WHAT IS BIM
Building Information Modelling, BIM is one of the most promising recent developments in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. BIM uses a digital model that incorporates information and parameters related to building form, structure and systems. When completed, the building information model contains precise geometry and relevant data required to support the design, procurement, fabrication, and construction activities necessary to realise the building. After completion, the digital model can be used for building management.
There is no universally accepted definition of BIM. In the construction market, there are various definitions of BIM from different organizations and institutes. The reason there is no accepted definition is that BIM is ever-evolving; however, there have been some useful definitions, some of which are provided here.
"Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure".
"Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a set of technologies, processes, and policies enabling multiple stakeholders to collaboratively design, construct and operate a Facility in virtual space. As a term, BIM has grown tremendously over the years and is now the 'current expression of digital innovation' across the construction industry".
"BIM is the construction of a model that contains information about a building from all phases of the building life cycle."
"BIM is a shared digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of any built object (including buildings, bridges, roads, tec) which forms a reliable basis for decisions."
BS ISO 29481-1
"Building Information Modeling is digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility creating a shared knowledge resource for information about it forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest conception to demolition. "
What is essential to understand is that all definitions highlight different aspects of BIM, in terms of process, technology, and people, but they also share some similarities:
The model itself, a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics.
The process of developing the model; hardware software, data exchange, workflows, collaboration, definitions of roles and responsibilities, etc.
The use of the model; business models, standards, deliverables during the project lifecycle, collaborative practices.
BIM BENEFITS FOR ARCHITECTS
Using BIM models, architects can use computational design to explore design options and use analysis tools to provide data-based insights that inform design decisions.
BIM tools allow designers to create impressive visualizations that convey their design intent. These 3D renderings bring future projects to life for the client and help architects communicate better and effectively.
Cloud collaboration tools let architects and extended team members work together in real-time on a single design, ensuring all members have the latest information.
BIM tools help architects know that their design can be developed to a level that supports fabrication – making it more likely that design continuity will be maintained by others later in the development process.
BIM BENEFITS FOR STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS
A rich data model allows engineers to address competing design parameters, quickly test the viability and structural integrity of different options early in the design phase, and easily adjust structural models based on design changes.
Model-based collaboration improves communication between structural engineers and the extended project team. By connecting structural design to detailing design for structural steel, rebar, or precast concrete fabrication, firms can significantly shorten project timelines.
Structural engineers can use reality capture tools such as light detection and ranging to capture point clouds that provide detailed information about existing built and environment features.
BIM BENEFITS FOR MECHANICAL ENGINEERS
Mep designers and detailers can explore the best constructible design of building systems before settling on a decision. They can also take advantage of design calculations to optimize systems and fabrication content to derive optimal layouts.
Working in BIM, mechanical engineers and detailers can convert a design intent model into a detailed fabrication model ready for shop drawings, procurement, ductwork manufacture, and installation.
BIM facilitates collaboration by aggregating all design components in a standard data model. This ensures that MPE designers always have reliable, up to date information from the other disciplines.
Using BIM and reality capture tools, MEP firms can work with confidence in the knowledge that they have accurate as built-data.