BIM 101: All You Need to Know

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling and it is a highly cooperative process that lets multiple professionals like engineers, architects and construction managers combine their expertise when it comes to all aspects of a building like planning, designing and constructing in one 3D model.

The collaboration can even continue to both the management and operation of the building using the same data that owners collect. Even after construction of the building the owners can allow stakeholders to take decisions based on the data and outcome derived from the model.

The Journey

Before such technology was developed building, construction relied on drawings and blueprints that had detailed layout of the all the information required. This was a 2D approach and it often made it difficult for engineers to visualize the information and requirements.

From the 2D models we later moved on to CAD which stand for Computer Aided Design and this helped give life to those 2D models and convert them into 3D models instead. However nowadays BIM is the industry standard and this is much more than a CAD model.

Objects in BIM

The components or the elements that make up a BIM model is known as BIM objects. These are very data heavy, intelligent and have geometry. If you change a single object, the software will automatically update the model which will show the change. This makes BIM management much easier. This also helps with the collaboration because the model will remain coordinated and consistent throughout the entire journey.

The Information in BIM

BIM is a collaborative process as mentioned earlier and refer to all the parties that take part in the lifecycle of a build asset. However, the real power behind BIM is in the “I”. The “I” stand for information and all the information from the birth of an idea to the completion is stored. The information isn’t just stored but it is also actionable.

This information can be used to provide analysis, improve accuracy, take a decision, share knowledge and even help with renovations later on.

This is possible because the data is stored in a common space known as the CDE(common data environment) in a collective model call the information model.

This information model is what is used to accomplish all of the tasks mentioned above.

BIM Levels

Various projects can have different BIM levels and each level will generally refer to a set of criteria that determine a specific level of maturity. In the sense that these levels are used to show how much and how effectively the data is being managed and shared.

The first BIM level is 0 and then it goes into 4D, 5D and nowadays even 6D.

Level 0 BIM: This level has no collaboration at all. 2D CAD models are equivalent to level 0 BIM.

Level 1 BIM: At level 1 you evolve to 3D CAD models but only for concept work. The drafting production information and most of the other documents are still in the 2D phase.

There is some level of information share using the CDE by the contractor.

Level 2 BIM: The real collaboration starts in this level. Level 2 BIM refers to all members using 3D CAD models but not exactly the same model.

Level 3 BIM: Collaboration is fully fledged out in this level of BIM. Instead of individual 3D models, all members of the team are working on a single 3D model.

BIM is definitely here to stay with its clear benefits. Most of the organizations in the construction industry are gradually evolving through the levels of BIM.