Building information modeling
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Building information modeling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. The resulting building information models become shared knowledge resources to support decision-making about a facility from earliest conceptual stages, through design and construction, through its operational life and eventual demolition.
Origins of BIM
The concept of BIM has existed since the 1970s. The term Building Information Model first appeared in a paper by van Nederveen et al. However, the terms Building Information Model and Building Information Modeling (including the acronym "BIM") had not been popularly used until Autodesk released the white paper entitled "Building Information Modeling". Jerry Laiserin helped popularize and standardize the term as a common name for the digital representation of the building process as then offered under differing terminology by Graphisoft as "Virtual Building", Bentley Systems as "Integrated Project Models", and by Autodesk or Vectorworks as "Building Information Modeling" to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. According to Laiserin and others, the first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, in its debut in 1987.
The National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee has the following definition:
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.
Traditional building design was largely reliant upon two-dimensional drawings (plans, elevations, sections, etc.). Building information modeling extends this beyond 3-D, augmenting the three primary spatial dimensions (width, height and depth) with time as the fourth dimension and cost as the fifth. BIM therefore covers more than just geometry. It also covers spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components (for example manufacturers' details).
BIM involves representing a design as combinations of "objects" – vague and undefined, generic or product-specific, solid shapes or void-space oriented (like the shape of a room), that carry their geometry, relations and attributes. BIM design tools allow extraction of different views from a building model for drawing production and other uses. These different views are automatically consistent, being based on a single definition of each object instance. BIM software also defines objects parametrically; that is, the objects are defined as parameters and relations to other objects, so that if a related object is amended, dependent ones will automatically also change. Each model element can carry attributes for selecting and ordering them automatically, providing cost estimates and well as material tracking and ordering.
For the professionals involved in a project, BIM enables a virtual information model to be handed from the design team (architects, surveyors, civil, structural and building services engineers, etc.) to the main contractor and subcontractors and then on to the owner/operator; each professional adds discipline-specific data to the single shared model. This reduces information losses that traditionally occurred when a new team takes 'ownership' of the project, and provides more extensive information to owners of complex structures.
BIM throughout the project life-cycle
Use of BIM goes beyond the planning and design phase of the project, extending throughout the building life cycle, supporting processes including cost management, construction management, project management and facility operation.
Management of Building Information Models
Building Information Models span the whole concept-to-occupation time-span. To ensure efficient management of information processes throughout this span, a BIM manager (also sometimes defined as a virtual design-to-construction, VDC, project manager - VDCPM) might be appointed. The BIM manager is retained by a design build team on the client's behalf from the pre-design phase onwards to develop and to track the object-oriented BIM against predicted and measured performance objectives, supporting multi-disciplinary building information models that drive analysis, schedules, take-off and logistics. Companies are also now considering developing BIMs in various levels of detail, since depending on the application of BIM, more or less detail is needed, and there is varying modeling effort associated with generating building information models at different levels of detail.
BIM in construction management
Participants in the building process are constantly challenged to deliver successful projects despite tight budgets, limited manpower, accelerated schedules, and limited or conflicting information. The significant disciplines such as architectural, structural and MEP designs should be well coordinated, as two things can’t take the same place. Building Information Modeling aids in collision detection at the initial stage, identifying the exact location of discrepancies.
The BIM concept envisages virtual construction of a facility prior to its actual physical construction, in order to reduce uncertainty, improve safety, work out problems, and simulate and analyze potential impacts. Sub-contractors from every trade can input critical information into the model before beginning construction, with opportunities to pre-fabricate or pre-assemble some systems off-site. Waste can be minimised on-site and products delivered on a just-in-time basis rather than being stock-piled on-site.
Quantities and shared properties of materials can be extracted easily. Scopes of work can be isolated and defined. Systems, assemblies and sequences can be shown in a relative scale with the entire facility or group of facilities. BIM also prevents errors by enabling conflict or 'clash detection' whereby the computer model visually highlights to the team where parts of the building (e.g.: structural frame and building services pipes or ducts) may wrongly intersect.
BIM in facility operation
BIM can 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 to the BIM model. This can yield benefits to the facility owner or operator.
For example, a building owner may find evidence of a leak in his building. Rather than exploring the physical building, he may turn to the model 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. Such problems were initially addressed by Leite and Akinci when developing a vulnerability representation of facility contents and threats for supporting the identification of vulnerabilities in building emergencies.
Dynamic information about the building, such as sensor measurements and control signals from the building systems, can also be incorporated within BIM to support analysis of building operation and maintenance.
