What Is Building Information Modeling?


Building a new commercial property requires thoughtful planning to meet all the operational requirements and conveniences modern businesses need. Fortunately, advancements in computer science have enabled building owners to use design programs such as BIM CAD to create cohesive building designs. Learn more about these design techniques, including the benefits of using these techniques to design your company building.

What Is Building Information Modeling?

BIM or building information modeling is a form of building design that utilizes advanced computer programming to more easily incorporate various systems into a single design plan. Specifically, this form of building design allows for open collaboration between different experts to create a cohesive building design with multiple data models.

BIM first starts with a conceptual stage that gathers all information needed to complete a building design, which is strengthened by insights from experts from different fields. After the conceptual design has been established, the BIM plan is converted into actionable information that is used to guide construction projects. Using BIM technology is the fastest and most efficient way to design a building.

What Type of Information Is Used for BIM?

BIM design uses a wide selection of information during the conceptual phase to create a collaborative building design. Some of this information will include details about materials used for construction, geographical and spatial information, financial information, material procurement information, and logistical or operational information about how construction projects will be completed.

How Is Collaborative Information Shared?

The information used to create the BIM design is generally shared through a cloud-based common data environment or CDE. This is the preferred information-sharing model that is used throughout all stages of construction and building development. By allowing multiple experts to access the common data environment, construction crews, architects, and building owners can have crucial insight into every stage of the construction project.

More importantly, this collaborative information can also be accessed throughout the building’s lifetime, including stages such as contract renewals or renovations. The common data environment can be easily transferred to new building owners after construction is complete.

What Are BIM Levels?

Building information modeling has several levels that can be used for different types of projects. Although BIM design is typically used by larger teams to collaborate on construction projects, the type of project being completed and the stage of the construction project will influence the BIM level of collaboration. In general, seven collaboration levels will be involved in a construction project, from conception to completion.

Level Zero

The very first level of BIM modeling is Level Zero, which is the initial conceptual phase of a construction project. Essentially, Level Zero is the stage in which paper drawings and zero collaboration is used to draft a building design. For example, a real estate developer or architect may start a construction project at Level Zero before serious construction plans are made for the project.

Level One

Level One of the BIM design process is when 2D construction and 3D modeling are used to create a concept for a building design. Typically, Level One of the BIM modeling process will happen with a contractor or architect. This level does not involve significant collaboration with other parties, and some contractors may not even use a common data environment to manage the project.

Level Two

Level Two is the BIM stage in which multiple teams working on the same project construct their own 3D models. Typically, these 3D models are shared in the common data environment so that information about the building design can be exchanged more easily. Using CAD software during this stage is very common to facilitate easier building design.

Level Three

Level Three of the BIM design strategy is where the bulk of collaborative efforts occur. The third level will ensure that all teams working on the project will collaborate with the same 3D building model, which means multiple design and construction elements will be combined into 3D visualization on the same design file. This is a stage in which a lot of the visualization about the construction project is done to ensure all elements of the building design are ideal.

Level Four

The fourth level of BIM design is creating scheduling data that will build an outline for how long it will take to complete various elements of a construction project. Sometimes, Level Four involves dividing a construction project into phases so that each construction element will be met on a specific timeline or completed by a deadline.

Level Five

Level Five of BIM design factors in the budget of a construction project, including budget tracking and estimating costs for construction materials. During this phase, building owners and project managers can estimate the cost of a construction project based on materials, worker wages, and the length of time it will take to complete a project.

Level Six

The final level of BIM design is focused more on predictive analysis. While the fifth level calculates the upfront costs of a construction project, the sixth level will predict recurring costs related to energy consumption and sustainability. Predicting the cost of building management once a construction project is complete may influence revisions for certain design elements to lower operational costs in the future, such as using more sustainable designs to reduce energy consumption.

What Is Computer-Aided Design?

CAD or computer-aided design is the technological aspect of modern design for construction projects. CAD is the technology that will allow project managers, architects, and building owners to create 3D models that are used throughout the BIM design process. Creating accurate 3D models for building designs can improve cost analysis and allow for better visualization to identify potential flaws in the design of a building.

What Are the Classic Features of This Software?

CAD software has many classic features that will allow for the creation of precise 3D models. The most important feature is a user-friendly graphical user interface or a GUI. This interface allows the CAD software to display an accurate 3D depiction of user input. Using this interface will allow building developers to modify 3D models based on design phases, which can make it easier for designers and engineers to collect information about a construction project.

CAD software will automatically update other elements of the design plan based on modifications and preset calculations, which may be particularly important when it’s time to calculate the cost and quantity of construction materials. For example, if a wall needs to be shortened in the building design, CAD software will automatically alter the materials needed for plumbing or wiring.

What Information is Included in CAD?

Modern CAD software will typically combine multiple elements of building modeling. For example, some of the information included in a CAD design will include the wire modeling or skeletal modeling of a construction project. Typically, CAD software will also allow users to include information related to HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical wires to create the most accurate representation of the construction project.

Who Uses BIM CAD?

Many people will use the BIM CAD design process to create a blueprint for a construction project. For example, real estate investors, real estate developers, property owners, construction crews, architects, and specialists from industries such as electrical engineering, plumbing, and HVAC specialization all use these techniques during construction design.

Why Are These Techniques Better Than Traditional Blueprints?

Before technological advances like BIM CAD, blueprints were typically used for building plans. Blueprints are 2D models for construction projects that are used by architects, contractors, and other specialists during the conceptualization and construction of a building. Many people consider BIM CAD technology to be the modern-day equivalent of traditional blueprints.

However, these advanced techniques are much better than using traditional blueprints because automatically updating and sharing information about a building design is much easier when a common data environment is used for a building design. Furthermore, using this technology is also more cost-effective and time efficient.

The Benefits of BIM CAD

There are several benefits of using BIM CAD software, such as facilitating easier communication between various experts about a construction project. The ability to collaborate during the conceptual phases of a construction project also means that the overall design for a building is much more cohesive since all construction and design elements of the building are accessible in one 3D model.

Using advanced technology for construction projects also increases client satisfaction since using the software enables quicker installation of certain systems and decreases project delays. In other words, by collaborating with experts and using 3D modeling from the conceptual stage of a construction project, it’s much easier and quicker to complete projects on time and within budget.

Modern building design is much more efficient than in the past. This can be attributed in part to the common use of BIM CAD software by professionals such as architects, building owners, and other construction specialists. To learn more about building information modeling and how we can help you, contact us here at the McIntosh Corporation today.