Building Information Modelling

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Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling

PART A - Task Description for PMI Students Only

Building Information Modelling (BIM) Can Support The Role Of A Real Estate Asset Manager

General Introduction

van Nederveen et al. (2009) propound the following definition of BIM:

[…] a model of information about a building (or building project) that comprises complete and sufficient information to support all lifecycle processes and which can be interpreted directly by computer applications. It comprises information about the building itself as well as its components, and comprises information about properties such as function, shape, material and processes for the building life cycle (p. 1).

A more concise definition is offered as part of the US National Building Information Modelling Standard (NBIMS) in terms that a BIM is “a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility” (National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), 2007, p. 23).

van Nederveen approaches BIM from a theoretical standpoint. What, in a perfect world, should BIM be? It should be a single, computerised representation of a building, in which each fact is expressed only once, thereby avoiding the risks of inconsistency inherent in systems which accommodate data duplication. For van Nederveen (2009, pp. 9-10) “any solution that allows that the same information is stored in multiple places is fundamentally wrong”. In that perfect world, a single, virtual model would represent all elements of a building or project, down to the finest detail. The model could generate accurate costings, fabrication drawings for any trade, and would permit simple identification of element clashes.

Such a utopian model is, however, rarely, if ever, achieved in practice. Instead the “BIM” consists more usually of a federation of virtual models, each addressing discrete elements of the construction process, and in these cases, interoperability - the facility for one BIM to interact faithfully with another BIM - becomes ever more important. There are certain standards in place to try and promote faithful interoperability, for example, ISO 10303, or STEP - the “Standard for the Exchange of Product model data” - however, these are not universally adopted, and problems remain with the interface between different federated BIMs, and the fact that federation equates to duplication of data and potential for inconsistency and error (van Nederveen, 2009, 67).

The US NBIMS (NIBS, 2007, p. 45) is a conceptual model which defines what information must pass between stakeholders on a BIM procured project, rather than defining how that process should occur. This reflects the fact that to leverage the full benefits from BIM technology requires a paradigmatic shift in approach. Though the construction industry underwent a minor revolution a few years ago with the introduction of computer-aided design (CAD), implementation of CAD did not radically alter the way work was done, it simply speeded up its delivery. The focus with CAD was on format and output, whereas with BIM the focus needs to be on open information and workflows.

To this end a feature of NBIMS is a rating system, the Interactive Capability Maturity Model, or I-CMM (NIBS, 2007, ...
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