Defining the Levels of BIM

Below is a representation of the various “levels of BIM”.  That said, I don’t consider BIM to be anything but ” the life-cycle management of buildings supported by technology”.

The Levels of BIM - BIM Definition
BIM Framework - BIM for FM


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BIM – The New Standard of Care for AEC / AECOM . (Architecture, Engineering, ConstruBuilction, Operations, and Maintenance of the built environment)

Much has been said about BIM, and many misunderstand its core definition and purpose.

BIM is the process of  efficent  life-cycle management of  facilties and associated infrastructure, supported by digital technologies.

BIM is not IWMS, CPMS, CMMS, CAFM, BAS, GIS ….. , but the integration of these and other core knowledge domains within a collaborative enviroment… with Owners, Contractors, AEs, facility/infrastructure users, service providers, and oversight groups… sharing information via open, comment defintions, taxonomies, benchmarks, practices and standards.

Technology now allows for the relatively simple task of integrating multiple technologies and knowlege domains and enabling accurate, secure, and rapid access to detailed informations and decision support systems.  However, the REAL ISSUE is that the AEC / AECOM sector must change its “ad hoc” and traditionally unproductive ways of doing business.

The below BIM Framework, BIMF is a represetation of how the process side of BIM can be applied, with appropropriate customization, for any organization.   Expanded details of each component is readily available.    Also, it is important to become familiar with the following, if you are not current tracking these key initiatives/technologies/processes:  Cloud technology, COBIE, IFD, IFC, OMNICLASS, UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, STEP, reference cost books / guides, JOC / Job Order Contracting, IPD / Integrated Project Delivery, FCI / Facility Condition Index , SCI / System Condition Index …….,

BIM Framework - BIMF

Total Cost of Ownership Framework


Generic Information Model for BIM

Okay, so we all know that the AEC and/or AECOM industry is notoriously unproductive and that our lack of applied robust processes and supporting technology are largely tobblame.  We tend to reinvent the wheel, and to date have not embraced open communication or transparency.

BIM holds the promise to alter the “status quo” if process and technology are embraced as requisitie elements and facility/infrastructure construction and management information is gathered and maintained in a standardized manner to enable better decisionmaking.

The following graphic, shown before, illustrated the competencies and technologies that are invovled in life-cycle facility management, while the following discussion and attached paper deal with the issue of standardized information technology aspects.





Standardized facilty infomation-costs, scheduled, designs, component descriptions-is required to support better communcation, collaboration, and higher productivity within the AEC/AECOM sectors. 

A recent paper,  Generic AEC/FM Model: ISO 10303 AP241 at ISO TC184/SC4, 2008,  Inhan Kim, KyungHee University, addresses the topic of facilty management information interoperabilty quite well.   The paper proposes a “new”  model structure to represent facilities and their maintenance history based upon the AP241 core model.

Data interoperability requires using neutral data formats and reference data libraries.  An example of the latter would be reference cost data standardized via UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, COBIE, and OMNICLASS.

Longer term data archiving vis Open Standard STEP and STEP based Model Servers.

Combining the above with life-cycle “standards” and “metrics” such as the FCI (facilty condition index) and unit/system/ and sq.ft. life expectancy and cost data also help in the path toward the maintenance and reuse of historical facility information.

API241 Strategy


An enhancement to the API241 is noted in the paper as follows:



Considerations relative to all of the above and noted in the paper include:

Spatial structure of the AEC facility; Location of the elements that constitute an AEC facility; Making use of shape representation including two dimensional and three dimensional representations;General representation of properties; Classification of the elements and properties; Change Management; Association of approvals;Association of constraints; Maintenance and feedback of operational information concerning the AEC facility.

What is STEP?  STEPsi the standard for the exchange of product model data based upon a series of ISO standards – ISO 10303.   SEPT is intended to provide a mechanism that describes a complete and unambiguous product definition throughout the life cycle of a product, independent of any computer system.








STEP for BIM – Full Paper


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