Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a very broad term that describes the process of creating and managing digital information about a building or other facility such as a bridge, highway, tunnel and so on.
In the UK, the Government Construction Strategy published in May 2011, stated that the '...Government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016'. This represents a minimum requirement for Level 2 BIM on centrally-procured public projects.
In preparation for the roll out of Level 2 BIM, a number of standards, protocols and classification systems have be created.
The idea originated with the BIM Task Group, a group supported by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to bring together expertise from industry, government, institutes and academia to strengthen the public sector's capability at building information modelling (BIM).
In February 2014, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) published a brief for a two-stage Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition for 'A digital tool for building information modelling'. The competition was for '…up to £1.5m to support the development of a free-to-use digital tool that can exploit the standards being made publicly available for building information modelling (BIM).'
In September 2014, the contract was awarded to a team led by NBS, a subsidiary of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, responsible for the National Building Specification. The team also included; the BIM Academy, RICS, Microsoft, BDP, Mott MacDonald, Newcastle University and Laing O'Rourke.
The project started in October 2014, and the nbs BIM toolkit public beta went live on 8 April 2015 for public evaluation.
 BIM Toolkit
The BIM toolkit can be used to help '…define, manage and validate responsibility for information development and delivery at each stage of the asset lifecycle...'. It can help ensure that information meets the requirements of Level 2 BIM and is suitable for private and public sector projects, including buildings and infrastructure projects such as rail and highways as well as buildings.
The BIM toolkit comprises a digital plan of work, a unified classification system, thousands of definition templates and a verification tool that can be used to:
- Define information requirements aligned to specific project stages.
- Assemble the project team, define deliverables and assign roles and responsibilities.
- Manage the delivery of information.
- Access free-to-use BIM objects and manufacturer's technical literature.
- Follow a reference library of definition templates describing the typical level of definition for different stages of a project consistent with the unified classification system Uniclass 2015. Classification mappings are in place for mapping to NRM1 and NBS Create and may be expanded to include systems such as CESSM.
- Provide digital information to specifiers.
- Verify that the required information has been delivered, by identifying correctly classified objects and confirming that the required data is present.
In September 2015, five months after its launch, the BIM toolkit was declared "out of beta" at the BSI BIM conference. However, the verification tool, which allows teams to check that submitted data meets clients' requirements and to create a COBie submission, was still in beta testing phase.
In October 2016, NBS' Dr Stephen Hamil gave an update about progress developing the BIM toolkit. See BIM plus The BIM Toolkit one year on, enhanced and improved.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BIM articles.
- BIM resources.
- BIM Task Group.
- Building information modelling.
- Construction Industry Council.
- Industry Foundation Classes.
- Level of detail.
- Technology Strategy Board.
- Uniclass 2.
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