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  • For anybody who wears glasses – particularly people with really bad eyesight – the first time their optician offered the chance to compare pictures of them wearing different frames was a game changer. Rather than looking at the glasses in a display case, or squinting into a mirror and trying to work out if the frames suited, it was possible to make a considered choice.

    Being able to see things clearly and in context is really important for confidence in the end result – and the technology exists to do that with building projects as well.

    Sometimes, choosing a product like a rooflight is straightforward. If you need a certain size or performance then the choice is automatically narrowed and the decision made easier. Other times there are lots of possible options and choosing one over the rest is difficult, especially if you’re making the judgement on how the product will look once installed.

    The way in which buildings are designed and products specified is changing thanks to building information modelling (BIM) – a process by which a construction project, and the way information is presented, is digitised. At its most advanced, BIM can offer a realistic walkthrough of a complete project and the chance to ‘see’ products in use before ground is broken on site.

    For example, it’s possible to view what a rooflight looks like from the inside as well as the outside of the building, and simulate the passage of time to see how the internal environment reacts to changing light over the course of a day.

    At the moment, BIM is used inconsistently throughout the construction industry. But as it becomes more widespread, it will be used on projects of all shapes and sizes – even the smallest of extensions. All of which means, where they’ve engaged the services of an architect, homeowners could find themselves in possession of a digital ‘BIM model’ for their house.

    They could share that model with manufacturers, who could insert the BIM objects of any products under consideration, swapping them in and out as a means of comparing. Alternative options could be tested quickly and inexpensively before a final decision is made, with none of the worry about what it will look like once constructed.

    BIM could be the game changer that lets homeowners see what (rooflight!) frames look like on their property, and we can’t wait for that to be commonplace.

    You can contact the team at rooflights.com on 01379 658333 for more information, or view our range of BIM objects on our Glazing Vision website.