Building information modelling BIM
Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030, Published by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority 13 September 2021, defines BIM as: ‘…a combination of process, standards and technology through which it is possible to generate, visualise, exchange, assure and subsequently use and re-use information, including data, to form a trustworthy foundation for decision-making to the benefit of all those involved in any part of an asset’s lifecycle. This includes inception, capital phase procurement and delivery, asset and facility management, maintenance, refurbishment, and ultimately an asset’s disposal or re-use.’
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 represented a minimum requirement for Level 2 BIM on centrally-procured public projects from April 2016 where:
- Level 0: represented unmanaged CAD (Computer Aided Design).
- Level 1: represented managed CAD in 2D or 3D.
- Level 2: represented managed 3D environment with data attached, but created in separate discipline models.
- Level 3: represented single, online, project model with construction sequencing, cost and life-cycle management information.
The UK BIM Framework sets out the overarching approach to implementing BIM in the UK. It was developed jointly by the UK BIM Alliance, BSI and the Centre for Digital Built Britain to implement international BIM standards within a UK context.
The UK BIM Framework includes:
- The published standards called upon to implement BIM in the UK.
- The UK BIM Guidance Framework.
- Useful links to other resources.
NBS has suggested that adopting BIM can cost a practice £10,000 per workstation (ref. NBS: National BIM report 2012). However, this depends on whether implementation is simply an exercise in buying hardware and software and then training staff to use it, or whether it is part of a wider process of business change.
The justification for this cost is in the value that adopting BIM brings to a project throughout its life-cycle. The BIM Task Group suggest that '...if successfully implemented, (BIM) will help organisations strip the waste from their processes which in many cases could be in the bandwidth of 20-30%' (ref. BIM Task Group FAQ's).
The requirement for the adoption of BIM in the public sector has lead to an increase in uptake, meaning that the UK now ranks alongside Singapore, USA and Scandinavia (in particular Finland) in terms of BIM usage. Adoption of BIM in the UK is most common among architects and larger contractors, while there is less take-up by services engineers, facilities managers and smaller contractors.
However, the 2017 Construction Manager BIM survey revealed 49% of clients did not make BIM a requirement on projects, and only 20% said they asked for BIM Level 2 on all projects, and a survey of 173 manufacturers published by NBS in conjunction with the Construction Products Association (CPA) in November 2017, found that more than half felt the BIM mandate had not been successful because of a lack of rigorous enforcement. (ref. https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/nbs-manufacturers-bim-report-2017).
The 2019, the NBS National BIM Report found that 69% of respondents were aware of and using BIM. However, the report suggested there was an emerging two-speed industry, and that there was a fall in awareness of government activity. https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/national-bim-report-2019
Fundamentally, the purpose of BIM is to ensure that appropriate information is created in a suitable format at the right time so that better decisions can be made throughout the design, construction and operation of built assets. It is not about creating a 3D model for its own sake, and it is not an add-on process. BIM is fundamental to the way a project is set up and run.
BIM centres around the creation of employer's information requirements (EIR), which define the information that the employer wishes to procure in order to develop and operate a built asset. Setting this out in a contract document ensures that appropriate information is created in a suitable format at the right time.
- 4D (including time / programme information).
- 5D (including cost information).
- 6D (including facilities management information).
At level 2, building information models are likely to comprise a series of federated models prepared by different design teams, including model files, documents and structured data files containing non-geometric information about the facility, floors, spaces, systems and components. Together these create a digital replica of the built asset that starts by representing design intent, but by handover, reflects what has actually been built and installed.
The creation of a geometric model as part of this process allows buildings to be conceived collaboratively and tested virtually, before they are built and operated for real. This should reduce the problems that are encountered in construction and occupation. See clash avoidance for more information.
These models are created from a series of parametric objects. Each object is defined only once and then 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. See parametric modelling for more information.
The common data environment (CDE), is 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. Creating this single source of information facilitates collaboration between project team members and helps avoid duplication and mistakes.
- Autodesk Revit (Architecture/Structure/MEP) 41%
- Graphisoft ArchiCAD 15%
- Autodesk AutoCAD 14%
- Autodesk AutoCAD LT 12%
- Nemetscheck Vectorworks 9%
- Other 5%
- Bentley Microstation 2%
- Trimble Sketchup (formerly Google Sketchup) 2%
- Bentley AECOsim Building Designer 1%
- Nemetscheck Allplan 0%
- PAS 1192-2 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling. (Now replaced by BS EN ISO 19650).
- PAS 1192-3 Specification for information management for the operational phase of construction projects using building information modelling.
- BS EN ISO 19650. Organisation of information about construction works - information management using building information modelling.
- CIC BIM Protocol. This establishes specific obligations, liabilities and limitations on the use of building information models and can be adopted by clients to mandate particular working practices. It can be incorporated into appointments or contracts by a model enabling amendment.
- Uniclass2015. A classification system that can be used to organise information throughout all aspects of the design and construction process.
- Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). The standard data format facilitating interoperability between different software systems.
- COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange). A spreadsheet data format for the publication of a subset of building model information focused on delivering building information (rather than geometric modelling), such as equipment lists, product data sheets, warranties, spare parts lists and preventive maintenance schedules. COBie presents information in a more accessible format, so that it is easier to use and re-purpose. This is essential to support operations, maintenance and asset management once the built asset is in service.
- BIM Toolkit. Developed by NBS, and offering a Digital Plan of Work to help define roles and responsibilities for preparing information and a verification tool to identify correctly classified objects and confirm that required data is present in the model.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Artificial intelligence.
- Asset information requirements AIR.
- Benefits of manufacturer-created BIM models.
- Beyond BIM: Knowledge management for a smarter built environment.
- Blockchain in the built environment.
- BIM 2018-2026 market predictions.
- BIM and facilities management.
- BIM articles.
- BIM dimensions.
- BIM execution plan.
- BIM glossary of terms.
- BIM level 2.
- BIM maturity levels.
- BIM resources.
- Building drawing software.
- Building engineering services.
- Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie).
- CIC BIM Protocol.
- Collaborative practices.
- Common data environment.
- ConTech in a post lockdown, pre-vaccine economy.
- Creating an asset register for construction projects.
- Cyber security.
- Data drops.
- Digital information.
- Dynamo visual programming interface.
- Employers information requirements.
- Enterprise asset management.
- Federated building information model.
- Five great things about civil engineering.
- Generative design.
- Global BIM market.
- Government Construction Strategy.
- Government Soft Landings.
- Improving health and safety using BIM.
- Industry Foundation Classes.
- Information management.
- Information manager.
- Interview with Su Butcher, Director, Just Practising Limited.
- ISO/TC 211 Geographic information/Geomatics.
- Level of detail.
- Location and civil engineers.
- MEP BIM and the building lifecycle.
- NBS Chorus.
- NBS National BIM Report 2020.
- PAS 1192-2:2013.
- PAS 1192-3:2014.
- RACI matrix.
- Real time.
- Residential design and 3D rendering.
- Rolling Out New Retail Concepts Across Chain Outlets Efficiently.
- Shaping Space - Architectural Models Revealed.
- Soft landings.
- Student projects released as non-fungible tokens.
- Sustainability in design: a corporate buzzword or the future of commercial property.
- UK BIM Alliance and CIOB join forces.
- Underground asset register for Britain.
- Whole Life Asset Performance.