Last edited 11 Aug 2016

BIM glossary of terms

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See also BIM resources, for links to standards, protocols, guidance and other resources and BIM articles for a list of articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.


3D Three-dimensional geometry
4D Construction sequencing information
5D Cost information
6D Project lifecycle information
Actual Digital Questions (ADQ) These break down Plain Language Questions (PLQ) in a way that means they can be answered with a digital answer
Assembly A physical aggregation of components
Asset Information Model (AIM) A model that compiles the data and information necessary to support asset management
Asset Information Requirements (AIR) Define the information required for an Asset Information Model
Attribute A piece of data that describes a characteristic an object or entity
BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) An open file format based on XML that allows the addition of comments to an Industry Foundation Classes BIM model
BIM Execution Plan (BEP) A developing strategy prepared by suppliers that comprises a pre-contract BIM execution and then a post-contract BIM execution plan
BIM maturity levels The levels of complexity and collaboration that building information modelling can take
BIM protocol A supplementary legal agreement that can be incorporated into professional services appointments, construction contracts, sub contracts and novation agreements
BIM Task Group Bringing together expertise to strengthen the public sector's BIM capability and provide the information the industry needs to meet the government's BIM requirement
BS 1192 Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information. Code of practice.
BS 1192-4 Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer's information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice
BS 7000-4 Design management systems. Guide to managing design in construction.
BS 8536-1 Briefing for design and construction – Part 1: Code of practice for facilities management (Buildings infrastructure)
BS 8541 Library objects for architecture, engineering and construction.
BS ISO 16739 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for data sharing in the construction and facility management industries
BS ISO 55000 Asset management – Overview, principles and terminology
Building Information Modelling (BIM) A very broad term that describes the process of creating a digital model of a building or other asset (such as a bridge, highway, tunnel and so on) using object-oriented information
BuildingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD) A catalogue of what objects are called (the 'vocabulary')
CAD Computer-Aided Design
CAFM Computer-Aided Facility Management
CAPEX Capital Expenditure
CIC BIM Protocol The Construction Industry Council Building Information Modelling Protocol: Standard protocol for use in projects using Building Information Models
Clash Rendition (CR) A rendition of a building information model specifically to avoid clashes in spatial co-ordination
CMMS Computerised Maintenance Management System
Common Data Environment (CDE) The single source of information for the project, used to collect, manage and disseminate documentation, the graphical model and non-graphical data for the whole project team
Component A physical item or feature
Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) A non-proprietary multi-page, spreadsheet data format for the publication of a subset of building information models focused on delivering asset data rather that geometric information
Contractor's proposals Set out contractor's proposals for designing and constructing a built asset, along with their price
CPI Construction Project Information
CPIc Construction Project Information Committee
CPIx Construction Project Information Xchange
CSG Constructive Solid Geometry
Data Information that has not been interpreted
Data drops Information of a particular format and level of detail issued to the client at pre-defined stages of a project. Also known as information exchange
Data manager A procedural gate-keeper who sets up and manages an asset information model
Design intent model The initial version of the project information model (PIM)
DGN MicroStation and Intergraph file format
Digital Built Britain Digital Built Britain, Level 3 Building Information Modelling - Strategic Plan.
DWF AutoCAD Design Web Format
DWG AutoCAD file format
DXF Interchange file format
Employer's Information Requirements (EIR) Set out the information required by the employer aligned to key decision points or project stages, enabling suppliers to produce an initial BIM execution plan from which their proposed approach, capability and capacity can be evaluated
Employer's requirements Provide a description of all the client's requirements for a built asset, in response to which contractors prepare contractor's proposals
Employer's decision point Project gateway aligned to key stages at which information is provided to answer the employer's plain language questions and a decision is taken about whether to proceed
Federated building information model An assembly of distinct models to create a single, complete building information model of an asset
Government Soft Landings (GSL) The process of aligning the interests of those who design and construct an asset with the interests of those who use and manage it. GSL sits alongside BIM, as BIM feeds into Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) systems, and helps enable future alterations to completed buildings
iBIM Integrated Building Information Model, or Level 3 BIM
ICT Information and communications technology
IFC2x Industry Foundation Class version 2x
Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) A neutral, non-proprietary data format used to describe, exchange and share information
Information Delivery Manual (IDM) Specifies when certain types of information are required during the construction of a project or the operation of a built asset. Now known as the buildingSMART standard for processes