International BIM developments
buildingSmart Hong Kong was inaugurated in Hong Kong SAR on 25 April 2013 at the Mira Hotel, Kowloon. It marks the new era of promotion and education of building information modelling in the Hong Kong SAR. www.buildingsmart.org.hk
The Iran Building Information Modeling Association (IBIMA) (Anjoman Peykare Bandi Jame Sazeha) shares knowledge resources to support construction engineering management decision-making. It was founded in 2012 by professional engineers from five universities in Iran, including the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Amirkabir University of Technology.
In India BIM is also known as VDC: virtual design and construction (VDC). India is an emerging market with an expanding construction market and huge potential for large scale residential and commercial development (because of population and economical growth). It has many qualified, trained and experienced BIM professionals who are implementing this technology in Indian construction projects and also assisting teams in the USA, Australia, UK, Middle East, Singapore and North Africa to design and deliver construction projects using BIM.
Small BIM-related seminars and independent BIM effort existed in South Korea even in the 1990s. However, it was not until late 2000s that the Korean industry paid attention to BIM. The first industry-level BIM conference was held in April, 2008, after which, BIM has been spread very rapidly. Since 2010, the Korean government has been gradually increasing the scope of BIM-mandated projects. McGraw Hill published a detailed report in 2012 on the status of BIM adoption and implementation in South Korea.
In a number of European countries, several bodies are pushing for a more integrated adoption of BIM standards, in order to improve software interoperability and cooperation among actors of the building industry.
On 1 November 2011, the Rijksgebouwendienst, the agency within the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment that manages government buildings, introduced the RGD BIMnorm, which it updated on 1 July 2012.
In the UK, the Construction Project Information Committee (CPIC), responsible for providing best practice guidance on construction production information and formed by representatives of major UK industry institutions, has produced a similar definition to that produced by the US National BIM Standard Project Committee. This was proposed to ensure an agreed starting point, as different interpretations of the term were hampering adoption.
In May 2011 UK Government Chief Construction Adviser Paul Morrell called for BIM adoption on UK government construction projects of £5million and over. Morrell also told construction professionals to adopt BIM or be "Betamaxed out". In June 2011 the UK government published its BIM strategy, announcing its intention to require collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016. Initially, compliance will require building data to be delivered in a vendor-neutral 'COBie' format, thus overcoming the limited interoperability of BIM software suites available on the market. The UK Government BIM Task Group website gives a clear message to the whole supply chain about the government's BIM programme and requirements.
National Building Specification (NBS), owned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), publishes research into BIM adoption in the UK. There have now been three annual surveys. The latest report, published in March 2013 from a survey of 1,350 UK construction professionals, reveals, among other findings, that BIM adoption amongst UK construction professionals has increased from 13% in 2011 to 39% in 2013.
Several UK-based websites host BIM objects, including those of many construction product manufacturers. In March 2012, NBS launched the National BIM Library, featuring a range of generic and proprietary construction elements suitable for BIM.
The Institute for BIM in Canada (IBC) facilitates the coordinated use of BIM in the design, construction and management of the Canadian built environment. Its founding partner organizations represent industry sectors interested in seeing BIM implemented in a way, and at a pace, that enables the primary stakeholders to understand their roles and responsibilities and to assess their capacity to participate in this process. IBC’s priorities include an awareness program, a practice manual, a bibliography of useful resources, and a full environmental scan/assessment on the use of BIM in Canada and internationally.
The voice of businesses using BIM in Canada is the Canada BIM Council. Founded in November 2008 by Derek Smith (president of S3AEC Consulting Ltd of London, ON), the council was quickly populated by users of BIM and early adopters of the process nationwide. Canada BIM Council, also known as CanBIM, became an incorporated entity in late 2009 and moved swiftly to sign a joint protocol with its US counterpart. Founding members of the Council include companies such as Ellis-Don and PCL, HIP Architects, Halsall and Scott Construction.
United States of America
The Associated General Contractors of America and US contracting firms have developed various working definitions of BIM that describe it generally as:
- an object-oriented building development tool that utilizes 5-D modeling concepts, information technology and software interoperability to design, construct and operate a building project, as well as communicate its details.
Although the concept of BIM and relevant processes are being explored by contractors, architects and developers alike, the term itself has been questioned and debated with alternatives including Virtual Building Environment (VBE) and virtual design and construction (VDC) also considered.
BIM is seen to be closely related to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) where the primary motive is to bring the teams together early on in the project. A full implementation of BIM also requires the project teams to collaborate from the inception stage and formulate model sharing and ownership contract documents.
