Rob Fink and Charles Thompson Featured on Autodesk Podcast

Kristina von Tish, CPSM, LEED Green Associate
Kristina von Tish
CPSM, LEED Green Associate
April 1, 2024
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Rob and Charles discuss the application of digital twin technology to existing and historic buildings, including integration with HBIM.

Rob Fink, AIA, a senior associate at Quinn Evans, and Charles Thompson, an associate, appeared on Autodesk’s Digital Thread podcast to discuss the application of digital twin technology to existing and historic buildings. Digital Thread interviews user-experts in the field of digital twins and Autodesk’s Tandem tool.

Host Cassandra Yocum interviewed Rob and Charles at the Autodesk University conference in Las Vegas. Their conversation began with defining Historic Building Information Management (HBIM) and describing the challenges we faced and lessons we learned creating our HBIM model for Mount Vernon.

A digital model of a stick-frame building.
HBIM model for Mount Vernon showing elements color-coded by date of construction.
Think of the [HIBM] model as a filing cabinet. You can click on any element within the model—that’s your folder. Inside is all the documentation and all the history of that object.

Charles noted that the difference between HBIM and a digital twin is the model’s focus and purpose. While HBIM captures historical information about a building’s architectural elements, digital twins are usually developed for new construction projects. Using the design model as the starting point, digital twins integrate data from sensors throughout the building to record operational data like temperature, carbon dioxide, and humidity levels in real time.  

A lot of the conversations around digital twins are about the MEP systems and the spaces they serve. [With HBIM,] we’re dealing with architectural elements as assets.

When combined with HBIM, digital twins become a powerful stewardship tool. For example, the Michigan State Capitol contains over nine acres of decorative paint finishes, which can be damaged by extreme temperature or humidity levels. (Watch a video about the ongoing project to restore deteriorated decorative paint in the Capitol rotunda here). We are currently working to layer digital twin technology onto our HBIM model of the Capitol so that the facilities team can take corrective action when environmental conditions in delicate historic spaces exceed specified boundaries.

A digital model of a building with a graphic dashboard.
HBIM model of the Michigan State Capitol with real-time temperature and humidity data.
Our job is to make sure the client can get the information they need in as little time as possible. It should be at their fingertips.

Watch the full Digital Thread interview:

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