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What is Building Information Modeling?

Updated on December 29, 2013

What is BIM?

Definition of BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has multiple definitions. They all have common elements. The National BIM Standards Committee (NBIMS) has defined BIM as, “A digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. Building Information Modeling system is shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, existing from earliest conception to demolition” (Carmona and Irwin, 2007). Building Information Modeling throughout the years has become a popular subject in construction because BIM has its advantages for the contractors, helps to develop unity with different teams and in the end the owners are more satisfied.


BIM Cycle

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Benefits of BIM

The construction industry would not be keen on using BIM if it did not in some way help them in the building process. They need to receive the benefits of BIM. One contractor has said, “Once you figure out the BIM process, there is no faster, cheaper, more thorough way to build a building,” (Pontikes, 2007). According to Pontikes, BIM has a lot of advantages. He is not the only one that has seen these advantages. There are many other contractors that have seen BIM enhance their projects. Paul Robertson, a contractor, has said that BIM has many competitive advantages. Robertson says that BIM increases speed of delivery, better coordination, decreased costs, greater productivity, higher-quality work, new revenue and business opportunities (2008). These competitive advantages are important and will only become more important as technology improves. This is not a small list of advantages. Of course there are others too. For contractors, speed, coordination, cost and quality are important. “With today’s technology, owners and facility managers can see their building in operation even before construction begins” (Cannistraro and Palange, 2008). This is amazing. Building Information Modeling makes it easy to make sure you are getting the desired outcome. “Current modeling software includes clash detection, ensuring 100% accuracy for all 3D models” (Cannistraro and Palange, 2008). As we can see, BIM will only continue to improve and the benefits will increase in number. These advantages will enhance construction companies and help them move up in the industry. When a company is well known and has a good reputation, it is a lot easier to get more jobs and to make more money. Building Information Modeling seems to be a good tool to help any construction company become more reputable.

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BIM Brings Unity

“The key to any successful project is clear, concise understanding between architects, engineers, construction professionals, facility managers, and owners” (Autodesk, 2010). Unity in a project will definitely help different construction companies move to the top. If they are all able to work together well, everything will go smoother and things will turn out according to plan. Building Information Modeling can do this for the construction industry. A good example is Pontikes project. His team had several meetings during a project.

In a meeting six months after the project’s completion, the consensus among team members was that BIM made for a better project experience. Communication was faster, the project ran more smoothly, errors were discovered before making it onto the job site (there were zero change orders), construction cost estimates were more accurate, and the paperless process produced considerably less waste, according to the team. (Carmona and Irwin, 2007)

Building Information Modeling brings together the different teams in a project. From this team’s experience, we can conclude that BIM can do the same for all projects if used correctly. Everyone is on the same page when BIM is used. It makes it easier because the changes that are made are made electronically and everyone will be able to see the changes. It makes the design process collaborative (Carmona and Irwin, 2007). It is amazing to see the difference that BIM can make in a project. It brings the teams together. When united with teammates, a person tends to work harder and the quality of the work is usually better. This has been proven in team sports. Construction in many ways is a team sport. It takes all of the teams working together to finish the project and to do it well.

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Why is the Owner Happy?

- An owner will have 3D plans of the building.

- Can be used as a database.

- A lot of money can be saved using BIM.

With BIM the Owner can be Happy

Building Information Modeling helps the builders in lots of different ways. It also gives a great product to the owners. After the construction teams are done building, they turn over the finished product to the owner. The owner needs to be happy. They need to get the best possible product from their builders. Building Information Modeling will help the builders give the best to their clients. There are lots of things that will help this great product. After using BIM, the owners and the construction company will have the 3D plans of the building. This makes it easier for maintenance and maintaining the building in good condition. “Building Information Modeling can be used as a database throughout the life of the building” (Carmona and Irwin, 2007). In other words, you can look back to see exactly what you need in order to keep the building in top condition. This comes in handy during the life of the building, especially after many years. With BIM, the owner will always be able to see exactly what is needed to replace a part or fix something. It also makes adding on easy at any time. Besides this, the cost savings is huge. It is one of the greatest benefits of using BIM. The cost savings goes to the owner (Carmona and Irwin, 2007). The owner cannot lose when BIM is used in building. It is an integrated process that improves project understanding and it allows for predictable outcomes (Autodesk, 2010). With these predictable outcomes, the owner will be able to know exactly what he is going to get out of the project. It is desirable to have that guarantee from your builder before you start.

Conclusion

Building Information Modeling is a concept that keeps improving as the years pass. It has a lot of advantages to everyone that is involved with the project: money is saved; the quality of the project increases; there is more unity with the team members; the owner will come out on top and he will be happy; maintenance will be an easier process. Building Information Modeling is a technology that will in some way or another make people happy.

3D Plans

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References

Autodesk. (2010). About bim. Retrieved from http://usa.autodesk.com/company/building-information-modeling/experience-bim

Cannistaro Jr, J., & Palange, T. (2008, November 25). Strengthening the “i” in bim. ENR, Retrieved from http://enr.construction.com/opinions/viewPoint/2008/1125-StrengtheningBIM.asp

Carmona, J., & Irwin, K. (2007, October). Bim: who, what, how and why. Building Operating Management, Retrieved from http://www.facilitiesnet.com/software/article/BIM-Who-What-How-and-Why—7546

Robertson, P. (2008, October 28). Why building information modeling?. Reed Construction Data, Retrieved from http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/articles/reed/why-building-information-modeling/

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