Building Information Modelling (BIM)


How BIM is changing the construction industry

By Peter Ray Allison

Sustainability Problem:

The sustainability goal is to modernize the construction industry, with the aim of reducing costs in the construction and operation of new buildings. The employment of BIM is to create a more efficient construction sector.

Technology Stakeholders:

Construction value chain: suppliers of building materials, chemicals and construction equipment; contractors; engineering, architecture and planning firms; project owners and developers, academics, and leaders from government, civil society, and industry organizations. Governments not only have an impact on the industry via regulation but also act as the main procurer of most infrastructure projects.


BIM is a new form of information processing and collaboration tool, with data embedded within the model. Each discipline or organization creates its own model, and these are subsequently amalgamated to provide a combined view of the entire project.

To document information, data set is added directly to the model, specifying materials, size, functions and associated information.

To ensure all parties are working from a common basis, a document of understanding is issued at the start of a BIM project. Such a document details the tools that are to be used, methodologies for information interchange, and the level of detail required for each stage of project delivery.

Through software integration, CAD packages, such as Revit and VectorWorks, harness BIM functionality and information management within the model.

The implementation of BIM requires two roles for the purposes of project management:

  • Information manager: institutes BIM throughout the project and ensures that all people involved are following the established protocols.
  • BIM model manager: ensures all the participants’ models are coherently shared and coordinated across the project.

From the outset, stakeholders, especially of large and complex construction projects, give prominence to project planning and scoping, by conducting sophisticated needs assessments and feasibility analyses.

The early phase of BIM should incorporate the knowledge of all companies along the value chain and later on the asset’s operator, owner and maintenance firms.

Essentially, BIM places information management and data exchange at the heart of the design process. It is subject to quality assurance to ensure the data is correct and appropriate. This review process usually takes two forms:

  • Virtual design reviews: Performed throughout the design process, where the design team regularly shares its work to ensure the design is fully coordinated.
  • Formal design team reviews: The model is reviewed as a whole. Comments are electronically recorded within the model environment, thus ensuring that feedback remains connected while preserving a robust audit trail.

Benefits of the Technology:

BIM stresses collaboration, a holistic view of project management and information sharing.

BIM facilitates many technologies: the building of a bridge, for example, can be greatly facilitated by combining robotics and 3D printing via a parametrically designed 3D model.

BIM creates a global industry that is more productive and cost-effective, and increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable.

BIM offers cost reduction and quality improvement.

On-site users can interact with BIM by using hand-held devices, such as tablets, providing the team with real time on-site information.

Contractors contribute to the BIM model by attaching copies of the warranty documents to the appropriate components within the model.

Contractors can confirm the as-built construction of the project, thus preserving the audit trail long after the project is complete.










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