Building Information Modelling or BIM has no comparison with its big data: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it... and even fewer do it right without finding an appropriate comparison to its effect.
So, what is BIM? BIM stands for several related but slightly different concepts: Building Information Management (the overall process), Building Information Modelling (the modelling process) or Building Information Model (the 3D digital image of the building).
According to Wikipedia, BIM is “a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places.”
To be more specific, one can say that at the core of the BIM there is the 3D digital model of the building. This model is more than just geometry and textures cast over it for visualisation. A BIM model consists of the virtual equivalents of the actual building parts and pieces used to build a building. These parts have all the characteristics of their real counterparts. These intelligent elements are the digital prototype of the physical building elements such as walls, columns, windows, doors, ducts... that allow to simulate the building and then understand its behaviour in a computer environment long before the actual construction starts.
The BIM process doesn’t limit itself to a 3D digital visualisation of the building. Indeed, it adds new dimensions to a building project:
Time (4D, scheduling)
Cost (5D, budgeting)
Lifecycle management (6D, facility management).
The BIM process possesses its own language to link its Level of Details (LOD) phases to the regular building life cycle process. Autodesk’s sustainability workshop website provides a good summary of the building project phases and levels of development.
This new building methodology and the new tools it requires also mean that the BIM has a substantial impact on the organisation and the skills required to lead and execute building design projects. For instance; data management, collaborative work, and stakeholders coordination are key to the success of a BIM project.
Finally, BIM can somehow be compared with the design processes, tools and organisations that the automotive and aerospace industries have been using for decades.
In conclusion, the benefits of the BIM and the cost savings it generates has triggered its deployment across several major markets: US, UK, a growing