what is Building Information Modeling

What is BIM | Building Information Modeling?

The process of designing, developing, and operating buildings collaboratively using a shared 3D model and a data-driven approach is known as building information modeling, or BIM. A variety of stakeholders, including owners, architects, MEP engineers, structural engineers, and contractors, utilize building information modeling (BIM) to design buildings. Homes, apartments, hotels, resorts, restaurants, hospitals, and government buildings are among the commercial and residential structures that employ building information modeling technologies. 

Why is BIM Used?

BIM helps to improve the efficiency and collaboration of the design, construction, and operation process. As construction teams often work in phases in the traditional design and construction process, crucial details from earlier stages of a project are often forgotten as they move on to the next. By adopting BIM there is a continuous flow of data that are interoperable.  This is why BIM mandates are increasing across the globe.

Source:- What is BIM used for? (Autodesk)

Why is BIM Important?

BIM is a crucial tool in the construction industry since it can enhance every part of a building or renovation project. Building information modeling facilitates the use of digital tools for collaboration between design, construction, and engineering teams.

Overall, the outcomes improve as a result of this. You can save both time and money in the process. With better lines of visualization and communication established between all parties involved, the construction process can proceed more quickly and efficiently.

BIM timeline: From concept to usage

Note: We can integrate this point, “difference between CAD and BIM,” under this sub-header.  

The concept of BIM itself came from CAD in the 1960s. One cannot make a clear distinction as to when BIM actually came into prominence, as it was part of the CAD refinement process.

Let us understand this with an infographic about how CAD is involved in BIM.  

💢 Timeline of BIM history

1957: Pronto, the first commercial computer-aided machining (CAM) software
1963: Sketchpad, CAD with graphical user interface
1975: Building Description System (BDS)
1977: Graphical Language for Interactive Design (GLIDE)
1982–2D CAD
1984—Radar CH
1986: Really Universal Computer-Aided Production System (RUCAPS)
1988: Pro/Engineer
1992—Building Information Model as an official term
1993: Building Design Advisor
1995—International Foundation Class (IFC) file format
1997: ArchiCAD’s Teamwork
2002: Autodesk buys Revit
2003—Generative Components
2004: Revit 6 update
2006—Digital Project
2007: Autodesk buys NavisWorks
2008—Parametricist Manifesto

Note: BIM is CAD software specified for building design and coordination purposes. 

Is AutoCAD a BIM?

CAD is Computer Aided Design. Simply described, CAD is the use of computers to aid in the design drafting process. Autodesk Revit and other BIM tools are CAD applications, but the term is more commonly associated with drafting software. Using a drafting program like AutoCAD to produce lines and arcs to represent a building design is exactly what is meant by “Computer Aided Design” (CAD) in the context of architectural practice. 

AutoCAD is a design drafting software, while Revit is Building Information Modeling software. In contrast to AutoCAD, which is more of a generic drafting software, Revit is a design and documentation solution that can be used for any stage and any type of building project to create building information models. 

How does BIM work?

BIM software is all about creating three-dimensional (3D) objects, which could be used to analyze design intent from various positions and perspectives. 

Also Read: Which Bim Software Is Better – Archicad Or Revit?

Then comes the detailing beyond the 3D model; this is where BIM differentiates itself from CAD. CAD software is designed for generic design and rendering requirements, while BIM is specifically streamlined for building design and documentation requirements.

BIM is populated with data that describes various specifications, such as: 

  • Geometry 
  • Materials 
  • Systems. This data can further be utilized to produce 
  • Orthographic projections 
  • Energy analysis reports 
  • Construction schedules 
  • Assets’ documentation

Ultimately, BIM aims to deploy intelligent insights into the tangible aspects of a building. These insights are generally coordinated among stakeholders early in the design phase to minimize future issues and maximize the performance of the building. 

💢 Four Pillars of BIM technology

Four Pillars of BIM technology

For BIM, always consider the four significant factors given below: 

  • Policy 
  • People 
  • Technology 
  • Process

The true value of BIM is achieved when all four elements are integrated harmoniously, establishing a solid foundation of understanding within BIM adoption. 

To get the best utilization of these very same four pillars of BIM technology, read this.

Important terminologies to know in BIM

To properly comprehend the working of BIM, you need to understand some of the important terminologies/components associated with it.  The goal of establishing BIM levels is to evaluate the quality of information sharing and management throughout the project.

💢 What are the various Levels of BIM?

The needed service level is determined by using the BIM Level of Development (LOD). An industry standard that describes how the 3D geometry of the building model may reach various degrees of refinement. These development models are specifically made for use in different phases of design, 3D visualization, amounts appropriate for building, scheduling, estimates, on-site production control, and fabrication. 

