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What is BIM?

Building Information Modeling or Building Information Management (BIM) makes use of a 3D building model in a collaborative process between architects, engineers, contractors, developers, and other construction professionals to plan, design, manage, and coordinate a building and infrastructure.

Building information modeling covers geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components (for example manufacturers’ details). BIM can be used to demonstrate the entire building life cycle including the processes of construction and facility operation. Quantities and shared properties of materials can easily be extracted. Scopes of work can be isolated and defined. Systems, assemblies, and sequences are able to be shown in a relative scale with the entire facility or group of facilities.

The interoperability requirements of construction documents include the drawings, procurement details, environmental conditions, submittal processes and other specifications for building quality. It is anticipated by proponents that BIM can be utilized to bridge the information loss associated with handing a project from design team, to construction team and to building owner/operator, by allowing each group to add to and reference back to all information they acquire during their period of contribution the BIM model. For example, a building owner may find evidence of a leak in his building. Rather than exploring the physical building, he may turn to his BIM and see that a water valve is located in the suspect location. He could also have in the model the specific valve size, manufacturer, part number, and any other information ever researched in the past, pending adequate computing power.

BIM can greatly decrease errors made by design team members and the construction team (Contractors and Subcontractors) by allowing the use of conflict detection where the computer actually informs team members about parts of the building in conflict or clashing, and through detailed computer visualization of each part in relation to the total building. As computers and software become more capable of handling more building information, this will become even more pronounced than it is in current design and construction projects. This error reduction is a great part of cost savings realized by all members of a project.

BIM is currently employed by professionals on all building types from the simplest warehouse to many of the most complex new buildings, BIM design method is currently young in its development.

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