In the past, architects, contractors, and owners only had the use of two-dimensional drawings to rely on to construct a building. Now thanks to building informational modeling (BIM), a project team has the ability to design and visualize a building in three dimensions, and can also “add time and experience to the building model in the fourth dimension to observe daylighting studies or the sequencing of construction.”
Using BIM in the early design stages helps to increase the performance and efficiency of a structure. It provides the opportunity to implement any needed design changes before getting too far into the actual construction phase where it is more costly to do so. The use of BIM also increases the communication and collaboration between the project team, which can reduce costly mistakes and save time throughout the construction of the structure.
The National Institute of Building Sciences defines BIM as “a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.” It is a tool that can be shared by everyone involved in the project from the architects to engineers and contractors, and works to connect design, analysis, and documentation altogether.
Wikipedia adds that BIM does more than just 3D visualization, but also “covers spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components (for example, manufacturers’ details).” As a virtual representation and digital model of the physical and functional features and characteristics of a building, the information can be passed to owners for future maintenance and operational functions once the building is complete.
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