Karen Kensek, who teaches BIM at the University of Southern California, has written two books on the subject -- one for people new to it and one about where the technology is going. Combining virtual reality, digital fabrication and Big Data, BIM "spans the entire life cycle of a structure and allows architects to 'run' the building," she says. "From conceptual design to construction to the operation of the building, BIM has a role. No more looking for rolls of old, crumpled drawings in the basement when you need to find out when filters need to be changed."

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