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BIM For Beginners

If you're new to BIM... start here!

 

BIM stands for ‘building information modelling’.

To find out more about what that is and what it means for you,
watch these videos in the order we’ve laid out.  

Part 1 - What are you on about?

Building Information Modelling

In the context of construction, BIM is the process of delivering and operating built assets using well-structured digital information that all the necessary parties have access to.

It is a way of working, rather a physical object or an entity.

Operating in this way – often referred to as ‘working in a BIM environment’ – requires all parties to collaborate and share the information they create in a mutually accessible online space known as a common data environment or CDE. This way, everyone who needs to access the information can. That collection of data is known as an 'information model'. Information models can be used to inform all stages of a built asset's lifecycle; from inception right through to operation and renewal. 

WHAT IS A "BIM MODEL"?

Whatever your role in construction, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard the term “BIM Model”. But what do people actually mean when they say this?

Our first video explains what a “BIM Model” is as well as the basics of building information modelling itself. You’ll learn how project teams share structured information in a common data environment and the difference between ‘3D models’ used by designers and the ‘information models’ that the BIM process develops. 

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

Part 2 - Why Does It Matter To Me?

Understanding the Vision

So that’s the basic concept of what BIM actually is… but so what? What will BIM mean for you and why are so many people around the world advocating it?

Well BIM is an agent for change. As soon as you try and implement it you’ll find yourself having to reconsider your approach to many issues that have dogged our industry for years. Things like poor collaboration, competitive tendering, risk transfer, late engagement of specialists and our focus on capital costs. Successful implementation of BIM can address these issues whilst delivering further benefits for both individuals and the organisations they work for.

In many ways the BIM acronym has become its own worst enemy. People often hear the term, rather than the vision associated with it or any kind of personalised benefits for them. This has resulted in it becoming something of an enigma; a phrase that represents some form of digital change that most people don’t really understand. Slow adoption rates, false claims, additional fees and so on are all manifestations of this issue.

In Part 2 we ask you to forget what you have heard and instead understand the bigger picture of what BIM will mean to you.

IMAGINE (WHAT BIM COULD DO)

With “Imagine” we ask you to forget all the stuff that you might have heard about the famous acronym, and consider instead the potential that BIM has to change your business and our industry for the better.

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T DO BIM?

Rather than nagging you about why you should adopt BIM, our next video takes a different angle. Here we set out the gradual, subtle ways that the environment around you will change and the repercussions it will have if you don’t consider the steps you need to take in order to keep-up. It’s really not designed to scare or patronise. It just helps you consider things in a different way bringing the implications – rather than the acronym – to the fore.

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

WHAT DOES BIM MEAN TO ME?

There’s lots of useful guidance around on BIM, but it’s often presented in broad terms. In this video seven experts from different construction industry disciplines explain what BIM will mean to their profession, why it’s worth adopting and where best to start!

Part 3 - The Basics

Terminology, Process + Advice

So you have a basic idea of what BIM means and why it is important.

Next we need to look at various aspects in some more detail. Part 3 takes you through how the process works, what some of the key terminology means and the best way to go about successfully implementing it within your organisation and working practices. 

This is a big section, grab a cup of coffee.  

WHAT IS A COMMON DATA ENVIRONMENT?

On a typical construction project, a lot of information is produced. The trouble is that information is often unstructured, poorly co-ordinated and difficult to find.

This video introduces the Common Data Environment (CDE); an online place for collecting, managing and sharing information amongst a team working on a project. 

WHAT DO THE BIM LEVELS MEAN?

Lots of people talk about the different levels of BIM, but what do they actually mean? Here we introduce the levels that run from 0-3, used as measures of BIM maturity; the construction supply chain’s ability to operate and exchange digital information. The wedge-shaped diagram was developed by Mark Bew MBE and Mervyn Richards OBE and is hence known at the Bew-Richards BIM Maturity Model.

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

PAS 1192-2 IN 5 MINUTES

Perhaps the most important guidance document for BIM is PAS 1192-2 published by the British Standards Institution (BSI). It’s an essential read that provides the framework for collaborative working and information management at delivery stage in a BIM Level 2 environment. Despite its UK focus, it is equally applicable internationally. This animation brings the rather dry guidance to life, explaining the principles and process map.

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

PAS 1192-3 IN 4 MINUTES

The sister publication to PAS 1192-2 is PAS 1192-3. It builds on the principles of information management in Part 2 and provides a framework for managing digital information about a built asset over its life. Part 3 is more flexible than the rigid project process detailed in Part 2 and covers a mixture of planned and unplanned events in an assets lifecycle. These might include maintenance, breakdowns, repairs, extensions, refurbishment or eventually demolition.

WHAT ARE EMPLOYER'S INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS?

At the start of the project delivery process, it is essential that the Client (or Employer) sets out the information they need to see from their project team, both as proposals are being designed/priced-up, and at handover in order to run their new asset. Employers Information Requirements (EIRs) are the document where those needs are captured. Teams working without EIRs will struggle to ensure the right information is issued in time to support decision making. Worse, they will be creating excessive amounts of information just for the sake of it, rather than efficiently focusing on what’s needed.

