Building Enclosure Modeling: BIM Techniques, Climate, and the Smaller Firm

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Here’s a summary for a seminar I’ve submitted, which I hope to present at the Graphisoft BIM 2017 North America User Conference and the AIA 2017 National Convention. Please let me know your thoughts and follow my blog as the topic develops.


By understanding the basic principles of effective building enclosures and applying BIM techniques smaller firms can improve analysis during design development and more clearly communicate enclosure requirements in their construction documents, thereby improving quality assurance and diminishing their professional risk.

Session Description

Building enclosure failures are common. Moisture problems are more likely to land you in court than structural issues. Mold is gold. What can you do? Understand the principles of effective enclosure design. Model it. Educate the team. This presentation will review the basic principles of building science in relation to thermal and moisture control. It will then explain how to use tools within ARCHICAD to model and illustrate thermal characteristics, drainage planes, air barriers, and vapor retarders within building enclosures. Specific ARCHICAD concepts include Building Materials, Priority Based Connections, Composites, Custom Profiles, Graphical Overrides, Selection Criteria, and Energy Evaluation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the basic principles of effective building enclosures in relation to thermal and moisture control.
  2. Establish priorities for the intersections of materials within the building enclosure.
  3. Identify and model the typical assemblies and intersections within the building enclosure.
  4. Demonstrate proper construction techniques in 3D using whole building models, assembly sequences, and cutaway details.

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