Building Information Modelling- The Future of FM?
BIM is talked about a lot in the building industry, but what is it, what is it used for and who should use it?
Some say BIM is a type of software. Some say BIM is the 3D model of buildings. Others say BIM is a process or that BIM is nothing more than an organised collection of all building data. BIM is actually all of the above and more.
When it comes to BIM, everything begins with a 3D digital building model. However, this model is more than just simple geometry and interesting textures added to it for visualisation. A true BIM model consists of the virtual equivalents of the actual building sections used to create a building.
These intelligent elements are the digital prototype of the physical building elements such as walls, columns, windows, doors, stairs etc. that allow us to simulate the building and understand its behaviour before the actual construction begins.
The most basic use of a BIM model is for creating realistic visualisations of the planned building. Your BIM model helps your design decisions by comparing various design alternatives and for ‘selling’ your design to your client, the local community and other stakeholders.
Since data is stored in a central place in a BIM model, any modifications to the building design will be automatically replicated in each view, such as floor plans, sections and elevations. This not only helps in creating the documentation faster, but also provides stringent quality assurance by automatic coordination of the different views.
BIM models contain more than just architectural data; information about the different engineering disciplines, sustainability information and other characteristics can be easily simulated well in advance of actual construction.
BIM contains information that is not visually represented at all. Scheduling information for example clarifies the necessary manpower, coordination and anything that might affect the outcome of the project schedule. Cost is also part of BIM that allows us to see what the budget or estimated cost of a project might be at any given point in time during the project.
Needless to say, the data put in a BIM model is not only useful during the design and construction phase of a building project, but can be used throughout the entire building lifecycle, helping to reduce the operation and management cost of buildings, which is significantly more than the entire cost of construction.
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