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Introduction to CAD & BIM in Construction and Architecture

Number: BCT 320
Credits: 3
Format: In person

Semester: Fall, Spring
Meeting Times: Tue/Thu 4:00-5:15
Room: Olver Design Building 260

LMS Link


Alexander Schreyer,
M.A.Sc., Dipl.-Ing.

Senior Lecturer and BCT Program Director

Office: Olver Design Building 318
Phone: +1 (413) 545-1976

Office Hours | Faculty Page | LinkedIn

Course Description

This course provides students with a broad introduction into Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) with a focus on construction- and architecture-specific applications. By using industry-standard AEC software (such as Autodesk AutoCAD, Trimble SketchUp, and Autodesk Revit) in hands-on exercises, assignments and projects, students gain the capability to model construction projects and create and distribute industry-standard architectural drawings.

Learning Goals

  • Understanding of the power and precision of computer-aided modeling and drafting
  • Awareness of Building Information Modeling (BIM) principles
  • Ability to construct accurate 2D geometry as well as complex 3D shapes and objects
  • Ability to create 2D representations of 3D objects in plan view, elevations and sections
  • Ability to assemble these drawings in industry-standard plan form and produce plotted hard copies and PDFs ready for distribution
  • Awareness of architectural drafting nomenclature with a focus on industry standards



Sections: (all sections meet at the same time)

  • BCT 320 – 01 – is for BCT students only
  • BCT 320 – 02 – is for ARCH students only
  • BCT 320 – 03 – is available for any student


  1. Intro to CAD, Intro to AutoCAD
  2. Precision Drawing & Drawing Aids
  3. Geometric Shapes
  4. Basic Printing
  5. Editing Tools
  6. Architectural Views & Drafting Views
  7. 3D modeling  with AutoCAD (Surfaces, Solids)
  8. 3D Modeling with SketchUp
  9. Annotating in AutoCAD with Text & Hatching
  10. Layers
  11. Templates & DesignCenter
  12. Advanced plotting (Layouts, Viewports), Office Standards
  13. Dimensioning
  14. Internet and collaboration
  15. Blocks, Drafting symbols, Attributes, Extracting data (as time allows)

Course Components:

  • Class Meetings: Two weekly 1.25 hr. sessions (Tue. & Thu.) are scheduled in the Holdsworth 302 computer room. They provide a hands-on environment for the instructor to introduce core techniques and for the students to practice these in exercises and group work. Attendance and participation is mandatory.
  • Assignments: 8 assignments provide a task-oriented opportunity for students to practice their skills.
  • Midterm and Final Projects: Two larger course projects allow students to practice their skills on a project-oriented task.

Optional Literature:



Architectural / Construction Graphics

Rules, Exams and Grading:

Course pre-requisites: None 
Course co-requisites: 

Contacting Instructor: Office hours will be announced at the beginning of the term (in class and on Moodle). Aside from these times, students can arrange meetings with the instructor or simply state any questions in an e-mail (faster response).

Course Website / LMS: This course’s main communications platform will be its Moodle site. Students must make sure they can access it reliably. While the Moodle site is usable on phones and tablets, some tasks may require the use of a computer.

Computers: While there is no requirement to bring a personal computer to class, students must have access to one and be familiar with common office-type applications (e.g. Word and Excel) and email. If this course requires acquiring and installation of software, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure their computer is capable enough and then perform the installation themselves. The instructor can provide advice for common computing questions, but ultimately it is up to the student and UMass’ IT help desk to resolve any issues. On-campus computers are available in many locations, for example in Design Building 260 or 235 (printers available) or any IT classroom computers.

Students must also have a means for storing and exchanging files such as an external hard-drive, USB stick, UMass Apps (GDrive), BoxUMass U-Drive, or any other removable storage. If you use removable storage, write your name and email on those (they are frequently left behind)!

If a student has any problems with this, contact the instructor early on so that arrangements can be made.

Attendance: Regular class attendance is mandatory and will be recorded. Classes will start on time.

Absences: Whenever possible, unavoidable absences for labs and exams need to be discussed with the instructor prior to the lab or the exam (in person or in an e-mail). Appropriate documentation will be required. After-the-fact notifications will only be accepted if no possibility of prior submittal existed. If you have to miss an exam due to a university-accepted reason, contact the instructor before the exam (if possible) to arrange for a solution to this problem. Other than for approved reasons, make-up exams will not be given.

Students are responsible for obtaining missed course material. Only portions of the full course content are available on Moodle. Students are encouraged to copy someone else’s notes and to contact the instructor only if they are still missing any material after that.

(Late) Hand-in: Due dates will be set at the time of assignment and are published on Moodle. Assignments and lab reports must be submitted to Moodle on time and (unless stated otherwise) email submissions will not be accepted. Late submittal (without prior instructor approval) will incur the following grade adjustments: -5% per day (including weekends) until the day, when the solutions are published and the corrected work is returned. After that point, students will receive 0% (an F) for the missed hand-in. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that work is uploaded to Moodle.


50% – Assignments (8)
20% – Midterm Project
20% – Final Project
10% – Attendance

Letter Grading:

A ≥ 93.0 % | A− = 90.0-92.9 %
B+ = 87.0-89.9 % | B = 83.0-86.9 % | B− = 80.0-82.9%
C+ = 77.0-79.9 % | C = 73.0-76.9 % | C− = 70.0-72.9 %
D+ = 67.0-69.9 % | D = 60.0-66.9 %
F < 60.0 %

Grades will be calculated based on the rules set up in Moodle’s gradebook. Letter grade conversion then follows without any further numerical rounding.

Grievance Procedure: If you feel that an awarded grade is not accurate for whatever reason, you may dispute it by submitting a written explanation together with the graded material to the instructor within two weeks of receiving the graded material.

Special Needs: All reasonable efforts will be made to meet the individual needs of the student. If students have a learning disability or need special accommodation they are encouraged to make an appointment with the instructor early in the semester to discuss their needs. All discussions will be kept strictly confidential.

Academic Honesty: The University Academic Honesty Policy applies (see here: https://www.umass.edu/honesty/).  It covers plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and facilitating dishonesty. Occurrences of any of those practices will be dealt with according to university policy. Original write-up of homework is required by each group/individual (as applicable) for a given assignment or lab report.

Classroom Behavior: As per building policy, it is not permitted to consume food in the classroom. Students must also silence all phone, text, and other communication tools during class. Any disruptive behavior will be sanctioned appropriately.

Copyright and Privacy: No component of the course (printed and online materials, lectures, labs, discussion sessions etc.) may be recorded (audio or video) except for personal use, broadcast, published, or re-published without the written consent of the instructor. Violations will be considered a copyright infringement and sanctioned appropriately.

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