  • The LOD 100 level involves defining a conceptual model, which includes parameters like area, height, volume, location, and orientation. 
  • The LOD 200 level involves general modeling with schematic design, 3D modeling, spatial coordination, initial energy analysis, and preliminary cost estimation. 
  • The LOD 300 level involves accurate modeling and detailed design, including precise quantities, size, shape, location, and orientation. 
  • The LOD 350 level includes greater detail and construction documentation, including detailed 3D models, construction documents, and cost estimation. 
  • The LOD 400 stage represents specific assemblies 
  • The LOD 500 level models are constructed assemblies for operations and maintenance.


To know more about BIM level of development, read our detailed blog on the same.

💢  Objects

BIM objects & Revit Families

Image Source: Google

A Building Information Modeling (BIM) object is a digital representation of a building product in a digital environment that integrates object geometry and product information. The BIM object is mainly related to graphical data and performance issues. The BIM object information includes some or all the following: 

  • technical information 
  • materials 
  • colors 
  • finishes 
  • geometries 
  • certifications 
  • specification items 
  • manufacturer links 
  • commercial information

BIM objects are available in specific forms like Revit or Archicad or in open data formats like IFC, which allows for the exchange of geometric and non-geometrical data between AEC and FM applications.

However, IFC’s performance needs improvement. BIM objects can be generic or specific and can be material or component objects. Generic objects lack specific information about function or performance, while specific objects include associated data and parameters. 

💢 Dimensions

BIM dimensions are layers of information or data integration within a BIM model, adding complexity and detail to the modeling process. They enhance the BIM model’s usefulness throughout a structure’s lifecycle.

BIM dimensions don’t just represent physical building components but also manage behind-the-scenes aspects like schedule, cost, and operations, making them more useful throughout a project’s lifecycle. 

  • 3D modelling – Modeling and visual representation data.
  • 4D time-related infoSequencing construction using Gantt charts and timetables.
  • 5D cost analysisCost control, estimating building costs, etc. 
  • 6D life cycle and maintenanceThe planning and oversight of maintenance tasks throughout the course of a building’s lifetime is known as facility management.
  • 7D sustainabilityImpact studies on social, economic, and environmental sustainability. 

Three “new dimensions of BIM” are now being discussed in addition to the seven previously listed ones. These are: 8D, which is for safety during design and construction; 9D, which stands for lean construction; and 10D, which stands for construction industrialization. 

BIM Standards

A BIM standard is a set of rules, procedures, and best practices that guarantee the creation and efficient use of BIM models. Many BIM standards have been produced by different groups; some of these standards are not required by law.

Still, a lot of people may utilize such guidelines as a guide for best practices and quality in the building sector. Establishing standards paves the way for a more expansive digital infrastructure, which benefits stakeholders by facilitating more effective project positioning. 

Application of BIM in various industries

BIM Application in various industries | Building Information Modeling

 How BIM could be useful for different sector. Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D model-based process to efficiently design, construct, and manage buildings, fits into different sectors of building design.

💢 BIM for the Homebuilding Sector

BIM allows parametric changes in design, facilitating fast and accurate design and drafting. It facilitates accurate BOQs, facilitates easy collaboration among stakeholders, improves communication, and provides detailed visuals for renovation and property sales, contributing to greater ROI.

  • Customization: BIM allows for customization in home designs, catering to the unique preferences and needs of homeowners. 
  • Cost Control: By providing accurate quantity take-offs (BOQs), BIM helps in better cost estimation and control throughout the construction process. 
  • Construction Sequencing: BIM aids in visualizing construction sequencing, enabling builders to optimize workflows and minimize delays. 
  • Sustainability Integration: BIM facilitates the integration of sustainable design features, such as energy-efficient systems and materials, enhancing the overall environmental performance of homes.

💢 BIM for the Retail Sector

BIM technology aids in creating accurate retail design drawings, bills of materials, and 3D renders, crucial for client approvals. It provides detailed 3D representations of brand features, supports decision-making for product placement, can be quickly edited, and is cheaper than physical models. 

  • Visual Merchandising: BIM assists in visual merchandising planning, allowing retailers to optimize product displays for maximum impact. 
  • Space Optimization: Retailers can use BIM to optimize store layouts, ensuring efficient use of space and enhancing the shopping experience. 
  • Customer Experience Enhancement: BIM-generated 3D renders help retailers better communicate design concepts to clients, improving client satisfaction and reducing misunderstandings.
  • Inventory Management: BIM can be integrated with inventory management systems, enabling retailers to better track and manage stock levels within their stores.

💢 BIM for the Engineering Sector

BIM data aids MEP engineers in clash detection, reducing costs and time. It simplifies creating shop drawings for building services systems, enables remote collaboration with BIM Collaborate Pro, and allows easy identification of energy consumption in 3D models.

