A bit about BIM

June 6, 2014
Stephan

The march of BIM in the UK and many other parts of the world continues relentlessly, year on year the stats report that awareness is increasing and inevitably knowledge will follow.

Whilst positive for those of us who support BIM, it remains true that for most BIM is an ambiguous and seemingly all encompassing paradigm that has teeth but sadly little bite.

It is important therefore to look backwards to where BIM came from and what was/is its’ core purpose.

For those new to BIM, the “Building Smart” organisation was formerly known as the “International Alliance for Interoperability”; whilst “Building Smart” is indeed catchy it fails to convey the original central purpose which to this day remains absolutely critical to achieving improvements in the the cost and time to deliver projects; namely interoperability at the systems level. Our Scandinavian cousins recognised this and mandated the exclusive use of IFC as the exchange format for construction information. For now we will be playing catch up.

IFC (Industry foundation classes) is the only coherent data schema (model) able to store multiple facets of construction information. It is therefore central to the principle of building up a BIM (i prefer CIM construction information model).

If you follow through with this principle you then need a means of checking the integrity of the data you are producing and a means of making bits of it available to different stakeholders at different times. For that you will need to use a BIM or IFC server. The distinction between BIM and IFC is that BIM does not inherently specify the use of or adherence to the ISO 16739 data standard aka IFC.

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