Integration of BIM and generative design to exploit AEC conceptual design innovation

Sepehr Abrishami, Jack Steven Goulding, Farzad Pour Rahimian, Abdulkadir Ganah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


New technological advancements in Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) design has brought the 'level of automation' as a pivotal factor in the success of projects. One of the key debates in 'effective automation' is its congruence throughout the AEC projects. This is currently hampered due to the failures in computational support at the early conceptual design stages. Yet, these failures are significant, and have direct impact upon the success of the AEC design process. Extant literature has identified a significant knowledge gap concerning the key impact links and support mechanisms needed to overtly exploit computational design methods, especially Building Information Modelling (BIM), throughout the conceptual design stage. This study posited that integration of generative design algorithms to the existing BIM platforms could bridge this gap by generating design solutions and transforming them into next stages of detailed design. This paper reports on the conducted survey to investigate perceptions of 153 professionals and students and articulate their approach to different angles of such a technology. Most of the respondents highlighted several deficiencies in the existing tools, whilst they asserted that such a purposeful BIM interface can offer comprehensive support for automation of the entire of AEC design and implementation phases, and particularly enhance the decision making process at the early design phases. Building upon two main constructs of the conducted survey, namely information modelling and form generation, this study further developed conceptual framework for 'virtual generative design workspace' using BIM as the central conduit. The details of this framework are presented in this paper. The developed framework will be used to develop a 'proof of concept' prototype, to actively engage generative design methods into a single dynamic BIM environment. This study contributes by forming a stepping stone for digital integrating of all stages of AEC projects and implementing BIM Level 3 (Cloud), as targeted by many countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Information Technology in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


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