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Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building Information Modelling (BIM)[1] broadly describes the processes employed during digital information management related to a built asset such as a building, bridge, highway or tunnel.

Although the term is widely used, it seems like the rapid technological advancement in Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) now firmly interlocked with Industry 4.0 surpasses the term’s capability to capture the current intended meaning. Therefore, the industry makes deliberate efforts to use the BIM acronym in conjunction with equivalent but more suitable term: Building Information Management (BIM)[2] [3]

BIM now is more than just build asset information management, it encompasses a range of system of systems, it is a management of built asset information interconnected with areas such as:

  • Transport
    • Connected/autonomous vehicle
    • Just in time delivery
    • Traffic flow optimisation based on live data
    • Connected fleet – intelligent supply chain devices
  • Manufacturing
    • Off-site manufacturing
  • Environment
    • Live forecasting
    • Live monitoring of pollution
    • Energy management
  • global economy
    • smart grid
    • smart/connected city
    • big data

Author’s prediction: While the terms Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Building Information Management (BIM) will continue to be used, they may eventually be phased out in favour of more appropriate terms such as Digital Construction, Embedded Digital Technology, or something similar. Thus far, the best definition I’ve encountered for the acronym is: Better Information Management (BIM)[9], coined by Steve Race, author of BIM Demystified[10].

Building Information Modelling (BIM) …’a collaborative way of working underpinned by digital technologies. It uses a shared digital representation of an asset to facilitate design, construction and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions. Greater efficiencies can be realized due to significant pre-planning during the design and construction phases, providing comprehensive information at handover stage.’… [4]

Building Information Modelling (BIM) …’use of a shared digital representation of a built asset to facilitate design, construction and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions’…[5]

Building Information Modelling (BIM) …’provides a digital process for describing and displaying information required in the planning, design, construction and operation of constructed facilities. This approach encompasses all aspects of the built environment, including civil infrastructure, utilities and public space.’…[6]

Building Information Modelling (BIM) …’ shared digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of any built object, including buildings, bridges, roads, process plant’… [7]

Building Information Modelling (BIM) …’a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A building information model 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.’… [8]

[1] BS EN ISO 19650-1 2018 Clause 3.3.14, BS EN ISO 23387:2020

[2] Gov, H., 2020. THE CONSTRUCTION PLAYBOOK Government Guidance on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes.

[3] Cube, C., 2021. NIBS Convenes BIM Executive Roundtable on Construction Industry Digital Transformation – National Institute of Building Sciences [WWW Document]. National Institute of Building Sciences. (accessed 2.10.21).

[4] BSI Built Environment Little book of BIM

[5] BS EN ISO 19650-1 2018 Clause 3.3.14

[6] BS EN ISO 23387:2020

[7] PD ISO/TS 12911:2012, NOTE 1 Adapted from ISO 29481-1:2010, definition 2.2., NOTE 2 Building information model is frequently used as a synonym for BIM.’ NOTE 3 It may form the common basis for decisions and may form the contractual point of reference, across one or more stages in the life cycle.

[8] The National BIM Standard-United States™ (NBIMS-US™) 

[9] According to George Stevenson Chair of BIM4Housing

[10] Race, S. (2013). BIM Demystified  An architect’s guide to Building Information Modelling/Management (BIM) (2nd edition). RIBA Publishing.

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