Nowadays a lot of people outside the construction industry and profession are interested to learn what BIM really is and how it works. There are a lot of ways in which BIM can be explained, but in this article, we will try to explain it in the most simple and comprehensible way possible.
Some say BIM is a type of software, others say BIM is a 3D model of the building, the third say it is a set of all construction data and documents that have been organized, but in reality, BIM is all that, and even more!
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the foundation of all digital transformation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.
It is a highly collaborative process that allows architects, engineers, real estate developers, contractors, manufacturers, and other construction professionals to plan, design, and construct a structure or building within one 3D model. BIM is a way of working together.
BIM can also include the process of operation and management of buildings using data that structure owners have access to (hence the Building Information Management). This data allows governments, municipalities, and property managers to make informed decisions based on information derived from the model — even after the building is constructed.
To put it even more simply, BIM is used for creating and managing data during the design, construction, and operations process. It allows designers to create 3D models – a digital representation of both the physical and functional characteristics of a structure (this structure can be an office building, hospital, road, or bridge).
But do not be confused: not every 3D model is a BIM model! The BIM model is a three-dimensional model consisting of objects, which contain specific information related to relationships, and which describe structure. Surface-based models (e.g., SketchUp), on entities (e.g.,3D AutoCAD), geometric models (e.g., Autodesk VIZ), and 3D models not intended for construction and architectural design (SolidWorks, Inventor) are not BIM models.
BIM integrates broad and complete data to create in-depth digital representations that are managed in an open cloud platform for real-time collaboration. Some of the many advantages of using BIM are greater visibility, better decision-making, more sustainable options, and cost-savings on AEC projects.
BIM Software, such as Revit, keeps track of all entities in a database, and in such a way, computer programs can categorize and organize information.
How does BIM work?
BIM works through the creation of a database that is IFC compatible. IFC, or Industry Foundation Classes, is a standard for open BIM data exchange. It is used for transferring model data between various BIM software packages. Since this system is not controlled by any vendor, independence and flexibility enable a platform that is based on IFC to be consistent throughout a range of software and various companies. The importance of IFC reflects in maintaining a similarity between building models and software programs.
The Building Information Model used in Revit is managed by XML, known as Extensible Markup Language – a computer scripting language that can be understood by both people and computers, and that was designed to store and transport data.
A database element is created every time a building element is used, which results in lists of the building elements that are being created more easily than the drawings are created. A range of attributes of the objects are stored, and attributes for each object can even be defined.
This 3D information can therefore be ‘transcribed’ into 2D information so that drawings can be printed for approval and the process of construction.
This way drawings are more accurate and precise, which is a superb thing for both architect and the client. When talking about consultants, on the other hand, since they are working with a 3D model, it is very crucial for them to be able to understand the implications of the variety of design decisions that they will need to make and readily evaluate their work to see if there are some mismatches and conflicts with the architects.
While no one can deny the true complexity of the concept of BIM and the challenges people who are new to it are facing when it comes to understanding it, the good thing is that BIM is getting easier to understand and more accessible thanks to its role in designing and managing smarter buildings. BIM becomes more essential as infrastructure becomes more complex. In times when smart buildings are rising in popularity, facility managers must know how to manage them properly. Understanding BIM will help them in that! This approach may provide complete structure and scheme for buildings and the systems that regulate them, making the I in BIM the embodiment of information-driven decision-making.
It can be concluded that the biggest advantage of BIM is the ability to easily connect, process, and modify much information, which is why it is easy to see more options in the same model until the most optimal solution is reached. In this way, among other things, the amount of material needed for the construction and price of the project can easily and very precisely be measured.
Ultimately, it can be said that BIM is a multidimensional technology that fully simulates the life cycle of the project and therefore provides insight into the same.