The third part of our series is dedicated this entire post to Building Information Modelling (BIM). Due to its nature, we felt that BIM needs its own post in order for us to fully unpack, understand and appreciate its complexity and application.
According to the United States National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee, “(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.”
It is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure more efficiently. What distinguishes BIM from simply being a 3D innovation is its multidimensional capacity. The various subsets of BIM are described in terms of dimensions — 3D (object model), 4D (time), 5D (cost), 6D (operation), 7D (sustainability), and even 8D (safety). This has resulted in BIM being coined as “nD” modelling as an almost infinite number of dimensions can be added to the building model.
To add on to 3D models, 4D adds the element of time. 4D model construction activities represent time schedules and this results in real-time graphical simulation of the construction progress. This results in more efficient schedules, site layout and logistic plans that lead to improved productivity. The 5D model adds the element of cost to the BIM model and allows instant generation of cost budgets and financial representations of the model against time. This improves the accuracy of estimates.
By extending the model into the post-occupancy period, BIM models can be used to add 6D models, thus adding facilities management to the mix. Adding descriptions of building elements, characteristics, and engineering services with descriptions of the relationships, and property capabilities makes the BIM perfect for facilities management. The 7D model incorporates sustainability components to the BIM. This allows for the different built environment professionals to meet specific sustainability targets. The 8D incorporates safety aspects in both the design and the construction process.
Another major benefit of using BIM is that it is a completely integrated common platform where participants can share and work on the same information-thus eliminating the issue of and incompatible software technologies previously faced due to the fact that different industry professionals are required to work on a project, and they usually used different softwares. This is a major problem solver in that it provides a consolidated interface for information regarding all aspects of building operational performance.
As the series continues, we hope that you are starting to see that technology has had a real impact on real estate industry as a whole; across all spheres and sectors. It has impacted the entire property lifecycle; from the conception to the occupancy and demolition.