Wednesday, 22 July 2009


The Evolution of BIM

In looking at the history of methods for Production and Delivery, in Figure 2.8 one is able to see that the concept of BIM really crystallised towards the end of the last century. The BIM concept is simple but also powerful as it seeks to transform and revolutionise the AEC industry.

The theory behind the BIM is the manipulation of every single piece of project data into virtual 3D-4D and 5D model into which scheduling and cost analysis of different designs and construction sequences can speedily occur allowing for problems to be solved well in advanced of procurement, material delivery and onsite construction. The end results that can be derived through collaboration and integration as specified by Thomas and Miner (2006) would include:
‘constructability analysis, structural models both in the form of 2D and 3D, energy and airflow analysis, mechanical and structural collision identification as well as operation and maintenance report’. (Thomson and Miner, 2006)

As mentioned by the Wikipedia encyclopaedia, (Wikipedia, 2007), the term BIM was
‘coined by Autodesk to describe "3D, object-oriented, AEC-specific CAD" and popularized by Jerry Laiserin as a common naming for these capabilities offered by several technology providers.’ (Wikipedia, 2007).

Autodesk (Autodesk 2006), described BIM as:
“the creation and use of coordinated, internally consistent, computable information about a building project in design and construction and beyond.” (Autodesk 2006),
The technological evolution of BIM is being seen today as the only integrated solution as shown in Figure 2.9 which is able to address issues plaguing the construction industry as mentioned before

BIM as a collaboration tool

The American Institute of Architects emphasized that:
“with a Building Information Modelling approach, information and vital project content is preserved, coordinated and transferred as Design, Construction and Operational teams collaborate to deliver the project in as efficient as means as possible” (AIA 2005).

The role of the technology is seen here as being a catalyst and a means of being able to transform a vision of:
‘creating an integrated practice, moving from traditional ways of doing business into fully collaborative, highly integrated, and productive teams that include all the stakeholders in a project’s lifecycle’ (AIA, 2005).

Integrating Building models

In setting up an integrated model Eastman (2006), explained as shown in Figure 2.10 that consideration must be given to effective planning and utilising 3D modelling, thus integrating both design and construction process. The process entails coordinating different building trades within BIM. Some of the application can be supported by interoperability using BIM technology. Application that allow for creating and editing the design are denoted with a large blue circle. Those that support detailing or editing are within white circles, while analysis applications that are generally flowing one way are show in light blue circles.

Setting up the integrated 3D Model based on 2D Drawings

In setting up a BIM solution, one of the first tasks for the author was to transform the mass of 2D Drawings into 3D-elements like foundations, floor slabs, walls and rooms for finishes and other specifications.
details is eliminated because they must not be independently drawn, thus confirming the views of many authors like Autodesk (2006), Hill (2006) and Howel & Batcheler (2005).
With 3D drawings, Nemetschek’s ‘Allplan’ for example also offers the possibility to have all linked drawings and dimensions automatically updated when changes like adding a new wall or window to the building is made. Another advantage of the integrated 3D model was the ability to examine the building based on buildability and the interaction of various building components with one another. With such an innovative and complicated Roof design as the Windsor Project for example, (all compliments to the Planning Bureau Limited, Architects and Town Planners), it was difficult to grasp or visualize the design based purely on the 2D Drawings.


  1. IPD is indeed gaining momentum.

    Can you forward a copy of the article about the solutions? I'd be interested to read it.

    Meanwhile, here's a link to an article I wrote on this subject recently:

    Derek Mogck (

  2. Thanks derek for the comment see blog link for more info

  3. just had a query like ..what is the difference in <>5D CAD and 4D CAD BIM model.

  4. Hi teslacadd the existing 4D CAD model exist in a single project context in term of time i.e (sequencing and scheduling of the construction) where as 5D CAD model support both time ,cost and resources.Thie process can be used after the construction for facility management over the entire life cycle of a building.

    Some benifits includes
    Quick analysis, data tracking and integration etc.