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Building Information Modeling

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of creating and managing a building’s construction and design data during the life cycle of the building.

The essence of BIM is the construction of a building model in 3D computer space out of virtual elements which are themselves models of physical elements (like doors, windows, beams, columns and studs). The computer understands these individual elements. This is in comparison to non-BIM CAD drawings, which are made out of lines, rectangles and arcs, all of which have geometric significance to the computer but nothing more.

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BIM also includes the definition of spatial relationships between elements of the building. For instance, if a door is defined to be in the middle of a wall and the wall’s length is decreased, the door will move automatically to be in the center.

A consequence of this is that the software also prevents clashes from being introduced (e.g., a steel beam shown entering into another steel beam). This makes the model more accurate and all views absolutely consistent.

Popular BIM software also stores extensive information on each building element type. For instance, for a brick wall, it would store the size of a brick, its density, the names of approved brick vendors, the cost per brick, the weight of cement needed for fixing each brick and the minutes of labor required for its fixing.

Using such information stored for every element type, the BIM software could deliver, in a few clicks, the material takeoff for the project with estimated cost and the time taken for construction.

But BIM does by no means end with material takeoffs. If mechanical, electrical and plumbing elements are also modeled, BIM can additionally provide simulations of energy and water consumption over the long term. It can be used to study the impact of various hardware configurations on these consumptions to arrive at an optimally efficient design.

Finally, one of the most important benefits conferred by BIM is that the software provides a platform for collaboration between the architect, the engineers, the builder and the owner. They can all be involved with the building model from the start through to completion of the building. Any anomalies along the way will be virtually apparent and can be virtually remedied, then implemented on the ground, clearly a less expensive method than constructing the building and making corrections in the real world.

Creating information-rich 3D models has long been part of the design methodology of large manufacturing companies producing complex goods such as planes or cars. The 3D model is used as the basis for the various stages in the product life cycle. The model is passed from the design department to estimation, to procurement, to manufacturing and then to after-sales support. Views of the model are even sometimes used in the operating manuals as well.

BIM is the way the AEC industry is going, albeit slowly, and will ultimately make buildings more efficient, less expensive and easier to build.

If you are an architect or builder, TMG would be only too happy to create and maintain your BIM model. Message us below saying you would like to discuss your specific needs further and we will get back to you on a priority basis.

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