Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"What is a BIM?"

This question is the first FAQ on the website of the Facility Information Council (FIC) describing the FIC's initiative to develop a National BIM Standard. I was intrigued because I usually hear the question asked as "What is BIM", not "What is a BIM?"

The FIC's definition of "a BIM" is elegant. It is simple and clear, and goes like this:

"Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a 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."

The concept of a "shared knowledge resource" is really the essence of BIM, it seems to me. But sometimes it is hard to describe clearly and simply what this means and why it is so important. Once again, the FIC does a good job:
"Digital representation means that computers can be used to 'build' the capital facility project virtually, view and test it, revise it as necessary, and then output various reports and views for purchasing, fabrication, assembly, and operations. In many cases paper output may be avoided altogether when the finalized digital designs are sent directly to procurement systems and/or digital fabrication equipment."

If indeed a facility can be "built" in this way, think of the errors, delays, costs and waste that can be avoided, not only in design and construction but just as important, throughout the life of the facility.

To read more about the development of a National BIM Standard, click here. (This entry published by Karen Estelle Carey, a member in the Real Estate and Construction practice area.)

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