What is a Building Information Model (BIM)?

One of the things the Tocci marketing department has recently asked me to do is write an article on VDC at Tocci - 1,600 words long. Due last Friday - oops. Not that it's anything new, but since I'm already writing all of this, I figured I could be lazy and post it here in sections as I write it, in the hope that it passes as a legitimate blog post.

(An intro will go here, but I haven't written it yet!)

What is a Building Information Model (BIM)?
Traditionally, building architecture is represented with 2D drawings. When 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) was introduced in the early ‘80s, it was a giant step for the typically anti-technology AEC industry, but building elements were still only represented using arcs, lines and polygons. Designers envisioned the building in their minds in 3D and then squashed it flat to 2D plans, sections and elevations. Builders then had to re-inflate the design to 3D, so they could cast it into concrete.

Flash forward about 20 years when the AEC industry is on the brink of an even larger leap forward.

Tocci and other progressive AEC firms are on the cutting (perhaps bleeding!) edge, utilizing software to create a Building Information Model (BIM). BIM-creation software uses 3D parametric-modeling and self-aware, intelligent components to design and then represent building architecture. On a basic level, that means that a door “knows” it’s a door and a wall “knows” it’s a wall, and doors “know” that they can only exist in walls. Through detailed parameters, doors automatically also “know” their height, width, thickness, fire-rating, material, frame type, and more. So after Tocci completed modeling them, the foundations and ramp shown above in 2D, look more like this:

Note the added construction information, input by Tocci: hand trim, top surface area, etc.

The BIM, often referred to as The Model, is comprises of all the modeled components and disciplines of a building.

1 comment:

Van said...

Very interesting blog! You might be interested in BIM Wiki. Seems like some of your work would be appropriate for showcasing on the site. If you're interested, would you be willing to post something about your company at http://bimwiki.com/About_BIM/Companies ?