A Building Information Model (BIM) is an electronic representation of a construction project that has been virtually built and analysed, typically using 3D dynamic building modelling software by Project Team members, before the building is constructed on site.
Building Information Modeling allows the virtual design, construction and operation of a building by developing and testing a digital prototype in advance of its physical realisation, thus delivering greater cost certainty, eliminating error, improving programme duration and reducing risk.
The construction of this virtually built project involves, as the diagram below suggests, the sharing and co-ordination of digital information throughout its entire lifecycle, from early design through procurement and construction and beyond, into the operation and management stage, where the BIM is the end user’s FIM (Facility Information Model)
The larger implications of BIM are not just consistent drawings, cost estimation, bills of material and clash detection but because the building models are produced in the virtual world, it becomes practical to use the data they carry in many other ways like for energy, lighting, acoustic or heat loss analyses.
As a result of this process the Project Team can identify and resolve problems early in the design phase—when decisions can have the greatest impact on the construction phase. The owner will therefore benefit from reduced construction costs, shorter construction schedule, fewer change orders, less litigation, earlier occupancy, and reduced operating and maintenance costs.