The American Institute of Architects has defined BIM as "a model-based technology linked with a database of project information", and this reflects the general reliance on database technology as the foundation. In the future, structured text documents such as specifications may be able to be searched and linked to regional, national, and international standards.
Non-proprietary or open BIM standards
BIM is often associated with Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) and aecXML - data structures for representing information. IFCs have been developed by buildingSMART (the former International Alliance for Interoperability), as a neutral, non-proprietary or open standard for sharing BIM data among different software applications (some proprietary data structures have been developed by CAD vendors incorporating BIM into their software).
Poor software interoperability has long been regarded as an obstacle to industry efficiency in general and to BIM adoption in particular. In August 2004 the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a report which conservatively estimated that $15.8 billion was lost annually by the U.S. capital facilities industry due to inadequate interoperability arising from "the highly fragmented nature of the industry, the industry’s continued paperbased business practices, a lack of standardization, and inconsistent technology adoption among stakeholders".
An early example of a nationally approved BIM standard is the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)-approved CIS/2 standard, a non-proprietary standard with its roots in the UK.
There have been attempts at creating a BIM for older, pre-existing facilities. They generally reference key metrics such as the Facility Condition Index (FCI). The validity of these models will need to be monitored over time, because trying to model a building constructed in, say 1927, requires numerous assumptions about design standards, building codes, construction methods, materials, etc., and therefore is far more complex than building a BIM at time of initial design.
Anticipated future potential
BIM is a relatively new technology in an industry typically slow to adopt change. Yet many early adopters are confident that BIM will grow to play an even more crucial role in building documentation.
Proponents claim that BIM offers:
- Improved visualization
- Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information
- Increased coordination of construction documents
- Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required for estimation and tendering
- Increased speed of delivery
- Reduced costs
Green Building XML (gbXML) is an emerging schema, a subset of the Building Information Modeling efforts, focused on green building design and operation. gbXML is used as input in several energy simulation engines. But with the development of modern computer technology, a large number of building energy simulation tools are available on the market. When choosing which simulation tool to use in a project, the user must consider the tool's accuracy and reliability, considering the building information they have at hand, which will serve as input for the tool. Yezioro, Dong and Leite developed an artificial intelligence approach towards assessing building performance simulation results and found that more detailed simulation tools have the best simulation performance in terms of heating and cooling electricity consumption within 3% of mean absolute error.
US NIST Cloud Computing Security Architectures might be used by emerging enterprises to geo-spatially (geographically) connect individuals (corporations) with actionable building information data. These NIST architecture models define compute environments wherein private (securities available only to user), public (securities open to all in-network users), community (securities offered by a project leader) and hybrid (securities offered by a corporation) objects (folders and files) can be previewed, linked, opened, printed, exported, edited, saved, renamed, copied and deleted) and exchanged (uploaded to another network or downloaded from another network).
Concepts and methods
- 3D BIM
- 4D BIM
- 5D BIM
- 6D BIM
- Architectural engineering
- BIM Wash
- Construction management
- Design computing
- Integrated Project Delivery
- Virtual Design and Construction
- Whole Building Design Guide
- Eastman, Chuck, Teicholz, Paul, Sacks, Rafael and Liston, Kathleen (2008). BIM Handbook: A Guide to Building Information Modeling for Owners, Managers, Designers, Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-18528-5
- Hardin, Brad (2009). BIM and Construction Management: Proven Tools, Methods and Workflows, Sybex. ISBN 978-0-470-40235-1
- Jernigan, Finith (2007). BIG BIM little bim, 4Site Press. ISBN 978-0-9795699-0-6
- Kiziltas, Semiha, Leite, Fernanda, Akinci, Burcu, and Lipman, Robert (2009). “Interoperable Methodologies and Techniques in CAD”, CAD and GIS Integration, Auerbach Publications. ISBN 978-1-4200-6805-4
- Kymmell, Willem (2008). Building Information Modeling: Planning and Managing Construction Projects with 4D CAD and Simulations, McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-149453-3
- Krygiel, Eddy and Nies, Brad (2008). Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling, Sybex. ISBN 978-0-470-23960-5
- Lévy, François (2011). BIM in Small-Scale Sustainable Design, Wiley. ISBN 978-0470590898
- Smith, Dana K. and Tardif, Michael (2009). Building Information Modeling: A Strategic Implementation Guide for Architects, Engineers, Constructors, and Real Estate Asset Managers, Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-25003-7
- Underwood, Jason, and Isikdag, Umit (2009). Handbook of Research on Building Information Modeling and Construction Informatics: Concepts and Technologies, Information Science Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60566-928-1
- Weygant, Robert S. (2011) BIM Content Development: Standards, Strategies, and Best Practices, Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-58357-9
- Eastman, C. M., D. Fisher, et al. (1974). An Outline of the Building Description System. Research Report No. 50. Pittsburgh, PA.: Inst. of Physical Planning. Carnegie-Mellon Univ.
