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Everything you need to know about BIM

The Building Information Modeling (BIM) has pervaded the AEC industry gradually to a point where even the corporations and countries are making a choice to mandate the platform for large-scale projects. How, BIM is not self- explanatory. It is a complex concept which is not easy for people to understand easily. Since basic questions such as what is BIM? And what BIM can do, etc. has a number of answers there is a scope for misconceptions taking place. This might create difficulty for someone wishing to adopt BIM. Here are some of the answers to the basic questions often asked:

What is the meaning of building information modeling?

BIM has been there for a long time. It had first appeared in 1962 when Douglas Engelbart wrote the paper “Augmenting Human Intellect: A conceptual framework” where he described how architects could enter specifications and data into a building design and could watch the structure take shape, the concept is closely similar to the parametric modeling in the modern days.

In the 90s the term BIM was first used though recessions played a negative role in the early stages. It started taking shape after the recession and has a booming usage in the recent years. It can happen that a CAD user might find BIM to be difficult and scary but the development of BIM was inevitable.

How to work on BIM?

BIM is a 3D design and modeling software at its core and it comes with a difference. For an international architecture design firm who has completed projects such as the Shanghai Tower thinks BIM is the future. The Shanghai Tower project met with a number of strict restrictions during the design process but with its ability to design and analyze different systems faster and efficiently it was possible to complete.

Definition of BIM by the Industry:

Autodesk

BIM software platforms such as Revit and AutoCAD Civil 3D are made by the Autodesk. According to the Autodesk company their view of the software is information-centric.

BIM is an intelligent model-based process which assists in the making of design, engineering projects and operational information which is accurate, accessible and actionable for building projects and their infrastructure. The availability of high-level data present in the model help people on the project team to be on the same page which is helpful in all stages of the project from the conception to the construction documentation along with maintenance.

GRAPHISOFT

ArchiCAD which is made by GRAPHISOFT, is one of the first BIM software platforms which was introduced to the market. According to a representative of GRAPHISOFT, BIM is a useful software which helps in the making of 3D virtual models of buildings and also processes the managing and collects building data. The 3D model of the building is the most important aspect of BIM. It helps in setting the stage for overall projects which contains the virtual equivalents to the building’s parts and pieces and also invokes the practical applications of these pieces.

The Bentley Systems

Modeling and project delivery software such as AECOism Building Designer are made by Bentley systems. According to the senior vice president of the company Bentley’s approach towards BIM is completely different. The use of BIM methodology helps in improving collaboration and ensures a new level of control over projects of all sizes. With complete flow of information among applications and across distributed project teams better project outcome can be achieved as it provides accuracy across the entire supply chain. This process along with the technological aspects of BIM helps in the smooth flow of work.

Therefore, the above-mentioned definitions point out how the meaning of BIM varies from company to company.

The most common BIM misconceptions

Stated below are the most common misconceptions around the BIM software:

1. Misconception: Only architects use BIM.

The most common misconception is that BIM is only for architects. BIM can be used for any kind of building projects.

It is generally assumed that just like CAD, BIM is also a software which is used for just building skyscrapers whereas it can be used even for making a road. The reason why this misconception emerged is because the architecture and construction industries were the first to adopt BIM. Even though it is argued that structural engineers have been using BIM even before the architecture and construction industry. What is important to remember is BIM is for everyone. Anything that needs to be built in the environment can be built using BIM.

The various other projects where BIM can be used:

Architecture and building design
Civil and structural engineering
Energy and utilities
Highway and road engineering
Landscape and land surveying
Offshore and marine architecture
Rail and metro transportation engineering
Tunneling and subway architecture
Urban master-planning and smart city design
There you have it—BIM is not just for architects.
2 misconception: BIM is just used for designing.

BIM is not just a fancy CAD software; it is true that the technical core of BIM is in its 3D modeling and information management. Even though the software is similar it is important to remember the distinction. BIM is not just useful for delivering projects but it is also helpful in the way teams can interact and collaborate and also use the huge number of tools available. BIM does not just create a visual appealing 3D model of the building but it also creates layers of metadata and also render it within a collaborative workflow. A CAD software cannot provide you will the layers of information that BIM does.

3 misconception: BIM comes in a box.

Even though BIM is a software technically it is not just that. It is not just a design tool, even though you can buy the software and start drawing yet that is not what makes it BIM. The essential part of BIM is the restructuring of workflows. In order to incorporate BIM you will need to change the way you and your team members works. Even though adjusting to the new system will not be easy yet it is helpful in the long run. BIM helps in digging deep in the design process and allows you to come up with the optimal solution. BIM is not just used to be efficient but to gain more knowledge and provide optimal solutions to problems.

Related to the building of the Shanghai Tower, BIM was not just used for the geometric aspect of the designing of the Tower but a lot more than it. The elevator and staircase system of the tower is the most important part. Therefore, this system was created in a BIM model as it required multiple approach. It was by using the building information modeling that the issues faced could be looked at in a collaborative way so that the different engineering groups that were part of the project were able to contribute to the project and also see the impact from one system against another. The interaction will every team has changed due to the BIM model. It has become more about the exchange of information and working through solution rather than just passing along the information which was what happened in the past. There has been a significant change in the way interaction takes place.

The Components of BIM

Let us understand the components of BIM to gain a better understanding:

B is for Building.

The B for building does not just stand for a building. BIM can do much more than just design a structure with four walls and a roof. The usage of the word building comes from its roots in an etymological sense it literally translates to “house”. In terms of verb it means to build. The process of building something together is what BIM is all about, be it in the case of architecture, infrastructure, civil engineering, landscape or other large-scale projects.

I is for Information.

Information plays a key role in every aspect of your project. That is the reason for which BIM is considered smart. With every project comes a huge amount of information ranging from prices to performance ratings to even predicted lifetimes. How your project will work is predicted even before the physical construction begins. Along with that it will also mention the potential issue that the project might face. BIM helps in bringing all this information in one place so that it is easy to keep track of it.

M is for Modeling.

Using BIm every project can live twice- one when it is built in a virtual environment so as to make sure that it works well and predict the issues it might face and the second time is in the real environment which brings the project life by actually constructing the idea. This step works as an overview foe every little detail of the building project and information about it. It provides with the measure and standard for the project. It provides a small scake representation and analogy of how it will be and what effect it might have in the final appearance stage. It continues to model this representation all throughout the lifespan of the building.

It does not concern with the design of the building but how it the full life-cycle of the building will be like, how it impacts the management of the building also it helps to provide information to the owner of the space that is beyond the involvement of the project design. This model becomes the tool for the building owner’s reference long after the building process is completed which helps in maintaining information as well as in taking other decisions.

At the end of the day: What is BIM?

BIM is a best-practice process as well as a 3D modeling software. Using this platform, a shared building project can be created by designers using also the integrated information in a format that can model both the structure and the entire timeline of the project from the initial days to the ultimate demolition of the building. It allows architects and engineers to be able to work on a single project together from anywhere in the world. It can condense a wide range of information about every possible detail in a workable format. It allows you to test and analyze during the design phase so that you can find the best solution to the problem. It helps you to make easier designs, also provides a platform for simpler coordination between team members along with easier structure maintenance across the entirety of the built environment and it is only just the basic functions of it.

Everything you need to know about BIM