  • Maintenance Planning: BIM data can be utilized for predictive maintenance planning, helping engineers anticipate and address potential issues before they occur. 
  • Safety Analysis: BIM facilitates safety analysis by providing detailed models that allow engineers to identify and mitigate potential safety hazards in construction projects. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Engineers can use BIM to ensure compliance with building codes and regulations, reducing the risk of costly fines or delays during the construction process. 
  • Asset Management: BIM supports asset management throughout the lifecycle of engineering projects, enabling engineers to track and manage infrastructure assets more effectively.

💢 BIM for the infrastructure sector 

BIM is changing the infrastructure sector by centralizing data, facilitating collaboration and communication, and enabling efficient design as per cost.

With a dynamic BIM-data workflow, organizational bodies working on infrastructure can make intelligent decisions backed by data simulation. 

  • Risk Mitigation: BIM enables infrastructure stakeholders to identify and mitigate risks early in the project lifecycle, reducing the likelihood of costly delays or overruns. 
  • Stakeholder Engagement: BIM facilitates stakeholder engagement by providing visualizations that help communicate project goals and impacts to a wide range of stakeholders. 
  • Optimized Operations: BIM can be used to optimize the operation and maintenance of infrastructure assets, reducing lifecycle costs and enhancing overall efficiency. 
  • Data-driven Decision Making: With BIM-generated data, infrastructure organizations can make informed, data-driven decisions that improve project outcomes and maximize return on investment. 

Future Trends in BIM

The benefits of BIM are evident, ranging from enhanced efficiency to better collaboration. But what is ahead for us when it comes to BIM?

And what new developments in technology and trends need to concern AEC professionals? Let’s examine some of the most recent advancements in the BIM industry in more detail.

💢 Cloud-based BIM technology

Cloud-based BIM technology

Cloud-based Building Information Modeling (BIM) offers benefits such as increased collaboration, accessibility, and real-time updates. It enables stakeholders to access and update BIM models from anywhere, enhancing collaboration and seamless project work.

Manufacturers can benefit from this trend by ensuring their products are available on cloud-based BIM platforms. As cloud-based technology becomes more widespread, the construction industry is expected to see even greater collaboration and accessibility.

💢 The Rise of Digital Twins

Digital twins are revolutionizing the construction industry by providing real-time data on physical assets, enabling better decision-making, optimizing performance, and predicting maintenance needs.

They accurately simulate and predict product operational aspects, reducing waste, rework, and speeding up the design process, while also identifying potential bottlenecks before they occur.

💢 BIM and prefabrication

The growing trend of prefabrication, a process of building components off-site and assembling them on-site, is facilitated by Building Information Modeling (BIM).

BIM allows manufacturers to create digital models that integrate into the building model, increasing efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration. Prefabrication is particularly popular in the Netherlands, where it has resulted in faster and more effective construction processes.

💢 Automation and BIM

Automation in construction is revolutionizing BIM by using digital processes, robots, and applications to perform tasks with minimal human input.

This technology reduces safety hazards and improves collaboration with stakeholders. Automation technologies like robotics, sensors, and AI streamline production, improve product quality, and provide flexibility for construction professionals. 

💢 The Internet of Things (IoT)

BIM focuses on building better, faster, and greener. IoT and sensors can provide valuable insights into construction projects, automate maintenance and repair tasks, and improve product design.

By integrating IoT data with BIM software, manufacturers can better understand construction professionals’ needs and create better products that meet competitive customer needs, ultimately improving service and efficiency.

💢 Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the construction industry by analyzing project data and providing insights into product performance. This technology can improve quality control, predict delays, and optimize design and construction processes. AI-powered tools like chatbots can also help customers and stakeholders get quick answers, reducing their workload.

AI can also identify areas for cost, efficiency, and sustainability improvements in materials and building components. Collaboration with manufacturers with a shared vision is crucial for successful AI integration.

💢 Virtual augmented reality

Augmented reality technologies are revolutionizing BIM processes in the construction industry, allowing stakeholders to visualize and interact with BIM data. These technologies enable faster examination of large-scale 3D models, providing a comprehensive view of the design and development process.

Future advancements will enhance BIM modeling, showcasing products and designs to customers, improving collaboration, reducing errors, and enhancing project quality.

BIM is the need of the hour when it comes to your construction design and coordination projects. If you are still stuck on your 2D projection sheets and 3D drawings with no dimensional intelligence, then you are missing a lot of the capabilities of BIM.

All you need is an established BIM workflow for your AEC projects to make the most of it, and before that, you need a reliable BIM partner.

Further Reading
Open BIM: Concept and Advantages Explained in Detail
BIM for Real Estate Management
Cloud BIM Design Collaboration: Everything You need to Know
2D 3D 4D 5D 6D BIM Level and Dimensions Explained
Building Information Modelling for Heritage (HBIM)
COBie & its Relation to BIM | COBie Modeling Services
BIM and GIS Integration Applications & Benefits

Most Requested BIM Services (Deliver high-quality projects faster with us)

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