BIM Guide for Owners – Building Information Management, Model, Modeling

Citation – Some excepts and content from: Computer Integrated Construction Research Program. (2013). “BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners”. Version 2.0, June, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.

The Architectural, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) Industry has a critical need for facility owners to understand and communicate their goals for implementing BIM throughout the life-cycle of a facility/built structure so that teams can produce the information during a project that will add value to the owner’s business operations.  


Building Information Management, Model and Modeling


BIM is a term which represents three separate but linked functions:

Building Information Management: Is the ORGANIZATION & CONTROL of the business process by utilizing the information in the digital prototype to effect the sharing of information over the entire lifecycle of an asset. The benefits include centralized and visual communication, early exploration of options, sustainability, efficient design, integration of disciplines, site control, as built documentation, etc.–effectively developing an asset lifecycle process and model from conception to final retirement.

Building Information Model: Is the DIGITAL REPRESENTATION of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle from inception onwards.

Building Information Modeling: Is a BUSINESS PROCESS for generating and leveraging building data to design, construct and operate the building during its lifecycle. BIM allows all stakeholders to have access to the same information at the same time through interoperability between technology platforms.

From a BIM planning perspective there are multiple levels to be considered: 

• STRATEGIC PLANNING to assess existing organizational conditions; align BIM
goals and objectives with desired BIM Uses and maturity level; and develop a tran
sition plan for BIM implementation;
• IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING to develop the detailed implementation plan
within the operations of the organization; and
• PROCUREMENT PLANNING to identify key issues to consider when creating
BIM contract requirements.

In reality however, one could easily argue that it is the construction delivery method that dictates the overall success or failure of a project.  Furthermore, collaborative construction delivery methods (examples being IPD – Integrated Project Delivery for major new construction, and JOC – Job Order Contracting for repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction) are probable requirements.  The construction delivery method impacts virtually all aspects of BIM PLANNING ELEMENTS.


Defines the BIM goals and objectives; assesses change readiness; and considers management and resource support.
Identifies the methods in which BIM will be implemented for generating, processing, communicating, executing, and managing information about the owner’s facilities.
Describes the means to accomplish the BIM Uses by documenting the current methods, designing new processes
leveraging BIM, and developing transition plans
Documents the information needs of the organization, including the model element breakdown, level of development, and facility data.
Determines the technology infrastructure to support BIM including computer software, hardware, networks, and physical workspaces.
Establishes the roles, responsibilities, education, and training of the active participants in the BIM processes established.

As might be expected, CHANGE MANAGEMENT is central to successful BIM implementation.



Another important consideration it the type and granularity of information required at this stage of your life-cycle management strategy.


Another way to look at things is the “level of maturity” of your overall BIM process.  This concept incorporates consideration of construction delivery methods, granularity of content, and other factors into some form of rating mechanism.


Another critical aspect is clear definition of terms!   BIM is an evolving discipline so it is critical to define every important term.  Below is  just a short list of terms that should be included in any BIM related project…with clear definitions.

• BIM Champion/Manager
• BIM Project Execution Plan
• BIM Use
• Design Model
• Fabrication Model
• Facility Data
• Federated Model
• Level of Development
• Project Team
• Record Model





LOD – Level of Development – BIM – Life-cycle

Level of development (LOD) relative to the life-cycle management of the built environment (BIM) should have a solid framework relative to ONTOLOGY.  Ontology is the standardized usage/definition of terms and their associated inter-relationships.

While the definition of “life-cycle” has many permutations, and is likely to undergo ongoing improvement, the relationship to LOD needs to be  developed in parallel.

via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

RIBA LOD Work Plan 2013 RIBA LOD USACE LOD - Element Grade USACE LODBig Data - BIM

BIM Level of Development Specification – LOD

LOD Spec 2013

The Level of Development (LOD) Specification as created and presented by ” is a reference that enables practitioners in the AEC Industry to specify and articulate a high level of clarity the content and reliability of Building Information Models (BIMs) at various stages in the design and construction process. The LOD Specification utilizes the basic LOD definitions developed by the AIA for the AIA G202-2013 Building Information Modeling Protocol Form1 and is organized by CSI Uniformat 2010. It defines and illustrates characteristics of model elements of different building systems at different Levels of Development. This clear articulation allows model authors to define what  their models can be relied on for, and allows downstream users to clearly understand the usability and the limitations of models they are  receiving.  The intent of this Specification is to help explain the LOD framework and standardize its use so that it becomes more useful as a
communication tool. It does not prescribe what Levels of Development are to be reached at what point in a project but leaves the  specification of the model progression to the user of this document. To accomplish the document’s intent, its primary objectives are:

  • To help teams, including owners, to specify BIM deliverables and to get a clear picture of what will be included in a BIM deliverable
  • To help design managers explain to their teams the information and detail that needs to be provided at various points in the design process
  • To provide a standard that can be referenced by contracts and BIM execution plans.

It should be noted that this Specification does not replace a project BIM Execution Plan (BIMXP), but rather is intended to be used in  conjunction with such a plan, providing a means of defining models for specific information exchanges, milestones in a design work  plan, and deliverables for specific function,”

Download 2013 LOD Specification

LOD is sometimes interpreted as Level of Detail rather than Level of Development. There are important differences.
Level of Detail is essentially how much detail is included in the model element.

Level of Development is the degree to which the
element’s geometry and attached information has been thought through – the degree to which project team members may rely on the  information when using the model. In essence, Level of Detail can be thought of as input to the element, while Level of Development is reliable output.

Fundamental LOD Definitions 
LOD 100 The Model Element may be graphically represented in the Model with a symbol or other generic representation, but does not satisfy the requirements for LOD 200. Information  related to the Model Element (i.e. cost per square foot, tonnage of HVAC, etc.) can be  derived from other Model Elements.
LOD 200 The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a generic system, object, or assembly with approximate quantities, size, shape, location, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 300 The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a specific system, object or assembly in terms of quantity, size, shape, location, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 350 The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a specific system, object,  or assembly in terms of quantity, size, shape, orientation, and interfaces with other building  systems. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 400 The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a specific system, object  or assembly in terms of size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation with detailing,  fabrication, assembly, and installation information. Non-graphic information may also be  attached to the Model Element.
LOD 500 The Model Element is a field verified representation in terms of size, shape, location,  quantity, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model  Elements.
Example – light fixture:
100 cost/sf attached to floor slabs
200 light fixture, generic/approximate size/shape/location
300 Design specified 2×4 troffer, specific size/shape/location
350 Actual model, Lightolier DPA2G12LS232, specific size/shape/location
400 As 350, plus special mounting details, as in a decorative soffit