What is BIM?

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process for managing the shared information produced for a development project forming a single data base for decisions during the life of the asset.    

BIM is where everyone involved with the project shares the one set of data, which is live and up to date. 

BIM is about collaboration and must involve all project participants clients, builders, consultants, suppliers and subcontractors, and regulators.  This means that a virtual building model is developed and information is collated from project participants and through the decision making processes of design, construction, and maintenance.   

BIM results in better productivity during all stages of an asset’s life.   BIM is underpinned by increasingly sophisticated information systems and traditional drawings, schedules, and other project deliverables are becoming applications of the model.  It is the first truly global digital construction technology currently being deployed in many countries.

Why BIM?

The main benefits of using BIM include (UK Cabinet Office BIM Strategy Paper, 2011; Stanford University Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering, 2007):

  • 20% reduction in build costs;
  • 33% reduction in costs over the lifetime of the asset;
  • Cost estimation accuracy within 3%;
  • Up to 80% reduction in time taken to generate a cost estimate;
  • Up to 40% elimination of unbudgeted change;
  • 47% to 65% reduction in conflicts and re-work during construction;
  • Savings of up to 10% of the contract value through clash detections;
  • Up to 7% reduction in project time.
  • 44% to 59% increase in overall project quality;
  • 35% to 43% reduction in risk, improved predictability;
  • 34% to 40% better performing completed infrastructure; and
  • 32% to 38% improvement in review and approval cycles.

Construction technology requires investment in systems and people but over the life of a project will deliver savings.