What is BIM, and where is the value?
Put simply Sir, BIM is the process of generating and managing building data that can be used in the design, costing, procurement, construction and maintenance phases throughout the life cycle of the building.
Traditionally, during the early concept and schematic design phases of a project, 2D CAD drawings are issued between consultants and architects for design co-ordination purposes which creates untold checking, cross-checking, and red-lining of drawings, resulting in numerous revisions. With BIM, a single model of the building is produced and can be passed between the consultants, client and project team.
A true BIM model is a replica of actual building sections used to create the building; these elements are the digital prototype of the building such as the ceilings, walls, windows, doors, lift shafts etc.
Some of the many benefits of a BIM solution include:
Savings on project design and co-ordination time
Helping the building owner visualise what they will be getting, thus reducing the need for changes during construction
Allowing architects to study multiple design alternatives simultaneously within a single model
However the key to BIM is not just the visual model, but the database of information that sits behind it. This enables different organisations working on the same project, but using different design software, to store and retrieve information in a consistent, shared format thereby greatly reducing the risk of poorly coordinated information and lack of collaboration between disciplines.
All this is a considerable shift from a long-established method whereby parties often worked on unconnected information pools using several different typically incompatible software packages.
BIM has the potential to affect every aspect of the building sector, and should be seen as an opportunity to deliver real value to the client. BIM is here to stay, and so we should learn to adapt and embrace it or risk losing ground to others.