NCMA, allies sponsor National Building Information Modeling for Masonry

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Launched late last month, the Georgia Tech-hosted National Building Information Modeling for Masonry Initiative (BIM-M) aims to include masonry materials and systems in BIM software for architecture, engineering, and construction. A first phase is scheduled to deliver by early 2013 a roadmap for bringing masonry into BIM.


Initiative members envision specific project plans for standardizing masonry unit databases; developing automated 3-D layout of structures with all types of masonry (structural and veneer); and, integrating BIM systems with structural analysis systems and supply chain applications. “The purpose of our initiative is to unify the masonry industry and [allied interests] through the development and implementation of BIM for masonry software to create smoother workflows and collaboration across all disciplines,” says Georgia Tech/Digital Building Laboratory Professor Russell Gentry, who is spearheading BIM-M with colleague Charles Eastman, lab director and professor of Architecture, and Biggs Consulting Engineering.

“All members of the building community are going to benefit from the inclusion of masonry into BIM software,” adds David Biggs, principal. “Building owners will have more advanced tools for understanding total cost of building ownership and upkeep, architects and engineers will have better design and communication tools, and masons and other trades on the construction site will experience improved scheduling, safety, and logistics.”

The consortium funding the initiative includes National Concrete Masonry Association, International Masonry Institute, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mason Contractors Association of America, The Masonry Society, and Western States Clay Products Association. Work groups on Architectural Modeling, Structural Modeling, Construction Management, Construction Activities, and Material Supply will be established to look at masonry BIM from all angles. “We encourage other members of the industry to join a work group at this critical first phase,“ says NCMA President Robert Thomas. “When there is an opportunity to make it easier, faster, and more cost effective for our members’ products to be used, we’re going to be involved from square one.”

Interested parties can contact Russell Gentry or David Biggs for information on other aspects of the BIM-M initiative or work group participation, [email protected]; [email protected].