Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the digitization of the construction sector, utilizing three-dimensional BIM Objects (digital models of real-world products) for the design, construction and management of built assets.
The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is experiencing a technological revolution, the revolution of BIM! For the first time in a long time, high-tech change has come to the industry. It’s a much-welcomed change. As the name suggests, BIM is all about information. Information is managed throughout the life cycle of a built asset – from initial design all through to construction, maintenance and finally demolition. BIM, in essence, is a 3D database of intelligent data relating to a built asset (completed building, facility, or infrastructure).
Why should you incorporate BIM in your workflow? It’s simple really; successfully implemented BIM offers higher-quality design and construction projects and standardised information for more informed decision-making. Project information is hence more coordinated, reliable and reusable. This allows for higher productivity from the Design Team and sustainable cost-effective construction projects. The BIM workflow involves the use of a 3D parametric model linked to intelligent data to generate drawings, documentation and perspectives. The BIM Model allows for highly coordinated documentation and model geometry necessary for running analyses, such as daylighting studies, energy usage simulation, material take-offs, etc. The use of BIM in construction projects has numerous advantages, including great savings gained through waste reduction. BIM allows for virtual testing, where Structural Analysis, Energy Usage Analysis, Clash Detection, etc. are conducted to identify and resolve issues cost-effectively in the model rather than on-site.
“You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
BIM presents the added advantage of the Owner being able to visualize the project in 3D, and also have the site context with respect to the new project. Virtual Building allows for a seemingly unlimited number of interior and exterior visualization. BIM supports the transfer of project data into facility management software for use by building operators, and this is where significant value is added as the most significant cost of buildings is incurred during their operating life.
What Are the BIM Minimum Requirements?
A BIM model contains information on design, construction logistics, operation, maintenance, budgets, and schedules, which is used during and after construction. BIM has three key elements:
- Labelling of Documents and Data; should be consistent, utilizing conventional labelling.
- Storage and Handling of Information; involving a spatial database containing records of location and attributes of objects – in a BIM authoring software.
- Information Exchange (Also, Information Drops, Data Drops); BIM is used to generate necessary output for building construction and maintenance. Effective BIM is whereby information flows through the design, construction and operation process from briefing to facility management. This is achieved through interoperability, non-proprietary open standards e.g. IFC.
BIM Maturity Levels
Level of Development defines the reliability of information and the level of completeness to which a model element is developed, where completeness = information + geometry.
Figure by DerrickSteven Design
Level 0 – Use of 2D CAD files for production information
Level 1 – Use of both 2D and 3D information. The use of 3D software as a conceptual design tool and for visualization of finished projects for presentation. Use of BIM by only one party (Lonely BIM); Non-Collaborative.
Level 2 – Use of 3D information models by all members of the Integrated Team. Models need-not co-exist in a single model.