As the residential market continues to navigate its way through the world of BIM (building information modeling), builders in this space can rely on the expertise of software providers in order to help provide a bit of guidance. New software releases and services are aimed at helping add a bit of clarity to the process for builders, and even remodelers, who might wish to benefit from a digital model.

For the residential market, much of the value associated with a process like BIM can be directly related to the modeling capabilities. Being able to share design intent early on, show buyers what changes to the plan might look like, and demonstrating schedule adjustments virtually are among the primary benefits cited most often by builders.

Cadsoft Corp., www.cadsoft.com, Guelph, Ont., recently announced the release of its Envisioneer 8 product. The company has announced major enhancements to such areas as design to documentation, to material takeoff and presentation, among others, with this release.

The company continues to build on the idea of making BIM simple for the residential design, construction, and building materials supply chain.

Brad Finck, vice president of business development, Cadsoft, believes the product is a significant leap forward in BIM, as many of the enhancements relate to customer feedback. That is a practice that most software vendors take these days when developing software, but for a process like BIM this becomes ever-more important based solely on the fact BIM is still so new to many in the residential space.

Among the new key features included is a new all-in-one Navigator controller for quick and easy view changes and onscreen walk through capability; new Import Site Data tool for importing spot levels from a site recorder file and creating an instant contoured terrain mesh; new Wall Panels feature for automatically extracting, sorting, and annotating framed wall panel diagrams; New SketchUp Export and improved SKP Import; and add BIM object intelligence for the editing of walls and associated objects; among others.

Others like Chief Architect, www.chiefarchitect.com, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and SoftPlan, www.softplan.com, Brentwood, Tenn., continue to enhance their product lines for small residential builders and remodelers. While full-fledged BIM might not be the strategy many of these users choose to go, each software provider is including elements of the process that will help these users at least get a sampling of the benefits.

In many aspects, the BIM process starts at the design level. For builders looking to navigate the landscape more efficiently, software providers are building a platform on which builders and remodelers can grow their experience in the BIM process.