What is BIM (Building Information Management)?

Definition of BIM (Building Information Management)

“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.

The construction software for collaboration and information management

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

Sharing and utilizing the correct up-to-date data 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 – the 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.  With Tekla structural software you can work with the Open BIM approach and create constructible models for efficient model-based workflows.

Benefits of BIM for the whole construction workflow

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. Model-based workflow brings the opportunity to try out solutions in advance before building the structure on site: with a constructible model, the structure can be prototyped virtually. Project parties can understand and review the design, its accuracy and completeness more easily. It is also easier to visualize and evaluate the cost, time and other project parameters. BIM has gathered compliments for improved communication between project parties and generally better quality.

BIM is more than visual 3D

All construction software models and drawings representing a building are not BIM, for example, 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.