Let me google that for you....

Answering the 13 most asked questions about BIM

Heard about BIM but quite not sure what it is, means or does? We took a long, hard look at a search engine to see which BIM-related questions professionals tend to ask. Without further ado: here are the answers to your commonly asked questions.

What does BIM stand for?

BIM is short for Building Information Modelling. Easy!

In an ideological and practical sense: BIM stands for smarter use of information (data) to erect better and greener buildings faster.

What is BIM?

BIM is a digital building process where information (data) about every single component is collated and managed across the project team and the building’s lifecycle. Learn more about BIM in this webinar >

Who uses BIM?

BIM is used in the construction industry and forms a central bank of information for everyone included in the project. The people who participate in the process include architects, engineers, contractors, construction workers, quantity surveyors, clients, owners, developers and manufacturers – to name a few.

But name-dropping titles doesn’t equal adoption, right? True, but adoption is skyrocketing, too. Driven by private interest and the spread of BIM mandates for public projects, the percentage of BIM users are:

  • 44% in Europe (USP marketing research). Some nations, such as the UK, Denmark and The Netherlands boast higher numbers. The nationally collated number is expected to rise to 61% by 2025.
  • A 2020 report by the American Institute of Architects states that 51% of US architect firms use BIM for billable work. A whopping 100% of large firms claim to use it, and the number for smaller ones is 37%.
  • 56% of Japanese professionals have used BIM in their work (Autodesk & SB C&S株式会社).

But what does all of this mean? Well, an uptick in BIM adoption leads to greater demand for manufacturers to facilitate it. Here’s how>

Why is BIM important?

BIM is important for professionals in construction as it enables smoother workflows, smarter design decisions and better buildings. However, the benefits of BIM go far beyond the direct stakeholders.

See, the digital transformation of the building industry is important for the wellbeing of our planet and the people who inhabit it. So much so that the world leaders at COP26 dedicated a full day to discuss the built environment. But why's that? Because we can't handle the emerging uptick in building stock and the climate-eroding analogue buildings methods of today. BIM, on the other hand, offers data-driven predictability that enables us to build better buildings with fewer resources. 

How BIM helps sustainability

BIM can’t solve the climate crisis. But it can downsize the building industry’s carbon footprint. Quite a bit. Building information modelling enables specifiers to make smarter design decisions, simulate a project's environmental impact and detect clashes before the building’s built. 

Want more? Get the climate breakdown, explore solutions and find out how manufacturers can contribute in our e-book on why sustainability is key to getting specified.

Is BIM software or a process?

Building information modelling is always a process. Why? Because it requires a series of actions, analysis and cross-functional coordination to achieve the intended result.

However…

The process often requires BIM software to build the model and a source of digital components (BIM objects) to build it up.  Architects and engineers typically use the software during the design phase, and all other players will use the model throughout construction, maintenance and demolition. There are multiple BIM software out there, so it can be tricky to figure out which one(s) you should invest in first. This blog featuring data on 100 million file downloads might help you out a bit, though!

What is the process of BIM?

BIM is a process of deep digitisation. Building information modelling allows for better project information management, coordination and control. The process is often divided into 3 main phases: design, build and maintain. 

We’ve covered the construction phases (and how manufacturers can collaborate through them) in a recent e-book, but this infographic provides a smooth and easy overview:

Infographic of the stages in a digital building project from design to maintenance

Become a pro of the construction phases in this free (and form-free!) report.

What is BIM in construction?

BIM is the foundation of digital transformation in the construction industry. Through BIM, all stakeholders involved in a building project have equal and easy access to information about the building project.

BIM in construction gives architects, engineers, contractors and owners/operators (AECO) precise information about a building’s physical and functional components. Having all that data gathered in a single model enables professionals to mitigate clashes and make better (and greener!) design decisions before the shovel even hits the ground.

What is BIM used for?

BIM is used for uniting all stakeholders around construction data for smoother ideation and execution. maximise efficiency and minimise resource-draining construction errors.

If the search intent was to find examples of buildings BIM is used for, the answer would be as wide as the ocean. Almost.

BIM can be used for a wide variety of building projects. Most people associate the word “building” with structures that typically include walls, windows and doors – residential housing, skyscrapers or hospitals. But BIM is also widely used for other types of building such as bridges, metros and infrastructure projects. Heck, it can even be used for structural models of an amusement park.

Carriage on a ferris wheel

BIM for heritage

BIM is often talked about in the context of new builds. So, it’s easy to think that that’s the only way to use the digital building process.

If we slap an H on the acronym, we get HBIM: heritage/historic building information modelling, which is related to the restoration of existing buildings and structures. The resurrection of Notre Dame is a notable example of HBIM.

Want to know more about HBIM? Or find out why manufacturers are critical for project success? Don't miss out on this interview with Tommaso Tommasi, specialist in heritage architecture.

What are BIM objects?

BIM objects are digital representations of physical products which also contain other essential data such as product information, installation instructions, energy consumption, eco-labels, operating costs and product lifetime. BIM objects are often divided into two categories of data precision: generic and manufacturer-specific. Get more on generic vs manufacturer-specific content here.

Two chairs casting a shadow. Concept digital twins, bim objects

BIM objects are the building blocks of BIM projects. Without them, it’s impossible to create the model or provide the project team with pivotal project information such as the building’s environmental impact, energy efficiency or costs. In some nations, a lack of environmental data can determine whether the project even makes it past the planning stage. 

BIM is (slowly, but surely) moving from a luxury to a must. The same goes for manufacturers providing BIM objects to remain in the race towards specification.

How to create a BIM object?

There are several ways to create BIM objects. Or, well, two main methods: 

1. Insourcing content creation with the help of an internal task force. However, this can be rather bothersome as it requires tonnes of information and cross-functional coordination to create digital versions of each and every product. Plus, you need to understand your audience(s) and market(s) in order to invest in the file formats used.

2. Outsourcing your creation means that you skip most of the internal work and let external experts curate content for you. Albeit, outsourcing still requires some (but not as much) participation to get the data right. But, it saves time and ensures that the content created is up to par and aligns with what your potential clients need. 

Want to know how external BIM creation works? Get in touch with our BIM content creation services.

Regardless of the method, creating BIM content for your products is an investment for future demand, specifications and sales.

Is BIM the future?

Yes, BIM is the future. Other complimentary construction technologies will arise, surely. But the construction industry is struggling from low productivity and high costs (cash and climate). So, something’s gotta give. And if we look at the adoption rates and emerging policies; it will.

Want to go from newbie to master of BIM? Get your copy of our e-book: A manufacturer's guide to the key stakeholders in BIM projects.

Understanding the need for green building design

20 April 2022

What does green design entail? And how does an architect actually work with it? We had a chat with Negar Daneshpour, Lead Architect at Tyréns, to get her perspective on sustainable architecture, climate data and BIM.

Scroll to top