What is BIM?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) covers more than creating drawings from 3D models. It is an approach centered on using digital tools to efficiently produce information to allow assets to be built, operated and maintained. It relies on all those involved in the project fully populating a central data-base. The UK Government currently requires that this data is structured in the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) format.
As the internet has shown, having comprehensive, well-structured data offers the potential of much wider benefits to all stakeholders. Information can be presented as 3D visualisations to help improve communication and decision making.
To achieve these outcomes collaborative teamwork in answering the following is required:
  • What information is needed to efficiently operate and maintain the asset(s)?
  • What information is needed to construct the asset(s)?
  • What is needed to make the life of all project stakeholders easier?
  • How can the whole team collaborate to achieve these outcomes?
  • How can all information be most effectively produced and shared?
BIM tools are increasing opportunities to automatically produce and manage whole life asset information. This requires an effective data transfer between different software tools.
There are currently significant challenges in this software interoperability and associated IT infrastructure. These need to be fully addressed in the project planning stage or there will be real problems during delivery.
The benefits we have all felt in our private lives are becoming increasingly achievable in business activity which sometimes brings unrealistic expectations. These need to be managed. 
Hence within all appointments it is essential to clearly define compatible levels of detail for models across the whole project team. Traditional procurement routes, such as performance duties for building services, can cause real issues in this regard.
In conclusion to deliver a successful BIM project you need to clarify;
  • What you are modelling and why
  • Common expectations across the whole team
  • Aligned appointment documents
  • Coordinated team modelling plan before work starts
  • Detailed delivery plan – how you are modelling
  • Competent team with training plan to address gaps
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