Building Information Modeling For Dummies
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Building information modeling (BIM) is the beginning of a major shift in the way the built environment is designed, constructed, and operated, and you can be part of that revolution without needing to pay someone to do it for you.

With some key changes to the way you work, you can walk the BIM walk as well as talking the BIM talk. This Cheat Sheet helps you set some fundamental goals for your BIM journey so you can get a hold of the information to start and to make progress with BIM implementation.

BIM has many acronyms and it may feel as if BIM has a language of its own. After you know what they mean, you can be speak “BIM-ese” in no time!

Unlocking goals when starting BIM

At the beginning of your BIM journey, you should set a number of goals. These goals give you a clear sense of direction and indicate key milestones to achieve and that you can use to demonstrate your progress. Here’s a list of things you should know about BIM:

  • What it is: Be clear on what BIM is and what it isn’t. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and is a process for embedding digital representations of buildings and other built assets with lots of data and useful content for the whole lifecycle of a project’s use. It’s not just about software, hardware, or project management; it’s a combination of all these things and requires a behavioral change above all else.

  • What it can do: Consider what BIM can do for the construction industry, but more importantly, for you and your company. BIM is many things to different people. It can provide savings, certainties, and new efficiencies so various sectors have a lot to gain. From safer construction to better understanding of the built asset and what’s required to run it during its life, you can use BIM to develop clearer insight about the built environment.

  • What the potential return on investment is: BIM doesn’t need to be expensive. Although you’ll have some initial costs, think of BIM as a long-term resource for improving the work you do and the products you deliver. It’s not just about one project either; BIM will continue to deliver cost savings and competitive advantage as you become more skilled in applying the processes involved. You can get started now and develop longer-term strategies for when you need big-ticket items like additional resource, training, or technology infrastructure.

  • What requirements clients and companies have for BIM: The following can help:

    • Key outputs/formats: BIM is about collaboration and cooperating with other users of building information. It relies on you using open standards and formats that everyone can access and read, which may require you to change your processes. BIM is also about regular exchange of data at strategic points along the project timeline so that you can make informed decisions with your team and improve performance.

    • Key documents: BIM can seem quite complicated, but getting your head around the process mainly relies on some key standards and documents that the industry has produced to help you, many of which are free. Sometimes referring to these documents is a requirement for project delivery.

  • How to gear up to deliver BIM: Consider the following:

    • Influencing decision makers: You need to adopt a top-down approach to achieve buy-in from key individuals in your company with the ability to implement the change you want to see.

    • Implementing processes: You need to ensure that office protocols and management structures are in place to implement ideal BIM procedures.

    • Providing hardware: You need to have the technology and data infrastructure to support the BIM workflow and exchange information with clients and project teams.

    • Supplying software: You need appropriate tools and platforms to design, analyze, construct, and operate the built asset, including for the end users to understand the information within BIM.

    • Training people: You need to find out exactly what training requirements each person has for BIM. Some need to learn a new piece of software for modeling work, others may need to improve their strategic project management skills, or you may need training to keep your systems up-to-date. Supporting BIM users day to day can be the difference between BIM success and failure.

  • Where to gain insight from others: Staying in touch with what’s happening in the world of BIM is easy, because it’s a digital community with connections on social media and web forums all over the world. Also, you can attend face-to-face conferences to see demonstrations, case studies, and hands-on applications of BIM, and build your own knowledge. Find out about the future of the construction industry too, because when you can link BIM with sustainable, off-site manufacture and Internet-connected sensors you’ll be creating truly smart cities.

Your BIM acronym guide

The world of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is packed with acronyms. Keeping track of them when your company considers implementing BIM can be tricky.

Don’t know your BEP from your PIM? Take a look through the following list and familiarize yourself with the terms. You’ll be speaking like a BIM expert in no time!

2D: 2-dimensional

3D: 3-dimensional

4D: 4-dimensional (time)

5D: 5-dimensional (cost)

AEC: Architecture, engineering, and construction

AIM: Asset Information Model

AIR: Asset information requirements

AM: Asset management

API: Application programming interface

ASP: Application service provider

BAS: Building automation system

BCF: BIM collaboration format

BEP: BIM execution plan

BIM: Building Information Model(ing)

BIS: UK Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills

BMS: Building Management System

BS: British Standard

bSa: buildingSMART alliance

bsDD: buildingSMART Data Dictionary

bSI: buildingSMART International

BSI: British Standards Institute

CAD: Computer-aided design

CADD: Computer-aided design and drafting

CAFM: Computer-aided facility management

CAM: Computer-aided manufacture

CAPEX: Capital expenditure

CDE: Common data environment

CIC: Construction Industry Council

CMM: Capability Maturity Model

CMMS: Computerized Maintenance and Management System

COBie: Construction Operations Building information exchange

CPI: Coordinated project information

CPIx: Construction project information x-change

CR: Clash rendition

CSI: Construction Specifications Institute

DBB: Digital Built Britain

DfMA: Design for Manufacture and Assembly

DPoW: Digital Plan of Work

DMS: Document management system

EDMS: Electronic data management system

EIR: Employer’s information requirements

FM: Facilities management

GCS: Government Construction Strategy (UK)

GDL: Geometric Description Language

GIS: Geographical Information System

GSA: US Government Services Administration

GUID: Globally Unique ID (identifier)

HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning

IAI: International Alliance for Interoperability (now known as buildingSMART)

iBIM: Integrated Building Information Modelling

ICT: Information and communications technology

IDM: Information Delivery Manual

IFC: Industry Foundation Classes

IFD: International Framework for Dictionaries

IoT: Internet of Things

IPD: Integrated project delivery

IP: Intellectual property

IR: Information requirements

ISO: International Organization for Standardization

IaaS: Infrastructure as a service

IT: Information technology

KPI: Key performance indicator

LOD: Level of definition (UK) or level of model detail (US – level of development)

LOI: Levels of model information

MEP: Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing

MIDI: Master information document index

MIDP: Master information delivery plan

MPDT: Model production and delivery table

MVD: Model view definition

NBIMS: National Building Information Modeling Standard (US)

NBS: National Building Specification

NIBS: National Institute of Building Sciences (US)

O&M: Operations and maintenance

OIR: Organizational information requirements

OPEX: Operating expenditure

PaaS: Platform as a service

PAS: Publicly available specification

PDM: Project delivery manager

PIM: Project information model

PIP: Project implementation plan

PoW: Plan of works

PLQ: Plain language questions

POE: Post occupancy evaluation

PQQ: Pre-qualification questionnaire

R&D: Research and development

RM: Responsibility matrix

RFI: Request for information

RFID: Radio-frequency identification

ROI: Return on investment

SaaS: Software as a service

SPie: Specifiers’ properties information exchange

STEP: STandard for the Exchange of Product model data

TIDP: Task information delivery plan

Uniclass: Unified classification system

USACE: United States Army Corps of Engineers

VA: US Department of Veterans’ Affairs

VDC: Virtual design and construction

WBDG: Whole building design guide

WIP: Work in progress

XML: eXtensible markup language

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Stefan Mordue is a chartered architect, construction project manager, registered CDM coordinator, and NBS technical author. Paul Swaddle is a chartered architect, BIM futurist, and NBS business solutions consultant. David Philip is head of BIM at Mace and part of the HM Government Task Group Core BIM team.

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