Yes, it is!
Let’s talk first about just what it means to go from 2D CAD to 3D BIM. A 2D CAD file is generated using lines in layers and if you draw plans, elevations, and sections in a traditional CAD application (like AutoCAD, for instance) and need to make any design changes, you have change each sheet manually.
BIM software addresses this problem by letting the user draw objects (for instance “walls”), instead of just symbolic 2D lines that represent walls. By designing this way, the building is ‘virtually constructed’, in 3D with material information and sometimes even the cost of building materials built in. When it comes to making a design change, you change the object, and the software does all of the relevant revisions automatically. So, if you change the position of a window in the wall, all of the plans, sections, and elevations change accordingly.
So, what do you do when you have 2D CAD files that you want to incorporate into your 3D BIM files?
2D to 3D Conversion Technology
2D to 3D conversion technology exists, but the problem is that most design and build firms are focused on current projects that affect the bottom line today, leaving little time for architects and designers to convert 2D CAD legacy drawings into new 3D BIM formats. Yet some design and build firms are not only accomplishing the conversion of their 2D CAD drawings but are also excelling in top-line and bottom-line measures with today’s projects.
How are they accomplishing this?
Most 3D modeling systems offer features that help manage the accuracy and completeness of 2D to 3D conversion. However, the accuracy of conversion seems to be of major concern, and generally requires hands-on time for QC and some manual change. Therefore, many design and build firms have discovered that outsourcing their 2D to 3D conversion of legacy drawings can ensure accuracy while helping them to make the most of their design staff and saving money in the process. Often the ROI of outsourcing far outweighs the loss of productivity occurred when using their own staff.
Successful outsource projects always start with a qualified outsourcing firm. Look for a firm that employs professional engineers and architects that are qualified to perform any 2D – 3D conversion, whether an architectural 2D – 3D conversion, or a manufacturing drawing 2D – 3D conversion. Look for a firm that is able to convert hardcopy documents into any 3D CAD program such as Revit, Solid Works, CATIA, or other 3D programs, as well as being able to convert 2D CAD drawings into 3D BIM. Using an outsource conversion firm that is familiar with all aspects of conversion helps to ensure that they are professionals and that your job will be done right.
Finally, make sure that they are willing and able to perform the 2D to 3D conversion according to your specifications and that they guarantee results.