- Eastman, C., P. Teicholz, et al. (2011). BIM Handbook: A Guide to Building Information Modeling for Owners, Managers, Designers, Engineers and Contractors. Hoboken, New Jersey, Wiley.
- van Nederveen, G. A. and F. P. Tolman (1992). "Modelling multiple views on buildings." Automation in Construction 1(3): 215-224.
- Autodesk (2003). Building Information Modeling. San Rafael, CA, Autodesk, Inc.
- Laiserin's explanation of why 'BIM' should be an industry standard-term[unreliable source?]
- Graphisoft on BIM[unreliable source?]
- Building Information Modeling Two Years Later –Huge Potential, Some Success and Several Limitations[unreliable source?]
- National BIM Standard - United States. National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee, http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org/index.php/nbims/faq/ (accessed: 2 March 2012)
- Eastman, Chuck (August 2009). "What is BIM?".
- GSA BIM site
- Senate Properties modeling guidelines
- Leite, F; Akcamete, A; Akinci, B; Atasoy, G; Kiziltas, S (2011). "Analysis of modeling effort and impact of different levels of detail in building information models". Automation in Construction 20 (5): 601–609. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2010.11.027.
- Smith, Deke (2007). "An Introduction to Building Information Modeling (BIM)". Journal of Building Information Modeling: 12–4.[unreliable source?]
- Leite, Fernanda; Akinci, Burcu (2012). "A Formalized Representation for Supporting Automated Identification of Critical Assets in Facilities during Emergencies Triggered by Failures in Building Systems". ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CP.1943-5487.0000171.
- Liu, Xuesong; Akinci, Burcu (2009). "Requirements and Evaluation of Standards for Integration of Sensor Data with Building Information Models". Computing in Civil Engineering. p. 10. doi:10.1061/41052(346)10. ISBN 978-0-7844-1052-3.
- Lee, G., J. Lee, et al. (2012). 2012 Business Value of BIM in South Korea (English). SmartMarket Report. Bedford, MA, McGraw Hill Construction.
- RGD BIMnorm - http://www.rgd.nl/onderwerpen/diensten/bouwwerk-informatie-modellen-bim/rgd-bim-norm/#c16783
- Definition of Building Information Modelling, http://www.cpic.org.uk/en/bim/building-information-modelling.cfm
- NBS Roundtable discussion, http://www.thenbs.com/roundtable/
- Building Information Modelling (BIM) Working Party Strategy https://ktn.innovateuk.org/web/modernbuiltktn/articles/-/blogs/new-construction-strategy?ns_33_redirect=%2Fweb%2Fmodernbuiltktn%2Farticles
- UK Government BIM Task Group website, http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/
- 2011, http://www.thenbs.com/topics/BIM/articles/puttingTheIintoBIM.asp
- 2012, http://www.thenbs.com/topics/bim/articles/nbsNationalBimSurvey_2012.asp
- 2013, http://www.thenbs.com/topics/BIM/articles/nbsNationalBimSurvey_2013.asp
- "National BIM Library launches this week". New Civil Engineer. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Discussion of the BIM acronym - http://www.aecbytes.com/newsletter/2004/issue_5.html
- AIA, C.C., A working Definition: Integrated Project Delivery. 2007, McGraw Hill Construction[page needed]
- MP Gallaher, AC O’Connor, JL Dettbarn, Jr., and LT Gilday (August 2004). Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry (Report). National Institute of Standards and Technology. p. iv. http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.GCR.04-867. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Yezioro, A; Dong, B; Leite, F (2008). "An applied artificial intelligence approach towards assessing building performance simulation tools". Energy and Buildings 40 (4): 612. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.04.014.
- What is BIM? – by Professor Charles M. Eastman, Director of AEC Integration Lab at Georgia Tech.
- GSA National BIM Program – National 3D-4D BIM Program by the U.S. GSA (General Services Administration)
- BIM Articles – Cross-industry expert articles on the subject of Building Information Modelling
- UK National BIM Report 2011 – National report into UK attitudes to BIM in 2011
- UK National BIM Report 2012 – National report into UK attitudes to BIM in 2012
- UK National BIM Report 2013 – National report into UK attitudes to BIM in 2013
- UK Government BIM Task Group website – The UK Government's BIM programme and requirements
- IBIMA – Iran Building Information Modeling Association
- CAD addict List of Existing BIM Standards