The Levels of BIM – Defining BIM and BIM Strategy


A Framework for Change

The AEC’s sector transformation from disparate management practices and scattered silos of information will be greatly aided by the adoption of 3D/4D/5D object-oriented BIM software, common interoperability standards, integrated construction delivery business processes such as IPD and JOC, supporting technologies, and the growing awareness of life-cycle and total cost of ownership practices.

Many currently view BIM as a 3-dimensional representation of the built environment, primarily for use during the design and construction phases. This narrow focus is inconsistent with the definition of BIM – “Building Information Modeling is the process of generating and managing information about a building during its entire life cycle.”

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) notes the following about BIM. “The scope of Building Information Modeling (BIM) directly or indirectly affects all stakeholders supporting the capital facilities industry. BIM is a fundamentally different way of creating, using, and sharing building lifecycle data.” BIM is a digital software system and an open standards-based collaborative business process targeting life-cycle facility management. It includes: 3D (visualization); 4D (time-scheduling/life-cycle analysis); and 5D (cost-estimating/capital planning), which serve as a common, centralized repository/portal for all life-cycle building related information, from concept thru deconstruction.

The combination of standardized information and facilities management processes enables facility life-cycle and total cost of ownership management. BIM’s expansion to incorporate all facility life-cycle phases necessitates standardized business process, taxonomies, and data architectures. Interoperability and standardized content at all levels of granularity from building models to systems, subsystems, components, and individual units are required.

4Clicks COAA Article – BIMF – BIM Framework – BIM for FM

Exemplary efforts in this area include COBIE, IFC, and Ominclass. COBIE (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange), Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), OmniClass™ Construction Classification System (OmniClass or OCCS) are data models, definition, rules, and/or protocols intended to define data sets and information pertaining to capital facilities throughout their lifecycles. COBIE, for example, is a specification for capturing design and construction information for facility managers and operators in a digital format. The standardized data architecture was developed to replace the current ad hoc process of leaving disparate piles of paper documents and digital files behind after a contruction project is completed.  All of these standards promote the exchange/sharing of accurate and reusable building information.

Figure 2 – Building Information Management Framework (BIMF) illustrates the roles and integration of several of the complementary knowledge domains, processes and technologies that are components of a 4D/5D BIM strategy. These components include: master planning, capital planning and management systems (CPMS), design, cost estimating, procurement, construction delivery methods (IPD, JOC), construction, construction management, operations, maintenance, repairs, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), space planning and utilization (CAFM-computer-aid facility management), and deconstruction.

6 thoughts on “The Levels of BIM – Defining BIM and BIM Strategy

  1. Wonderful read. Figure 2 is brilliant. I wonder if a product can be made out of this.

    1. David, it is a nice figure. Except it leaves out one very important piece at the very center of the workflow diagram on the AEC process on any project. The bridge between the two control points of the CM/GC submittals of the project specs product and materials that build a project and the design gatekeeper on the other side that review those submittals (shops, samples, cut/data/product sheets, certs, MSDS, mock-ups and so on) to meet or exceed the minimum design elements, intent and requirements. BIMCloud as interesting term you have coined. Where are you in your business venture? James Ottar Grundvig at… james.4base@gmail.com

      1. James,

        Excellent point, however, I suggest that this is critical component of the collaborative process? Where would you incorporate in the graphic specifically?

  2. Peter –
    Came over from LinkedIn, and actually spent a few minutes studying this graphic, which I have looked at a number of times, but not really focused on. Since James did not come back to answer your question, I’ll take the opportunity ….
    I think James’s items are a “Competency” between the “Design” and “Build” Activities, and would call it “Submittal Review.”
    I also think that the Design Activity has competencies of
    “Problem Definition” (pre-programming), “Solution Definition” and “Solution Documentation”.
    I also think that the “Bid” competency should be broadened to include Proposal Evaluation, or perhaps broadened even more and renamed “Contractor Selection” (unless that is what “Procurement” implies). Procurement could apply to the owner’s procurement of a construction team, or to a contractor’s procurement of materials, etc.. Was not sure what is intended here in that respect.

  3. Each competency, activity, and supporting process has its own expansion. I would agree that design, for example has multiple components. Also, bid can be expanded. Viewed another way, bid is a component of the construction delivery method, as would be RFI, for example and other components. Procurement in this instance does refer to selection of team members and services.

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