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BIM Definition

In the last several years building information modeling (BIM) has caught more and more attention by public and private organizations. Many national construction industries worldwide are increasingly demanding the use of BIM, often together with complimentary novel management methods, for delivery of their construction projects. This demand by the industry is reflected in the Smart Market Report published by Young et al., (2009) in following words: "Your career and the prosperity of your company depend on becoming familiar with the tools, processes and value propositions of BIM." But what is BIM? Authors, specialists and scientists word the definition differently depending on their position in construction process. However they all talk about the same concept – collaboration. In general BIM simplifies the creation, organization, implementation and maintenance of building information in single common collaborative platform. BIM makes construction process in general more effective by providing means for making informed decisions and efficient in terms of double handling of information. BIM is common language for the AEC/OM industry.

buildingSMART’s© official definitions for BIM:
Building Information Modelling: Is a BUSINESS PROCESS for generating and leveraging building data to design, construct and operate the building during its lifecycle. BIM allows all stakeholders to have access to the same information at the same time through interoperability between technology platforms.
Building Information Model: Is the DIGITAL REPRESENTATION of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onwards.
Building Information Management: Is the ORGANIZATION & CONTROL of the business process by utilizing the information in the digital prototype to effect the sharing of information over the entire lifecycle of an asset. The benefits include centralized and visual communication, early exploration of options, sustainability, efficient design, integration of disciplines, site control, as built documentation, etc. – effectively developing an asset lifecycle process and model from conception to final retirement.

BIM Element/Object

Models are created by using BIM elements, which carry that include necessary information about the facility, construction and maintenance. Often BIM element, component, family and object are used as synonyms. As a matter of project documentation BIM element is a cohesive presentation of building information. Not common to Estonia, manufacturers usually develop BIM elements with required information and make them available for different BIM applications like Revit, ArchiCAD and Tekla. For example see Figure 2, which describes the attributes added to the window element.

Figure 2. An example of window attributes

BIM Principles

Applications that support following principles are considered BIM tools:
Parametric elements/objects - intelligent BIM elements with necessary information and properties that drive the functionality of the element. This means that element knows what it is and how to behave in different contexts; e.g. when you delete wall in model, all inserted windows and doors must disappear as well as they can not exist without its host element.
Solid modelling – it is the concept of the computer graphics for presenting physical elements digitally including their properties, meaning that besides all other information elements contain volume.
Common Database – common database for building information that single or multiple applications can access and use through using open file formats. Practically, this means, changes in one view must be propagated through all other views of the building model.
Model base simulations – BIM models must be usable for various kinds of simulations such as structural, energy efficiency and other analysis.
Support Collaboration – BIM applications must support the exchange of information between various applications to allow the communication between different AEC/OM specialists by using open file formats such as Industry Foundation Classes.