Building Information Modelling For Historic Preservation And Building Restoration

Building information modeling is a complex concept that involves generating, interpreting and managing digital representations ofa place’s physical and functional characteristics. With roots tracing back to the 1960s, it has traditionally been used by individuals who design and construct physical infrastructures. However, it’s starting to gain recognition for the many benefits it offers professionals who specialize in historic preservation and building restoration.

The process of restoring a historic building is incredibly challenging due to a general lack of information about the structure and its parts. Building information modeling offers a way to not only obtain the critical data about these buildings that is so often missing, but also to construct a highly precise model of virtually any heritage site researchers are attempting to recreate or restore. Models that are created using building information modeling processes tend to be extremely helpful in heritage preservation and restorations because they promote:

  1. A smoother design process. When compared to other methods, building information modeling delivers a smoother design process. In addition to being able to prototype, visualize and collaborate throughout the project, researchers and engineers can also easily compare various design options and predict energy demand, allowing them to make better and more informed design decisions.
  2. Comprehensive data collection. Building information modeling is capable of capturing intricate details behind the surface of an object, so that researchers can better understand the texture, form and construction methods involved. It also provides automated documentation and highly accurate engineering drawings, which allow researchers to thoroughly review both the interior and exterior of the building. All of this data is extremely important to preservation efforts and can help to ensure a successful restoration.
  3. A high level of accuracy. One of the most important benefits of building information modeling is its high level of accuracy. Although some believe that this kind of precision is not necessary for historic preservation, an abundance of accuracy offers numerous benefits, including ensuring successful restorations, minimizing costly mistakes and establishing preservationists as leaders in their field.


  • James Rawstron

    James Rawstron is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America, located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Rawstron has 20 years of marketing communications experience in the software, high tech, industrial, advanced manufacturing machinery and medical device markets. He has written numerous articles for B2B publications, including blogs for a variety of industries. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rawstron served as a web marketing professional at IBM and a Marketing Manager at Vector Software. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and European History from Union College of Schenectady, New York.

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