Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a very broad term that describes the process of creating and managing digital information about a built asset such as building, bridge, highway, tunnel, and so on.
A BIM object usually has 3D geometry that describes its physical appearance, as will as data that describes what it is, how it is classified, its performance values, material types, expected lifetime, and so on.
In parametric models, each object need only be defined once and can then be placed in the model in multiple locations as required. If the object is then changed, these changes will appear throughout the model. This makes models automatically consistent and reduces errors.
There are two basic types of object: component and layered.
- A component represents building products that have a distinct geometrical shape, such as furniture, windows, doors, equipment, and so on.
- A layered object is a product that does not have a fixed shape or size, such as flooring, carpets, insulation materials, ceiling materials, and so on.
Objects can also be classed as ‘generic’ and ‘specific’:
- Generic (or library) objects are used during the initial design as ‘placeholders’, expressing the need for a specific object to be selected at a later date.
- Specific (or manufacturer) objects are those that represent products specific to a manufacturer.
Objects may be available in specific formats suitable for Revit, Archicad, and so on, and they can be provided in open exchange formats.
The NBS National BIM library is an online environment created for the storage of manufacturers’ BIM object model files. All BIM objects accessible through the library are authored to NBS standards. This ensures the user is able to select and use BIM objects which contain all the information needed and are compatible across all working platforms.
In 2014, NBS published the NBS BIM object standard. This defines what constitutes a high quality BIM object for use with Level 2 BIM, with the right levels of information, appropriate geometry, and a consistent, structured, easy to use format.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Asset information model.
- BIM articles.
- BIM glossary of terms.
- BS 8541 Library objects for architecture, engineering and construction.
- Building component.
- Common data environment.
- NBS BIM library.
- NBS BIM object standard.
- Project information model.
- Step-by-step guide to using BIM on projects.
 External resources
Featured articles and news
In the week of the momentous Heathrow decision, we look back at the development and design of T5.
BSRIA’s flagship event will address performance and wellbeing beyond compliance.
Young Architects and Developers Alliance launched to build the relationship between the two disciplines.
BS 8536-2:2016 Design and construction: Code of practice for asset management (Linear and geographical infrastructure).
Paying for off-site goods or materials can be useful, but it puts the client at risk.
People power can be transformative if properly informed and inspired.
ZHA win competition to build an Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Saudi Arabia.
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.