BIM in construction

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing data about the building, during its life cycle. Typically BIM uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in the design and construction stages.


Building information modeling covers geometry, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components. BIM data can be used to illustrate the entire building life cycle, from cradle to cradle; quantities and properties of materials can be extracted easily and the scope of works can be easily defined. Furthermore systems, assemblies and sequences can be shown in a relative scale to each other and relative to the entire project.

BIM goes far beyond simply switching to new software. It requires changes to the definition of traditional architectural phases and far more data sharing than architects and engineers are used to. It is able to achieve these improvements by modeling representations of actual parts and pieces being used in the construction process, representing a major shift from traditional computer aided design.

The interoperability of the model requires that drawings, master building specifications, standards, regulations, manufacturer product specifications, cost and procurement details, environmental conditions, (emissions data) and submittal processes all work together. The whole process is about different information resources feeding into the documentation, which then becomes a necessary part of the model.

BIM is far more than 3D CAD modeling; it is a rich information source containing far more than geometric information. Software is the interface to a building information model; rich information content is its body and soul.

Proponents anticipate that managed BIM will reduce the information loss associated with handing a project from design team, to construction team and to building owner/operator, by allowing each group to add to, and reference back to, all information they use/create during their period of contribution to the BIM model.

How does BIM work?

A BIM system can, of course, produce drawings but is no longer based on lines, shapes and text boxes but on data sets that describe objects virtually, in the same way that they will be handled physically. However, the real difference is in the true interoperability and the capability for proper integration, allowing the inputs of the various professionals and specialist to come together in the Building Information Model.

‘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.’

Benefits of BIM

Managing building information using a building information model can lead to substantial cost savings, from design and construction through to maintenance.

The model saves time and waste on site, and extra coordination checks are largely unnecessary; the information generated from the model will lead to fewer errors on site caused by inaccurate and uncoordinated information.

When all members of the construction team work on the same model, from early design through to completion, changes are automatically coordinated across the project and information generated is therefore of high quality.

Information Technology is an integral part of today’s commerce, and transferring information from designers to the producers/constructors is an example where, with the availability of modeling software, the tools are in place. We simply need to understand the process for using them.

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