Industry Achievement

David T Biggs


Generation 1 Building Information Modeling for Masonry Recaps Tools Optimizing Efficiencies Using New Industry-Specific Software Programs

BIM-M has become well established among designers and contractors after a major effort to develop BIM tools and processes. Since 2012, the masonry industry, with partners in the United States and Canada, has funded many groundbreaking projects. Successes of BIM-M have also attracted corporate support and spawned third-party development of more masonry BIM software and masonry design software than the industry has ever seen!

These activities all fit into the overriding mission of BIM-M:

To unify the masonry industry and all supporting industries through the development and implementation of BIM for masonry software to facilitate smoother workflows and collaboration across all disciplines from owner, architect, engineer, manufacturer, mason, contractor, construction manager and maintenance professionals.

Activities have come to fruition and are expanding opportunities for masonry design and construction. Masonry, the modern material with a long pedigree, more than ever is set for the future. BIM-M has created the way forward. Today we celebrate BIM-M Generation 1, both with the advancements and efficiencies that have been made and also point to what will be coming.

SUCCESSES OF BIM-M Knowledge and Tools For everyone!


Knowledge from BIM-M derived from BIM-M is readily accessible. is the repository for all projects by BIM-M.


The Masonry Society ( has the only BIM committee dedicated to development of new BIM-M standards for masonry. Users can participate in BIM development and help with further advancement by joining the TMS BIM-M Committee. Contact Ms Jamie Davis ( for information.


One committee product is the document Building Information Modeling in Autodesk REVIT. Available FREE from TMS. Released in 2016, this document has practical modeling tips. Recent BIM-M efforts have made some tips outdated, which is a positive reflection of masonry BIM development.


Want specific information on a topic? Tune into to find technical topics, promotional videos, seminars and more.


The BIM Forum ( reaches into all disciplines. Masonry is among their primary materials. Masonry was among the first industries to develop LOD specifications defining content and reliability of BIM elements at different stages in a project. Available free. Mark Swanson ( of the International Masonry Institute (IMI) represents BIM-M.

3d CMu Modeling using sketchup developed to model interior masonry walls

The Building Information Modeling for Masonry Initiative has created guides to provide architects, engineers, and mason contractors with tools for developing Autodesk Revit models for modeling masonry buildings


Learn more about BIM-M on the Autodesk blog ( and within the AUTODESK KNOWLEDGE NETWORK blog.

Contractors glean myriad efficiencies with BIM-M giving them the most competitive qualifications and bids. Led by Fred Kinateder ( with assistance from IMI, two volumes were developed to provide guidance for contractors to enter the world of BIM (free online from BIM-M). These provide examples of using 3D modeling and BIM written and provided by contractors themselves using SketchUp, REVIT and TEKLA software. For a presentation on the guides, contractors can contact Fred to get the BIM tips from a mason contractor.


The essence of BIM is software. Education is necessary. BIM-M has become the spark to the industry by developing new free software products and encouraging third-party vendors to develop software (available for purchase). It has become a catalyst for other vendors.

Bond beams within wall


BIM-M commissioned Autodesk Revit experts, CTC Software, ( to create a digital library of 2D and 3D. Images of standard masonry element content are free ( Images from this library may be incorporated into models with drag and drop loading. A start-up instructional video accompanies the library.

Content includes bond beams | vertical reinforcement in grouted cells | movement joints | arches | wall types of numerous conditions | various generic unit profiles | wall hatches for bonding patterns | flashing details | and more.

Wall types and use database allows users to find units based upon wall types and use


One of the most ambitious BIM-M projects was to create a digital database ( of masonry shapes. The BIM-M challenge was to compile innumerable shapes and sizes so designers and users can access content quickly and easily.

The overall concept was to approach this in steps. First was to populate the database with generic units of concrete masonry and clay.

These units:

  • have a geometry that appears extruded
  • are not manufacturer specific and are applicable nearly everywhere
  • can be used to begin many projects
  • are given in both US and Canadian sizes (Imperial and Metric)

This generic online database is now being used by designers and contractors. Units may be selected by material, size and color.


In 2019, the database will be expanded to include custom units, which are standard shapes but not geometrically extruded. Units will include concrete masonry, clay masonry, stone, manufactured stone and tile. Again, these will not be manufacturer specific and will have universal application. Both generic and these custom units will be available to users.

The final step of the database development is just beginning. BIM-M has chosen the software firm, 3DiQ, as the preferred vendor to develop remaining portions of the database. The vision is that the database will ultimately contain manufacturer specific units. To accomplish this part of the database, manufacturers will determine if they want to contribute. Participation is voluntary and will require fees from the manufacturer. Users will have access to this data through the MasonryiQ software by 3DiQ.

Unit examples shown are available in DWG, DGN, DXF, RFA formats


The International Masonry Institute not only was a major funder for BIM-M, it also is at the forefront of developing 3D models for users. Their SketchUp-based modeling is prominent on 3D Warehouse ( Just search International Masonry Institute for all the content.

IMI’s Wall Systems Library (WSL) makes it quick and easy to design masonry walls, saving architects time by eliminating the need to design from scratch.


Another major modeling effort by IMI is the Wall Builder Tool inside the Masonry Wall Systems Library (

The tool allows a user to construct his own wall assembly through a series of drop-down menus. The system then generates a PDF of the assembly for use on design drawings, details, RFIs and more.


BIM-M realized from the beginning it needed to engage and encourage others to create new, unique tools for making BIM-M a reality within the industry. Several successes are shown.

Patterns, bonding and openings are easy to evaluate in the plugin


Developed by Tom Cuneio, is a major contributor to the success of BIM-M. Drawing from the BIM-M Roadmap, he has created unique modeling software for architects, engineers and contractors. MasonryiQ plugs into REVIT and allows users to evaluate the modularity of the wall layout, check bonding at corners, evaluate openings and wall segments for cuts, insert custom patterns, generate sweeps and draw sections.


