BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a way of working which is set to revolutionise the way in which architects, designers and contractors work together and communicate with each other. By 2016, no matter what size of construction project it must be delivered using BIM if centrally procured by the Government, which will affect all parties of the supply chain.
According to the BIM Industry Working Group, BIM is described as data generated containing information on detailed dimensions, component-placement, material specifications, structural performance, fire rating, “U” values, and carbon content (both embedded and operational), cost, maintenance schedules and performance etc. In effect, a structure is built ‘virtually’ using these exact data-rich objects from which plans and drawings can be generated.
The group go on to say, a major value of BIM will be in the post-construction phase through the on-going management of assets for optimum value in space utilisation, running costs and energy/carbon reduction. BIM enables design and configuration options to be quickly and cheaply interrogated against performance requirements in order to reduce cost and increase the certainty of project outcomes. This is likely to be increasingly important, if not critical, as a design tool in relation to the energy efficiency requirements being placed on buildings.
However, with the UK Government’s target of BIM compliance by 2016 the BIM Industry Working Group has recognized this has to be a gradual process and has developed several stages to enable a concise understanding of the processes, tools and techniques to be used. Their strategy paper produced for the Government Construction Client Group, reporting to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, sets out three levels of BIM based on, level of technology used in the design of a building and the level of collaboration within the process. Level 0 describes a paper-based process with CAD drawings; level 1 is using CAD 2 or 3D format with separate tools to manage finance and costs with no integration; level 2, the level in by which is the target for 2016, sees separate disciplines create their own models but all project data is shared electronically in a common environment; level 3 is a fully open and integrated process with models shared between the project team on a web-enabled BIM hub.
BIM is designed to allow architects, designers and contractors to create, design and specify a whole range of buildings using digital representation, irrelevant of size or stature.
We have a range of products already created in a BIM format: