The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W3
23 Feb 2017
 | 23 Feb 2017


A. Adami, B. Scala, and A. Spezzoni

Keywords: BIM, accuracy, 3D modelling, HBIM, planned conservation, restoration

Abstract. Modeling of Cultural Heritage in a BIM environment, and in general of existing buildings, requires special attention because there are two diametrically opposed possibilities. On the one hand the attempt is to realize a very complex and accurate model, in order to provide the most comprehensive representation of the architecture as possible. The opposite position leads to build a very schematic and symbolic model of as-built architecture. It is not easy to determine which is the right balance between these two attitudes because each architecture requires a personalized approach and not standards. It's, however, necessary to find rules to figure out which items are represented, what is the minimum level of detail to consider adequate and how to deal with alterations from simple and linear geometries.

These two facing possibilities deal with different goals and tools. In the field of restoration or planned conservation, that is the most common approach for existing buildings, the attention focuses on the exceptions and particularities of each architecture: the important aspect is to understand and describe exactly each part as a singularity (as it is). In this context it is very difficult to find a standard or a common solution.

The first possibility of modelling seems to be very close to this approach, but it clashes with two important aspects. A first problem concerns the modelling software. Usually commercial BIM modelling software doesn’t allow to realize very complex and high detailed solutions. They prefer working with predefined families and try to categorize each element in standard solution. The possibility to build new families is expected, but it often requires a lot of time. The second difficulty is the real efficiency of such an accurate model. In fact, it could be very difficult to link external elements to the model or use it in many traditional BIM applications.

In this paper, we suggest another possible approach that represents the first result of a research about the modelling of Cultural Heritage for BIM application. The proposed solution aims to give as much information as possible about the architecture, and, at the same time, to guarantee a higher efficiency. In this case we considered commercial BIM software like Revit or Archicad. They are the most widespread and well-known software BIM oriented and they also allow the use of their embedded database structure.

The core of our solution is to describe the architecture not only by a 3D model but also by the representation of the reliability of the accuracy of the model itself. In this way we try to combine the necessity of working with commercial software, in which it is difficult to be very accurate, and the information about the real object. In historical complex architecture, for example, it is very difficult to find a straight and planar wall. It is quite difficult, or at least time consuming, to model that kind of wall with high accuracy. But it is possible to represent the real wall by a schematic wall with a false color map which describes where the 3D model is well fitting and where there are some differences. In this way we don’t lose any information but, at the same time, we have a very usable BIM model.