BIM, or Building Information Modelling, is all the rage of the building and construction industry in recent times. So what is it, and how will it improve the industry as a whole? Well, firstly, let’s clarify exactly what BIM is. Some people will say it’s a type of software, others say it’s a form of 3D models for buildings, and others again will say it’s a process to collate and represent all of the information surrounding a structure. In a way, it is all of these things and more.
What does it mean in layman’s terms?
BIM begins with a 3D model representation of a structure; however, this model is much more than geometric shapes with textures digitally imposed over it for effect. A BIM model is actually comprised of the virtual equivalents of the physical building components themselves. This means that these elements all possess the physical and logical characteristics of their very real counterparts. All in all, these intelligent elements are a digital prototype of every physical element that makes up the building, including columns, walls, doors, windows, stairs, the floor, ceiling and everything in between.
While such models have been around for a little while now, with the emergence of smartphones and other mobile devices, the software has expanded to a broader circle of users. Now builders, owners, engineers, designers, architects and clients alike, can make the most of BIM for their building project.
Benefits of using BIM
The full advantage of using a BIM model is expansive, but the main benefits are as follows:
Building simulation: as all BIM models possess extensive architectural and building data, including engineering disciplines such as ducts and pipes, load-bearing structures, and even sustainability data, building characteristics can be simulated in advance. This will identify any limitations, restrictions and other such setbacks, which would otherwise be immeasurably expensive if discovered during the building process.
3D visualisation: perhaps the most trivial benefit of BIM models (but no less critical) is the ability to create high-quality, intensely detailed 3D models that can help not only in the design and development process, but also when it comes to selling your design to clients, or the public.
Building operation: such models are beneficial throughout the building lifecycle, allowing you to more accurately estimate material and time requirements, saving you both time and money in the process.
Data management: BIM contains information that is beneficial for determining necessary manpower, coordinating projects and scheduling information among a myriad of administrative functions.
It is needless to say, that as technology continues to advance, we will be seeing more and more of Building Information Software being used in the industry.