this is a major value add as most competitive solutions can cost thousands of dollars. Check out our product page to learn more.


Here’s the truth: BIM is a process—not a tool. So while there is definitely a learning curve to implementing BIM, we have many resources and training readily available to make learning BIM manageable for even the busiest firms. On average, it only takes 5 days to learn Autodesk Advance Steel Essentials. Not to mention, we have Autodesk Certified Training Labs  in all three of our locations –  New York,  Boston and Philadelphia – and also offer on-site training at your offices. Head to our training page or reach out to us directly to get started!


Here’s the truth: Productivity gains achieved over time can outweigh the initial loss of time during training. Here’s a great example how transitioning to BIM helped a small firm in the United Kingdom mentioned earlier in this post.

TSI Structures, with 41 employees, transitioned to BIM to comply with recent mandates in the U.K. to collect, manage, and disseminate all relevant approved project documents. With Advance Steel soware’s ease of use, speed of modeling and connection design, and integrated design checks on the fly—combined with the ability to reuse the structural engineer’s Revit model—helped TSI Structures reduce their anticipated schedule time by 20%. Additionally, nearly 20% of users experience productivity gains of more than 100% and more than half of BIM users experience a 50% productivity gain in the long run.

Structural engineers can use Autodesk Advance Steel to help accelerate design, detailing, fabrication and construction. Built on the AutoCAD platform, Advance Steel enables you to automatically generate workshop and general arrangement drawings, bills of materials, and NC files directly from the 3D steel model.

So now that we’ve busted those four common myths, you may still be wondering: who will benefit from BIM? Not only the structural engineers and steel detailers, but the architects, fabricators, contractors, and building owners will all benefit since BIM uncovers all views of the same underlying information. Structural engineers and detailers can spend more time designing and be confident that their designs look good and perform as expected while fabricators and contractors can coordinate data, production, and installation accurately and communicate design intent to clients.

With support from a range of BIM solutions – starting with Advance Steel – transitioning to BIM has never been more accessible to structural engineering professionals, regardless of firm size. Contact us at Microsol Resources to get started with BIM today!


Published on January 25, 2017 in BIM.

About the Author

Anna Liza Montenegro develops design technology conferences for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals as a forum to exchange innovative strategies, and best practices, and facilitate discussions into the technology trends driving significant change in building design and construction. As Director of Marketing and as a trained architect, these events are offered to AEC professionals by Microsol Resources, a value-added reseller of Autodesk, Bluebeam, Rhino, Chaos V-Ray & Enscape, Egnyte and other various technology partnerships.