An illustration of the BIM process

What is BIM? An Introduction to Building Information Modelling

At Cadnet we’re often approached by people who have been told they should “look into BIM”. Usually they have a faint idea of what Building Information Modelling (or BIM) entails, but not a firm grasp of the process, its’ benefits and why it makes sense to begin using this intelligent process.

In his first blog post, Colin Williams, Managing Director of Cadnet, aims to explain the philosophy behind BIM, to help these people understand what they are going to be working with. Colin has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years, and has been championing the BIM process since the release of Revit Architecture in 2004.

So introductions over, let’s clarify the terms and the concept of BIM. I’ve done this in Q & A format below. If you have any thing you’d like cleared up, either comment below, or ask your question on the Cadnet BIM FAQs page of our website.

1. What exactly is a Building Information Model (or BIM model)?
A BIM model is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. The model serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, and forms a reliable basis for decisions throughout the building’s life cycle.

2. So how is this different to a straight Facilities Management system such as CAFM?
Whilst a BIM model can be used for FM purposes, it is essentially much more than that. The basic premise of BIM is collaboration. Different stakeholders at different phases of the building lifecycle are able to insert, extract, update or modify facility information to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder.

3. Why does BIM exist?
This is an easy question to answer. BIM simplifies life for everyone involved in the design and construction of any project. The concept of building information modelling is to construct a building in a virtual environment, prior to constructing it physically. This virtual building helps stakeholders to work out problems, and to simulate and analyse potential design and operational impacts.

4. When does BIM start?
The creation of a building information model begins with the first thoughts of the project. From that point forward the model is used as the authoritative source for information about the building.

5. What about making changes to the model?
When complete the BIM model will be delivered to the operator and manager of the facility. Any on-going modifications or improvements will be recorded in the model. The BIM is the authoritative source, and will be used to plan and execute changes for as long as the facility exists.

If you have any other general questions about BIM, try our BIM FAQs page or contact us.