BIMsmith ( has been another follower and supporter of BIM-M. They offer product content for all types of materials and have been expanding their product database for masonry. More options for masonry users!

3diQ example of patterning and bonding


Look for continual developments from 3DiQ for designers and contractors.

Tradesmen’s software


Tradesmen’s Software ( has been a staple for contractors for decades. It offers 3D modeling with its online estimating software. BIM compatibility is provided through its BIM conversion service that provides an IFC (Industry Foundation Class) file.

TEKLA 3D Warehouse


TEKLA by Trimble has its own 3D Warehouse ( which has grown to include masonry content for use within its BIM software, TEKLA Structures. TEKLA Structures has a following with contractors. For masonry, users can model CMU, reinforcement, foundations and more.

BIM for Masonry: More to Come

There is much to be proud of with masonry BIM advancements. Thanks to the activities of many, the masonry industry has made major strides since the inception and strategy of BIM-M. BIM-M was created in 2012 by major sponsors representing the US and Canada such as the international Masonry institute (iMi), Mason contractors association of america (Mcaa), international Union of Bricklayers and allied craftworkers (iUBac), national concrete Masonry association (ncMa), Western States clay products association (WScpa), Brick industry association (Bia) and The Masonry Society (TMS). These and numerous other sponsors have been essential to the success of BIM-M. The broad support highlights that the success of BIM-M was in creating unity within the industry as much as in the individual projects. Sponsors are credited with foresight, wisdom and leadership to advance BIM technology for the future of the masonry industry!

David T Biggs

David T Biggs, PE, SE, DIST M ASCE, HTMS, FSEI, is principal of Biggs Consulting Engineering in Saratoga Springs NY and Program Coordinator for the BIM-M Initiative. He specializes in structural forensic engineering, masonry design and historic restoration. He lectures, is involved with research projects and provides consulting for the development of new masonry products. He is a Distinguished Member of ASCE, an Honorary Member of The Masonry Society, and a member of the TMS 402/602 Main Committee. As a GREAT MIND of the Editorial Advisory Board of SMART | dynamicsofmasonry and a partner of Constructive LLC, prefabricated masonry wall system, Biggs shares knowledge of BIM-M, high performance structural masonry’s resilience with readers who crave this content. | 518.495.5739


The BIM-M initiative is led by an Executive Committee whose members are sponsors:

  • International Masonry Institute (IMI)
  • International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC)
  • Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
  • The Masonry Society (TMS)
  • Western States Clay Products Association (WSCPA)
  • Brick Industry Association (BIA)

Guided by Georgia Institute of Technology Digital Building Laboratory as BIM-M Consultant

BIM-M Coordinator: David Biggs

BIM-M Consultant: Russell Gentry, Georgia Tech

Industry Consultant: Art Theusch

Sponsoring Contributors:

  • Adams / an Oldcastle Company
  • Anguleris Technologies / BIMsmith
  • Biggs Consulting Engineering
  • Cast Stone Institute
  • Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Hanley-Wood LLC
  • Hohmann & Barnard
  • Interstate Brick
  • Masonry Association of Florida
  • Mason Contractors Association of Michigan
  • Mason Contractors Association of St Louis
  • Masonry Institute of America
  • Masonry Institute of Michigan
  • Masonry Institute of St Louis
  • Michigan Mason Contractors’ Association
  • National Building Granite Quarries Association
  • New York State Concrete Masonry Association
  • New York State Structural Masonry Coalition
  • North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association
  • Northwest Concrete Masonry Association
  • Oneonta Block | Duke Concrete Products
  • Charles Pankow Foundation
  • SMART|dynamics of masonry
  • SPEC Mix


  • Professor Russell Gentry, PE, of Georgia Institute of Technology from the School of Architecture who has been a guiding force for BIM-M.
  • BIM-M Project Managers Jeff Elder, Jamie Davis, Fred Kinateder and Mark Swanson.
  • The Charles Pankow Foundation under the direction of then Executive Director Mark Perniconi for its wise counsel and financial support.
  • SMART | dynamicsofmasonry as the Media Sponsor

Thought Leaders Inspired BIM for Masonry

Ed Davenport

Jeff Buczkiewicz

Dan Zechmeister

When you need something to move forward, engage Ed Davenport, president of Davenport Masonry, Holt MI. Beginning his career as mason tender at the age of 17, Davenport has been an active mason contractor since 1993. Once in this business, he built his firm by being dedicated to doing it better, doing it right the first time and most efficiently. Serving on boards of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the Masonry Institute of Michigan inspired him. Jeff Buczkiewicz, President/CEO of MCAA, was leading the discussion about BIM and how they could get involved and participate? The beauty of associations is the collaborative benefits, the networking throughout the country. Incredible Thought Leaders who share a passion are working together. The ability to initiate an idea and carry it forward. To achieve industry buy-in. Structural engineer David Biggs had just finished his previous challenge of finding and working with a company to develop engineering software for the structural masonry industry. Introduced in 2008, this software allowed structural engineering calculations to be completed in minutes rather than weeks to be more competitive with other engineered structural wall systems. More market share. Of course, Biggs was eager to accept this next challenge in 2012 of integrating masonry into Building Information Modeling. A board and committees were established and sponsors enlisted. Georgia Tech’s Russell Gentry took the helm as BIM consultant who was interested in doing masonry. Thank you Ed Davenport for asking Masonry institute of Michigan’s executive director Dan Zechmeister who placed the call to Biggs. BIM-M was soon off and running under his leadership. The industry thanks you Thought Leaders for collaborating.