I like to look at any building as a ‘kit of parts’, and while comparing construction with any type of manufacture gets frowned on, I like how buildings are made up of components, subcomponents and assemblies.
Typically, a component is any item that originates from a single source; (arrives on site as a self contained unit) and gets fixed to other components; (window, manhole cover, brick, entire facade)
The key determining factor in identifying a component is: the largest single recognisable unit supplied (and installed) by a single manufacturer or trade; Another simple rule to remember: the lead designer/architect/engineer should be responsible for junctions between components – individual trades/manufacturers for what is happening ‘inside’ their components!!!)
Under the ‘traditional system’ these components were rarely drawn. When they were drawn, it was done in the simplest terms and only for those items not available ‘off the shelf’.
BIM has changed this approach. While BIM cannot substitute for lack of fundamental technical knowledge BIM offers manufacturers of building components the opportunity to get better presence for their products on the market but also influence where and how their products are used; There is quite an opportunity to provide USEFUL tools to designers and construction documenters/managers that are also promoters as well.
Manufacturers, step up and lead!