LEVELS OF DEFINITION EXPLAINED

Now when creating an information model, you aren’t expected to have all your data collated right from day one of a project. Levels of Definition clarify the different amounts of data that need to be available at each stage and what that data can be relied upon for. The amount of non-graphical information developed for a given stage is termed “Level of Information” or LOI and the amount of graphical information developed is termed “Level of Detail” or LOD. Both form part of the overall umbrella term; “Level of Definition”.

WHAT ARE MIDPs?

With EIRs in place and the required Levels of Definition clearly stated, the project team can plan for how to deliver the necessary information. The Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) sets out what information is required, who is producing it, the format it will be required in and when it is needed by. Below it sit various Task Information Delivery Plans (TIDPs) addressing the requirements for specific packages or elements of project information.

DO I REALLY NEED AN INFORMATION MANAGER?

Yes. You need an Information Manager. It doesn’t have to be a fresh appointment to your team and the role could be taken on by the Design Team Leader or the main contractor’s Design Manager. 

BIM demands a high degree of control and integrity around how data is created, organised and shared. The Information Manager (sometimes known as the “BIM Manager”) is essential for ensuring that process is facilitated in the project.

BIM PROTOCOL EXPLAINED

The BIM Protocol is a standardised supplementary legal agreement that can be incorporated into professional service appointments and construction contracts by a simple amendment. There are two parts at the end that you edit to make it specific to your project. It’s possibly one of the dullest documents you’re ever going to read, but it does do some important things for BIM projects. This 3 minute video brings the Protocol to life in a clear and easy format.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MODEL?

So, you’ve successfully designed and constructed a built asset using BIM. The conventional attitude at this point is that it’s job done. Walk away and get on with the next thing …but what happens to the information model?

Here we take a look at why it’s important to hand an information model over to the end user, and how you can actually do that.

TOP 10 BIM ACRONYMS EXPLAINED

Starting to get a bit overwhelmed? As we know from our first video, BIM is an acronym for the building information modelling process. But as you’ve probably realised from watching our series so far, within that process there are many more acronyms lurking around to confuse you! Here we round-up the 10 most common ones, helpfully recapping the basics of BIM that we have introduced so far.

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

WHAT DO THOSE BIG BIM WORDS MEAN?

It’s not just acronyms. To make things harder there are lots of complicated terms and big words used that can through you too. In this sister video, we explain and breakdown the meaning of some of the key culprits – things like “federate” “data drop” and “interoperability” – in simple terms.

We apologise that Fred’s facial hair isn’t anywhere near as good as Tom’s.

WHAT IS 4D BIM?

A well-structured information model is an extremely useful resource for all members of the project team. By linking scheduling data to different components, you can generate accurate programme information and enable step-by-step visuals of your project’s development. This process is known as "4D BIM".

This video explains what 4D BIM is, what it means for Planners and the benefits it can bring to project teams. 

Spanish sub-titles available (subtítulos en Español disponibles).

WHAT IS 5D BIM?

BIM is a collaborative way of working that engages the whole project team in the production of information, including Cost Managers. “5D BIM” refers to the linking of cost data into information models to offer cost planning advice or generate estimates. It’s an additional dimension of data that can be found in models at BIM Levels 2-3 and beyond. 

Our video on this area explains more, including the implications for Estimators, Quantity Surveyors and the teams they work in.

WHAT IS 6D BIM?

Another dimension of data is “6D”, which refers to the linking-in of attribute information to support Facilities Management (FM). 6D BIM is a powerful area for those operating built assets. With data on maintenance, lifespans and energy performance of different components to hand, they can determine the costs of those activities and create spend profiles over a built asset’s lifecycle, pre-planning maintenance years in advance. Having that in-use data to hand is then very useful when procuring future projects.

TOP 3 BIM BARRIERS (+ HOW TO OVERCOME THEM)

So with these videos under your belt you should have a good basic understanding of what BIM is and how the process works. 

However, if you’re about to embark on implementation then we need to give you a heads-up; you are going to face some pretty stubborn barriers along the way. Here we highlight the most significant ones and offer you some advice – based on real experiences – for how to overcome them.

TOP 3 BIM MYTHS DISPELLED

Now in facing the barriers we’ve just mentioned above, you’ll hear all sorts of claims. Some of them are true and some of them are not.

If your organisation are worried that BIM will cost them more or take more time …or are confused and see it as just 3D modelling rather than a process and a way of working, show them this!

WHAT BIM WON'T DO

You'll have gathered by now that BIM represents a huge opportunity to change construction for the better. It forces us to address numerous long-standing issues and helps to switch mind-sets from the physical output of a building, to outcomes for people and organisations across our society. That’s a big deal that means a more collaborative, profitable and respected industry for everyone. But some people get carried away. Here we look at some anonymous claims and bring things back down to earth!

WHERE DO I START?

After all of that you'd be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed.

In our last clip we offer some practical advice on taking your first steps towards BIM adoption, depending on your discipline.

Be sure to let us know how you get on.

GOOD LUCK!

Part 4 - More Information

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#UKBIM2 - A SHORT GUIDE

The perfect follow-on from our beginners videos! John Eynon's free guide is a powerful and highly comprehensive reference for those at the start of their journey, looking to make sense of BIM.

This guide is collected from some of the sections of John Eynon's forthcoming book, The Construction Manager’s BIM Handbook, to be published in 2016 by Wiley Blackwell. Reproduced and adapted here with their kind permission.        

Get a Copy

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