What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

Autodesk defines Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that equips architecture, engineering, and construction professionals with the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.  


What are the benefits of BIM?

BIM consistently removes waste from project workflows.  Some of the benefits are:

  • Increased in a quality of design and construction documents
  • Coordination between disciplines
  • Collaboration across project teams
  • Visualization and presentation abilities
  • Construction coordination
    • Clash detection
    • Cost scheduling
    • Construction sequencing
    • Prefabrication validation
  • Building Performance and Energy Simulations


Does BIM bring value to the owner?

Yes.  BIM Is produced in many different forms. Each form brings value to members of the project team.  As visualization for architects and construction coordination with contractors bring significant value to their own teams.

Using BIM in the post construction phases of a building the owner can also capitalize on the BIM process.  The owner should notify the project team of BIM requirements at the beginning of projects along with a BIM protocol.


Who should pay for the model?

If the owner requires a BIM deliverable, then the owner is responsible for payment of the model. The owner should also develop a BIM protocol to require BIM standards for their deliverables.  These standards should be contractually obligated through BIM contracts and outline the final deliverable.


What should I be concerned with when starting down the BIM path?

First, establish your goal.  If space management is your goal, then a BIM protocol can be created around this process.  Without a goal, you will continually ask for information that is irrelevant, creating more work for no reason.

If you are having trouble establishing a goal, RPA Pulse can help with their BIM Protocol Assessment.


Does my facilities team have to learn Revit?

No.  Revit is an intensive program that requires training and considerable hardware. Also, Revit is exceptional at model creation and construction documents but it is not intended to be a facility management solution.  There are several companies that have created post-Revit software.  The deliverable required by the BIM protocol integrates directly into these softwares, which are more user friendly and do not require intensive hardware.  They also can communicate with your CMMS, BAS or BMS systems.


What is a “2D Conversion”?

Per AGC Contractor’s Guide to BIM:

“A 2D conversion is the process of taking the traditional CAD files (such as .dwg) and using the attributes necessary to add the third dimension that allows the 2D design to begin taking its 3D form.”

“a 2D conversion is not a process that occurs automatically with the click of a “2D Convert” button.  A 2D conversion requires that modeler digitally trace the 2D documents in an object-based modeling program.”


How do I complete a 2D conversion?

A 2D conversion is done by a team of BIM professionals.  This can be done in several different ways including recreating a building from paper drawings and 3D laser scanning the physical building to produce a point cloud. 

As the AGC Contractor’s Guide to BIM noted, a 2D conversion is not automatic. Proper planning and a road map should be established before starting the 2D conversion process.