3D Modeling - BIM - The Big D's of BIM

With new technology rapidly being developed, Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) has become popular in the construction delivery process.  As a result, BIM has grown exponentially as the central database containing all the building information, from the visual aesthetics to material properties of building system elements.  However, the BIM process goes beyond VDC and the construction lifecycle.  BIM has become popular with end users because of the benefits that are achievable during the lifecycle of the building.  Ultimately, it promises the owner reduced costs, reduced waste, improved quality in construction, shorter construction timeline, and cost benefits in asset management of the building.  These can be summarized in 6 Dimensions of BIM, which was previously designed by VICO Software. 

2D Drawings:  The initial design consists of traditional 2D drawings laying out dimensions and quantities of building elements and components.

3D Models:  This translates the 2D drawings into 3D which is what we are all use to viewing in the real world.  Not only does it become a good communication tool, but also a good coordination tool for trade conflict resolution and spatial design. 

4D Scheduling:  4D integrates the time element, and helps keep track of what building systems and components are going to be built and installed, planning material locations on site, and installation sequencing.  Ultimately, waste can be reduced, prevent delays, and optimize construction field planning.

5D Cost:  Another way to lower costs and keep track of where it is going is to integrate cost in the 4D process.  If a recourse must be made, various scenarios can be analyzed and predict the cost of each one.  Also, there is software that creates material schedules during the 3D modeling process so accurate costs be developed.

6D Facilities Management:  This is when the model is being used as a central database containing all the asset information such as equipment models and room locations.  This eliminates shelves of binders.

BIM City by Autodesk

The challenge of BIM is industry wide adoption and implementing it correctly.  When implemented correctly, it can truly streamline a process from design to construction to facility management.  BIM allows for endless potential in having a sustainable built environment.