All around us, technology is revolutionizing the way we live, work, play, and communicate. This is happening so fast that it's hard to remember what it was like before the Internet, smartphones, and wireless data. At the same time, there are powerful new technologies that will enhance our increasingly digital civilization. And BIM (Building Information Modeling) is one of these technologies.
BIM is a highly collaborative process that allows architects, engineers, real estate developers, contractors, manufacturers, and other construction professionals to plan systematically, design, and construct a building within a 3D model.
It can also extend to the operation and management of buildings, using data to which building or structure owners have access (hence Building Information Management). This data allows various departments like governments, municipalities, and property managers to make informed decisions based on information derived from the model. A model can keep going even after the building has been constructed.
BIM offers a common solution for all the loopholes and miscommunications that occur due to building construction. It justifies being the best concept for boosting the AEC (Architecture Engineering and Construction) industry. Let us understand more about BIM and its functioning ahead.
How is BIM information shared?The information in a BIM model is shared through a mutually accessible online space known as the common data environment (CDE), and the collected data is called an "information model." Information models can be used at all stages of a building's life, from design to operation - and even during renovations and renewals.
Now that we've covered what BIM is and how it can be used let's move on to BIM levels.
What are BIM levels? You can achieve different levels of BIM for different types of projects. Each level represents a different set of criteria that demonstrate a certain " level of maturity". BIM Levels start at 0 and go up to 4D, 5D and even 6D BIM. The purpose of these levels is to measure how effectively or how much information is shared and managed throughout the process.
So what does each level entail, and how can you tell which level you are working at? Below are brief descriptions of the first three levels and an explanation of what criteria are involved in each level.
Level 0 BIM: Paper-based drawings + no collaboration
Level 0 BIM refers to not working collaboratively at all. If you use 2D CAD and work with drawings and digital prints, you can safely say you are at Level 0. Today most of the industry works above this level, although not every professional in the industry has sufficient BIM training, and some projects do not require the use of BIM in the contract specifications. Level 1 BIM: 2D conceptual drawings + some 3D modelling
If you're using 3D CAD for concept work but 2D for creating product information and other documentation, that probably means you're working at Level 1 BIM. CAD standards are managed to the BS 1192:2007 standard, and electronic data sharing is done through a common data environment (CDE), usually managed by the contractor. Many companies are at Level 1 BIM, which does not mean much collaboration, and each party publishes and manages its data. Level 2 BIM: teams work on their 3D models At Level 2, all team members use 3D models CAD, but sometimes not in the same model. However, how stakeholders share information distinguishes it from the other levels. Information about the design of a built environment is shared using a common file format.
When firms combine this with their data, they save time, reduce costs, and avoid rework. Because data is shared in this way, the software CAD must export to a common file format, such as IFC (Industry Foundation Class) or COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange).
Level 3 BIM: Teams working with a common 3D model BIM Level 3 is even more collaborative. Instead of each team member working in their 3D model, Level 3 means that everyone uses a single, shared project model. The model exists in a "central" environment and can be viewed and modified by anyone. This is called Open BIM, which means that another layer is added to protect against conflict, adding value to the project at every stage.
Benefits of Level 3 BIM are:
Level 5 BIM extends the information model to include cost estimates, budget analysis, and budget tracking. Working at this level of BIM, project owners can track and determine what costs will be incurred over the project's life.
Level 6 BIM information is useful for calculating the energy use of a building before it is built. It ensures that designers consider more than just the initial cost of a facility. Level 6 BIM provides accurate predictions of energy consumption needs and empowers stakeholders to build energy-efficient and sustainable structures.
Benefits of Levels 4, 5, and 6 BIM:
The Future of BIM Based on its clear benefits, BIM is here to stay.
It has defined goals that are beneficial to all who work their way through the layers. There is no doubt that the future of construction will be even more collaborative and digital. As BIM becomes more sophisticated, 4D, 5D, and even 6D BIM will play a role in the process.
In addition, there is an attempt around the globe to reduce waste in construction. Much of it is attributed to supply chain inefficiencies, collisions and rework. By working collaboratively in a BIM environment, all of this becomes much less likely and sets the stage for a better future.