What is BIM?

“With BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology, one or more accurate virtual models of a building are constructed digitally. They support design through its phases, allowing better analysis and control than manual processes. When completed, these computer-generated models contain precise geometry and data needed to support the construction, fabrication, and procurement activities through which the building is realized.”

This definition of Building Information Modeling in the Handbook of BIM (Eastman, Teicholz, Sacks & Liston 2011) encompasses a lot starting from a technology to embracing the whole construction process.

Collaboration and information management

At Tekla, we think that the I like Information in BIM is an extremely significant letter. In the US, the National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS-US™) Project Committee sees Building Information Models as shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, while collaboration of stakeholders is another basic feature.

Working with others can be a pain point in a project. According to the NBIMS-US™ Project Committee, “Buildings cost more than they should to design, build and sustain and they take too long to deliver. We must do a better job of collaborating between the many stakeholders involved in the building process.” In the US, a study by NIST shows that lack of interoperability causes owners an additional cost of 15.8 billion dollars every year. The construction industry could definitely benefit from better communication and information management.   

BIM technology

BIM means automation of the use of information – creation of information became automated already when CAD arrived. From software, BIM asks for accuracy and capability to handle lots of information, and in practice also compatibility with other solutions as otherwise achieving a collaborative workflow would be challenging at best. Tekla has chosen Open BIM and constructable models as we want to make good BIM workflows achievable for our customers.

Why BIM?

The users list many benefits of BIM. Companies that utilize BIM, like Skanska and Barton Malow, have reported benefits for scheduling, estimation and risk analysis, more collaborative processes and better facility management. BIM also brings the opportunity to try out solutions in advance before building the structure on site: with a constructable model, the structure can be prototyped virtually. Project parties can understand and review the design more easily, which helps guarantee its accuracy and completeness, and visualize and evaluate alternatives in terms of cost and other project parameters. BIM has gathered compliments for improved communication between project parties and generally better quality.

BIM is not everywhere

All models representing a building are not BIM, for example those models that contain only visual 3D data but no object attributes, or those that allow changes to dimensions in one view but do not automatically reflect those changes in other views. These examples miss the above-mentioned data for supporting the construction, fabrication, and procurement.