What Is BIM?

Jul 7, 2016
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BIM, or Building Information Modelling is a broad term that is the process of creation and management of digital information about “assets” , a catch-all term given to things such as buildings, bridges, highways, and tunnels. BIMs are files which can be extracted, exchanged or networked to support decision making regarding a building, or other asset. BIM is a common thing within the industry, used by individuals, North Wales Civil Engineering and British construction as a whole, not to mention government agencies who plan, design, construct and operate diverse physical infrastructures based upon BIM.


As the US National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee says; “Building Information Modelling is the digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM 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.”
Essentially, BIM exists as a virtual information model to be handed from the design team (architects, surveyors, civil, structural, and building engineers) to the main contractor, subcontractors and then to the project operator, with each professional adding discipline-specific data to the single model, the intention to reduce information loss that would traditionally occur when a new team takes ownership of the project, as well as providing more extensive information to owners of complex structures.


The concept has existed since the 1970s, and while a physical version of BIM has showed to be a relatively new technology in an industry that typically is slow to adopt change, the future’s looking bright. It’s not a concept wholly relevant to North Wales and the UK at large though. BIM initiatives exist within Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa and the Pacific, and has the advantage of improved visualization, improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information, increased coordination of construction documents, embedding and linking of vital information, increased speed of delivery and reduced costs.


BIM also contains most of the data needed for building energy performance analysis. Building properties in BIM can be used to create input files for energy simulation, therefore saving a significant amount of time and effort. Given the push toward green housing, BIM certainly has more than a slight application in this field, making it’s purpose to modern day civil engineering profound and myriad.

Image Credit: Alan Levine | CC BY 2.0

Posted by | Categories: Construction, Industrial |

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