Information exchange Information of a particular format and level of detail issued to the client at pre-defined stages of a project. Also known as data drop
Information management process (IMP) Procedures implemented to manage the asset information model.
Information manager A procedural gate-keeper who sets up and manages the common data environment (CDE)
International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) A standard for terminology libraries or ontologies.
Layer Attribute that allows control over the visibility of entities within CAD files
Level 0 BIM Unmanaged computer aided design (CAD) including 2D drawings, and text with paper-based or electronic exchange of information but without common standards and processes
Level 1 BIM Managed CAD, with the increasing introduction of spatial coordination, standardised structures and formats as it moves towards Level 2 BIM
Level 2 BIM Managed 3D environment with data attached, but created in separate discipline-based models
Level 3 BIM A single collaborative, online, project model with construction sequencing (4D), cost (5D) and project lifecycle information (6D). This is sometimes referred to as 'iBIM' (integrated BIM)
Level of definition Overall term describing the level of model detail and the level of information detail
Level of model detail (LOD) The level of detail of graphical content in building information models
Level of model information (LOI) The level of detail of non-graphical content in building information models
Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) The primary plan for the preparation of the project information required by the Employers Information Requirements, setting out programme, responsibility, protocols and procedures
Master Information Document Index (MIDI) A detailed list of information deliverables for a project identifying responsibility for delivery and programme
Model Production and Delivery Table Referred to in CIC BIM protocol, summarising originators of and level of detail for the project information model at different stages of the project
NBS BIM object standard 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.
OPEX Operating Expenditure
Organisational Information Requirements (OIR) The information required at an organisational level (rather than asset level) to achieve the business objectives of the organisation
Origin The setting-out point for a project
Parametric modelling The generation of a model based on a series of pre-programmed rules or algorithms.
PAS 1192-2 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling
PAS 1192-3 Specification for information management for the operational phase of construction projects using building information modelling
PAS 1192-5 Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management
Plain Language Questions (PLQ) Questions that the client will want to ask at key stages of the project to decide whether the project has developed satisfactorily and whether it should proceed
Post-contract BIM execution plan Confirms the supply chain's capability, capacity and competence to meet the Employer's Information Requirements and providing a Master Information Delivery Plan
Pre-contract BIM execution plan Prepared by prospective suppliers, setting out their proposed approach, capability, capacity and competence to meet the Employer's Information Requirements
Process map Identifies the key decisions that will need to be made during the project to ensure that the solution developed satisfies the business need that has been identified
Project execution plan (PEP) Sets out the overall strategy for managing a project, describing the policies, procedures and priorities that will be adopted
Project implementation plan (PIP) A statement relating to the suppliers' IT and human resources capability to deliver the Employer's Information Requirements submitted as part of the pre-contract BIM Execution Plan by each organisation bidding for a project
Project information model (PIM) The building information model developed during the design and construction phase of a project
RACI indicator Identifies authorities of participants in relation to specific project activities. Responsible, Authorise, Contribute, Informed
RAG report Report giving status assessments in terms of Red, Amber or Green.
Standard Method and Procedure (SMP) Defines how Information is named, expressed and referenced
Supplier information modelling assessment form Sets out the capability and competence of a supplier to use BIM in a collaborative environment
Supplier information technology assessment form Sets out the capability and IT resources of a supplier for exchanging information in a collaborative environment
Supplier resource assessment form Used to assess a supplier's resource capability and capacity, based on the supplier information technology assessment form and supplier information modelling assessment form
Supply chain capability assessment form Summarises the human resource and IT capability of each suppliers that make up the supply chain
Supply Chain Capability Summary (SCCS) Prepared by the principal supplier to verify that there is suitable human resource and IT capability in the various organisations that make up the supply chain
System Set of components with a common function
Task Information Delivery Plan (TIDP) Prepared by individual task team managers, setting out the responsibilities for each individual information deliverable
Third party capability assessment form Sets out the information management and IT capability of non-design, non-construction suppliers. This is made up of individual Task Information Delivery Plans (TIDP)
Virtual construction model Development of the design intent project information model
Volume A manageable spatial subdivision of a project that allows more than one person to work on the project models simultaneously
xBIM (eXtensible Building Information Modelling) An open-source software development tool that allows developers to read, create and view BIM in the IFC format
XML Extensible Mark-up Language, for encoding data in a format that is human-readable and machine-readable
Zone A set of locations with a shared attribute

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