Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an essential process to facilitate the design, planning and construction of buildings. It is an efficient and collaborative process often used by engineers, architects, developers, manufacturers and other professional contractors to plan and design structures and buildings in a single 3D model.
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Brief introduction to Building Information Modeling
Building information models can be easily described as layered CAD drawings consisting of electrical, mechanical, infrastructure, plumbing, and architectural elements, plus many other layers forming a complete model of a building. building. Engineers, architects, or facility managers and other professionals can consult these layers to help understand how each part works with other layers or components of a building.
Building Information Modeling is not as effective if it is not provided with data. For each layer and system, there is an enormous amount of data about each layer and how it works, as well as in relation to other layers or components of the building model. This helps facility managers understand the critical role each layer plays in the building model.
Together, these layers represent a powerful digital replica of the building. This digital replica can be used for different purposes, such as planning preventive maintenance or budgeting required for building operations, as well as planning and managing building facilities.
How building information modeling works and its application in planning
Building Information Modeling software is often confused with AutoCAD by many people because the basis of BIM is a complete CAD model. Although CAD design programs are used with BIM software, there is still a distinction between the two, namely the intuitive capabilities of BIM.
BIM applies intelligent information to vital aspects of buildings and structures, while CAD can simply show the layout of the space to be remodeled. The BIM will also tell you about load-bearing walls, how electrical systems can be rerouted, or the hardware needed to plumb HVAC ducts in the space. Simply put, CAD can be described as static and BIM as dynamic, with information that can influence changes to CAD designs.
How is BIM information shared?
Information in a BIM model is shared through a mutually accessible online space called a Common Data Environment (CDE). The data collected is also called information models that can be used at all stages of the life of the building from its design to the operation of the building through renovations.
Benefits of using Building Information Modeling
The use of BIM enables better planning and design of buildings. BIM enables the visualization of all building components, such as mechanical and electrical systems, on a screen before the building foundation has even begun to be excavated. This available information enables interested personnel, such as engineers, architects, and facility managers, to better plan and design, as well as utilize more space and resources effectively and efficiently.
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Easy Design Changes allow shared users to create changes to the model. These changes are updated in real time and are available to anyone who accesses the model from different devices, enabling a collaborative workflow.
As all interested parties working on the project using BIM can use the completed model, this has been effective with supervisors, especially since they can have instant access to BIM using portable devices like tablets. Viewing a 3D model gives users much more information compared to viewing 2D plans.
With the help of Building Information Modeling (BIM), the amount of work to be done on site is reduced. Potential problems can be corrected before they even physically occur using clash detection. This ultimately saves material, labor and rework costs.
BIM enables project visualization, allowing more time for easy and accurate off-site prefabrication work. This in turn saves time and money through improved productivity in the manufacturing environment, which is off-site.
Disadvantages of BIM
The BIM software that needs to make the initial construction model will require a large initial investment in software that can only be run on powerful computers with large processors to process large volumes of data.
Besides the initial investment in software, staff will also need extensive training and education during this process. Trainees will need to understand how BIM software works for them to plan, design or schedule preventive maintenance etc. These trained staff would require office space which would also be acquired at cost.
Trust and good cooperation are essential to the success of a BIM project. The commercial agreement, normal bidding routine and project award with the prime contractor will need to be carefully managed against expectations and time for the BIM project to proceed as planned. Interested parties must be willing to share their knowledge and invest even before being awarded the project.
The future of BIM
Obviously, due to the many benefits of BIM, it is clear that it is here to stay. There is no doubt that the future of construction will be more collaborative as well as digital. BIM will become increasingly sophisticated but easier to use and understand.
Additionally, it is clear that worldwide there is a need to reduce the amount of waste generated during any type of construction due to area redesign or supply chain inefficiencies. Working collaboratively with the use of BIM greatly reduces the chance of errors, which can save costs and even lives.
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References and further reading
Becerik-Gerber, B. and Kensek, K., 2010. Building Information Modeling in Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Emerging Research Directions and Trends. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 136(3), pp.139-147. https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/%28ASCE%29EI.1943-5541.0000023
Lorek, S., 2022. What is BIM (Building Information Modeling). [online] buildable.trimble.com. Available on :
Monkey, S., 2022. Advantages and disadvantages of BIM in the construction industry. [online] Sotham Engineering. Available on :
Clifton, D., 2022. How does BIM work?. [online] SpaceIQ. Available on :