Structural 3D Modeling; Lifeline for Construction Projects

The structural engineer deduces the architectural design to understand the structural project; & make a particular analytical model which establishes a structural representation that fits into the total design. 
Structural 3D modeling is an integral part of building design and hence; it becomes extremely necessary to develop a high quality structural design, as the building performance heavily relies on the internal structure. 
With the shift from CAD to BIM, it’s important for structural engineers to make this transition not just for huge projects with multiple complexities, but for day to day basis as well. 3D modeling generates wider scope of transparency and minimizes the risk.
Why structural 3D modeling is important?
BIM is one of the significant factors apart from integrated project delivery and sustainability in any construction undertaken today. It aids in obtaining all-inclusive information pertaining to building designs such as architectural design, and also coordinates structural and MEP elements, position of fittings prior to construction.  
GA – general assembly drawings: It’s quite evident that 3D model generates interactive views and section in no time. Though if you are an adamant traditional follower you would very well say 2D GA drawings are just the same, but I would argue that 3D gives more refined views and clarity to the construction stakeholders in various discipline (e.g.  Foundations, steel structure, precast concrete, cladding,) and can be grouped in layers or separate views.
Structural 3D and Structural steel shop drawing are too important to leave a window for error. Structural steel shop drawings include wide-ranging data related to prefabricated elements and is developed by detailers, contractors, fabricators and even sub-contractors. So shop drawings will provide the stakeholders with detailed information of the concerned object including shape and size of all the elements, followed with dimension to every individual element, fabrication process of parts and elements, and most importantly how all the elements will be placed together, etc.
Structural shop drawings also offers detailed sequential description of construction phase such as floor plans, elevations, ceiling planes etc. If you are renovating any commercial or residential building you may need construction drawings. Having said that; 2D construction drawings obtained from 3D models help in such projects by giving an estimate of building plan. 

Not only that, you can get parts, DXF drawings and complex wooden structures form 3D models as well. BIM assists the structural engineers in generating top notch structural 3D models for building project that can later be linked to MEP model for creating final coordinated model.
BIM level 2 mandate has made several organizations establish a specific BIM framework and how can it be implemented. Usually structural engineers contribute to a part of 'the BIM' in accordance with other disciplines, who will also contribute their part. 
In the structural engineer's area, this data, which includes the model, or BIM, will usually be in the form of: 
(a)  Geometrical structural models, probably in form of an integrated part of a bigger building model
(b)  Finite Element models based on calculations and analytics
(c)  Documentation backed up with several other specifications 
No wonder if 3D modeling becomes a compulsion for structural engineers, working on any micro or macro project in near future.

Hiral Patel

Hiral Patel is a news editor and has been contributing to the CAD industry since last 7 years. She mainly writes about the application of BIM across Architecture, MEP and Structural, Mechanical sectors. Her focus is towards encouraging construction companies, sub-contractors and architects to adopt right technologies to improve efficiency and profitability.