Building Information Modelling (BIM) can simply be defined as a process which involves the generating and management of virtual or digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of engineered structures in the field of construction. BIM incorporates the use of 3D modeling software which has the features to affect dynamic change, mimic or model real-time building constraints with the aim of increasing productivity for construction projects during the drafting stage. The use of BIM technology features heavily in building construction for it enables architects design a virtual model of a project prior to its actual physical construction. This model enables architects to work out problems, modify and make changes to building plans virtually thereby conserving its allocated budget.
How BIM Works
A BIM system is a platform which enables construction professionals (architects, engineers, project managers etc.) from different fields pull their design resources together to accomplish a given goal. Therefore it incorporates 3D modelling CAD software like ArchiCAD for modelling and data sets that provide detailed description of all objects in a design. It employs the use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC/ifcXML) for sharing documents in different formats between designers using the same platform. Therefore an architect can design a virtual structure which can be sent to the project manager, civil engineer etc. for a general cost and practicality evaluation of the project to be undertaken and to make changes when necessary.
BIM systems also utilizes Green Building XML (gbXML) tools for analyzing the energy specifications of a system such as its energy consumption rate, modeling energy systems and the possibility of installing sources of green energy to power a building. It is used in combination with energy simulation systems which can also be incorporated into the overall BIM system. The tools to be used in a BIM system are not fixed but are chosen for their abilities to accomplish a designated task and the users must consider features such as; a tool’s adherence to details, structural information of the building to be constructed etc. which would serve as data for the tools.
Benefits of BIM in Construction Management
Although most BIM systems are different and most developed countries have their standards/ techniques for the use of BIM tools such as , etc., a well built BIM system can accommodate these differences to allow for the sharing of information across boarders.
Managing Construction projects requires having all information available to the professional working on a particular building and BIM systems provide the perfect platform to share architectural designs and make changes that reduces the cost of building a structure. The broad nature of the tools needed in a BIM system also makes outsourcing an option for designers to help reduce the cost and time taken to develop a system.