From Blueprints to Bytes: Historic Building Information Management and Digital Twins

For custodians of our nation’s most revered and significant historic places, stewardship is a complex endeavor. The long histories of these buildings and sites often are dispersed in decades – if not centuries – worth of documents, media, artifacts, and memories. Operating them today and mapping a path for their future requires the ability to synthesize pertinent and accurate information about their multi-layered past to make informed decisions.

Working with stewardship-oriented institutions such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Michigan State Capitol—both National Historic Landmarks— we have learned that managing and maintaining historically significant places relies heavily upon understanding their unique histories, materiality, and composition. Critical activities like upgrades to meet modern code, sharing history with audiences, and even routine maintenance require organized and contextualized information.

Historic Building Information Management (HBIM) captures, digitizes, and organizes a myriad of information into a three-dimensional digital system within a web-based graphical user-interface. HBIM provides a living documentation platform that is intuitive and readily accessible, acting as a kind of 3D virtual filing cabinet that organizes and provides easy access to data according to the built logic of a place.

The highly customizable platform allows users to easily navigate around a site and through a building, zooming into areas of interest, all on a web browser without the use of complicated software. HBIM directly connects data to modeled elements such as: when it was installed, who it was installed by, latest maintenance records, treatment guides according to the material properties, and more.

In this presentation, we will explain the development of HBIM and how to set up the system for success. We will continue by exploring the ongoing advancements in technology, such as the expansion into “digital twins.”

Advancement in HBIM is being taken to the next level through our work with the Michigan State Capitol Commission. The use of tools such as HBIM and digital twins can help provide strategies and guidance to properly sustain and care for buildings of all types.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe the data and information challenges faced in operating, maintaining, and preserving an existing or historic building
  • Analyze relevant levels of development for digital building elements in order to establish a useful BIM hierarchy
  • Apply unique approaches to modeling in order to best capture relevant and accurate conditions of existing and historic buildings with new technologies
  • Discuss the integration of facility monitoring software with BIM in a user-friendly and cloud-based interface
10:45 AM - 11:15 AM
24 May 2024


Rob Fink
Director, Design Technology, Quinn Evans
Charles Thompson
Associate, Quinn Evans