Modular skylights bring more daylight into buildings. Digital product information, such as BIM objects, can help designers and specifiers better understand daylight provision in the spaces they are designing. It can also inform their designs much earlier in the process.
The acronym ‘BIM’ can stand for a number of similar - but subtly different - phrases. The most common is ‘Building Information Modelling’, and refers to the creation and sharing of digital information throughout the life of a project - from conception, through design and construction, to demolition and re-use.
How is modular skylight specification made easier by BIM?
To help design professionals model their building designs in architectural software packages, product manufacturers create BIM objects. A BIM object is a digital representation of a product from the manufacturer’s range. It can be dragged and dropped into the 3D model, giving a realistic impression of what the product will look like in the finished building.
The key part of BIM, however, is the ‘Information’ rather than the ‘Modelling’. As well as helping to show what the product will look like and how it integrates into the building design, a BIM object contains underlying product data that can be used to help simulate building performance or lifecycle costs.
BIM objects created by VELUX Commercial for our modular skylight range offer variable levels of data depending on what stage a project is at. In the early planning stages, objects do not need to be as data-rich. Architects can experiment with different design ideas and illustrate different concepts for clients, without dealing with large file sizes.
Digital building information allows different design options to be compared quickly and easily. Better cost control should be evidenced at construction stage too, as the use of BIM should identify any potential issues - and allow them to be solved - before the project reaches site.
Can BIM measure daylight provision in buildings?
While the information aspects of BIM should never be forgotten, designing for good daylighting is an inherently visual consideration. Utilising the 3D modelling capabilities of architectural software and other digital tools can really help to give clients and designers an appreciation for the benefits of good daylight design, and the contribution that modular skylights can make to it.
Computer generated walkthroughs, for example, can simulate the changing natural light conditions throughout a typical day, giving a general appreciation for how an interior space may change for occupants.
More detailed insights are possible, which can help to demonstrate whether a project will meet the recommendations of the EN 17037 Daylighting standard. The VELUX Daylight Visualiser, for example, is a lighting simulation tool that goes beyond a conventional 3D walkthrough. It accurately simulates and quantifies interior daylight levels, giving information about the quantity and quality of light in a given space.
Using models imported from most common software packages and formats, designers and specifiers can predict and document daylight levels, and the appearance of internal spaces, long before construction starts on site.
The VELUX Daylight Visualiser also shows light contrast in a space, giving an indication of where there might be a risk of glare. At present, it does not offer the full climate-based daylight modelling necessary to accurately measure glare. As digital tools and increasing amounts of data become better integrated, however, the tools for assessing designs even more accurately will become increasingly refined.
In terms of assessing the quality of view, it’s not impossible to imagine that in the near future we could see the integration of detailed mapping data to simulate the views that people in different parts of the building could expect to enjoy.
About VELUX Commercial BIM objects
The BIM objects offered by VELUX Commercial allow designers and specifiers to easily integrate the benefits of prefabricated modular skylights into their building designs, from the earliest concepts through to detailed design and tender stages.
Software packages like Revit, ArchiCAD and VectorWorks are all supported, as are IFC and 3D DWG format files, meaning modular skylights can be properly represented in smaller software packages as well as the most commonly used ones.