Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BIM; What it is.

So this Blog begs the question; "What the Heck is BIM (Building Information Modeling) and why is it important to me?" In this post I will try to answer the first part of the question and leave the latter for a later post.

So, BIM is... well... BIM is... hmmmmmmm...well, like a certain Supreme Court Justice in 1964...."I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." In reality, I could define BIM but others have already done a great job there.

The National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee succinctly defines BIM as:

Building Information Modeling (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

A great, in depth article about what BIM is and why to use it can be found here.

A conversation that I have more often is about what BIM is NOT.


3D Modeling
While 3D modeling is a far cry from lines on paper when it comes to investigating and presenting designs, it doesn't contain enough information (the I in BIM) to be considered BIM. It can help a designer or client visualize a project. It can even help to visually detect "clashes" (when some components interfere with others.) However, once the project is past construction stage (or the conceptual stage if the software doesn't easily support creating construction document) the model becomes obsolete. It goes from being a virtual representation of something doesn't yet exist (useful to explain design intent) to a virtual representation of something does exist (more useful, IMO, as a conversation piece or memento than anything else.)

No software on the market is BIM. A lot of people that I talk with are confused about this. There is software on the market that allows you to produce very powerful, information packed BIMs (Building Information Model in this case.) Software such as these are awesome tools and through their parametric design features (which will be a good subject for an upcoming post) allow the models to be quickly modified to accommodate changes and queried to extract information stored in the model. However, it is the information (coming from many sources) that transforms the model to a BIM.

So it would seem that the INFORMATION component BIM is the defining factor. In that case, what kind of information can be attached to a BIM? Join us next time...

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