Back to basics: BIM

Back to basics: BIM

What is BIM?

BIM quite simply stands for Building Information Modelling. It involves a 3D virtual model of an object (‘BIM Object’) that forms part of the construction of a building, for example Tradeline Standard C Stud. This may sound like your normal CAD model; however BIM is more intelligent than that.

BIM is more than a 3D model

Not only is BIM a virtual representation of a building, but a digital process of a building’s life, from design and construction to the end user and facility management. Behind the model sits data about each object. For example if a contractor viewed the BIM model of a planned new office block, they’d be able to identify that Tradeline Standard C Stud has been used, along with the nominal dimensions and the technical data about that metal stud. However the level of data doesn’t stop there, for the end user and the on-going maintenance of the building, information such as the installation date, the warranty on the item and the life expectancy of the metal stud is also available.

What are the advantages to using BIM?

Having such high levels of data available behind a digital model, accessible to everyone working on the construction of a building, improves the work-flow and approval cycles between different stakeholders. Along with a reduction in wastage, as the data behind each model gives you an accurate amount of materials needed and allows you to find problems with the design and build before work begins on site. This reduces time and costs whilst also improving safety measures. This transparency provides full control of the materials used within the build and peace of mind that a project is complete on time and to budget.

2016 Government requirements

Part of the government’s strategy to make the construction industry fully collaborative includes all public sector buildings to be built using BIM Level 2 or higher by April 2016.

  • Level 0 – 2D CAD drafting
  • Level 1 – 3D concept work and 2D CAD drafting
  • Level 2 – 3D CAD Models with BIM objects in an IFC (Industry Foundation Class) file format. Objects built as an IFC can be used across different software platforms allowing for collaborative access to the object data
  • Level 3 – Also known as ‘Open BIM’ has a government target of 2019 and is the idea of a single shared BIM model which is held centrally and accessible by all

Beyond Level 3 looks at 4D models, taking into consideration, time, costs and facility management.

For more information visit the BIM Task Group, a government initiative set-up to support delivering the objectives of the Government’s Construction Strategy.