Understanding What BIM is All About

20 November 2019

BIM data transforms static building blueprints into detailed 3D computer models. Fully cognizant of the fact that software-rendered buildings are not the same as true to life structures, an element of real-world physics holds sway inside these digital workspaces as well. So, with Building Information Modelling (B.I.M) software and services so widely available now, construction offices really can see just how the physical world affects an elaborately designed construct.

What Is BIM All About?

Sticking with a straightforward definition, Building Information Modelling uses collected site data and design plans to create a near real-world building model. After all of that information has then been crunched by a sophisticated computer program, the digitally converted 3D data generates a high-quality conceptualized representation of the structure. Now, since this is a computer model, not simply a 3D graphic, architects and engineers can make changes to the simulation to see how a structure will behave as its design is altered. Perhaps a design plan or shop drawing receives an amendment from an engineer. Without BIM simulacrums loaded on a computer, it might take weeks to see how those changes would affect the structure. With the model set up, the results of the design amendment become immediately clear. It’s the same with a change in building materials, a relocation of a load-bearing feature, or an alteration in the design that takes place way down at the foundations level.

Building Information Modelling As A 4D Toolkit

As fast as programmers can come out with new features, BIM is advancing at an incredible pace. Once perceived only as a way of digitally modelling structures, architects and engineers now demand more from the software. That’s why modern BIM applications are viewed as whole-project lifecycle systems. The software processes input data from construction sites, adds fabrication drawings and plan amendments, then concludes by creating a series of intricate 3D drawings in the software’s workspace. Only, that’s not the end. There are options to take the real-world data and create simulations. Material changes, project construction logistics, end-project maintenance costs and down-the-road renovation schedules, all of these tools and services become viable when a 3D model is plugged into a time-based software simulation.

Going by a dictionary definition, BIM uses architect plans, engineering drawings, and real-world data to generate a series of physically accurate, physics-governed 3D computer models. In wireframe mode or sharp colour, the graphics paint a complex picture. Those virtual constructs can be manipulated. Materials are altered, fabricated assets are swapped out, and load-bearing features are moved. Thanks to the real-world data behaving in a real-world manner, those changes are accurately reflected in the model. Beyond this commonly upheld definition, however, there’s a whole other layer of construction-oriented logistics being processed. Scheduling, construction site fabrication services and more, there’s room for all of these features in the latest state-of-the-art BIM software.