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What is BIM?

When I was at school… my technology teacher Mr Ormrod taught me all about the benefits of building prototypes. I learnt that building something quickly at low cost before actually building it at full scale would save time and money.

In most other industries, such as manufacturing cars or phones, they make many prototypes all built and rebuilt to perfection before production is even started.

Car prototyping proces

However, I chose to work in the construction industry.

Unfortunately, building smaller construction mockups just does not give us all the necessary information for full scale real life projects.

We can learn a lot from building legos but it’s not like the real thing

In our design and construction industry we rarely get the luxury to build full scale prototypes — every project is unique and we build them at full scale cost — including the cost of all mistakes and rework.

Since our projects are much bigger and take too long for us to consider full scale prototypes this can has meant that our projects can cost 30% (or even more) more than they should!

Can you imagine someone building the Burj Khalifa (the worlds tallest building) first in a remote location before building the real one in downtown Dubai?

Burj Khalifa

Not likely, is it?


With BIM, we CAN build a complete and full scale digital prototype at a minimal cost “in the computer” (zoolander quote — anyone?).

A “full scale” building in the computer

This is ground breaking — a huge change for our industry. We believe that the BIM transformation will have the most impact our industry has ever seen.

Companies and governments have realized this and are mandating BIM.

Government BIM Mandates

The UK government believed that this would be the “digital transformation” to cut 33% of the cost of projects.

So, what is BIM again?

Well, it turns out that BIM is a lot more than just building the digital prototype.

BIM can also result in a huge number of design and construction uses for that model.

Penn State lists 25 BIM Uses, along with the frequency and benefits of each, in their BIM Execution Planning guide.

Now, with so many possible BIM Uses it can be challenging to plan and execute the right BIM for each project.

Getting the right BIM plan in place is mandatory — we believe that this should be a collaborative process between the Architect, Engineer, Contractor and Owner.

With a great BIMplan, we can now implement what we learned at school within our industry — thank you Mr Ormrod!

Here’s a standard definition for BIM too:
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a set of technologies, processes and policies enabling multiple stakeholders to collaboratively design, construct and operate a Facility in virtual space. As a term, BIM has grown tremendously over the years and is now the ‘current expression of digital innovation’ across the construction industry. It is an intelligent 3D model-based process that usually requires a BIM execution plan for owners, architects, engineers, and contractors or construction professionals to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Blog reposted from Smart Lean BIM

Fighting “Evil BIM” @PlannerlyAEC