Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process used during AEC projects, from the design phase to the construction phase. Not every construction project will use BIM, but those that do typically benefit from having a BIM execution plan, which links the work of many different specialties across architecture, engineering, and general contracting.
Think of BIM as a holistic process, with each element of a construction plan (such as windows, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) being defined not only by its own individual characteristics, but also in how it interacts with others.
An Example of BIM in Practice
Let’s say you are reviewing the construction of a room. Part of your BIM model will include:
- The specifications for the windows
- The specifications for the HVAC system
Windows always have a certain amount of heat-loss, but that value can be modified by the HVAC system. The BIM process is able to consolidate the technical details from these two specialties into a single model.
BIM in the Design Phase
During the design phase, BIM can be used to detect clashes. For example, the plumbing engineer expects a pipe to go from point A to B, but the structural engineer requires a load-bearing beam to take up space that crosses that pipe. Because both the plumbing and structural engineering plans are consolidated using BIM, both specialists can be made aware of this clash and make needed corrections, long before construction is underway.
BIM in the Construction Phase
And during the construction phase, BIM can be used to alert everyone to issues that occur on-site: from scheduling issues to new material requirements, and other challenges that a 2D or 3D plan could not have accounted for before breaking ground.