Plain Language BIM

Plain Language BIM

Most of us have already realized that the acronym ‘BIM’ is one of the worst descriptions of the process it purports to describe and has led to confusion and deliberate misrepresentation by the unscrupulous and ignorant. So, before writing a book about this topic, we must clarify what BIM is not and how it should not be described!

B is an inaccurate start, as the word ‘Building’, either as a noun, or as a verb, is not a correct description of the object of the BIM process. Building, or constructing something, is only a small part of the total lifecycle of an asset. So it is a part of BIM, but not significant enough to be the leading word. A building is an asset, but this ignores all the other things for which BIM is important, such as infrastructure (Road, Rail,Water, Power etc). If we take the word to mean creating, it also falls far short, as we don’t just create information, we need to distribute it, utilise it, manage it, assure it, secure it and ultimately dispose of it. So actually Building is a very poor start to the title of the most important revolution to hit the asset world in a long time.

We'll skip the ‘I’ at the moment and examine the M that, in most contexts, stands for Modelling. Many people in this world tell you that this is 3D CAD modelling and all you need to achieve the BIM nirvana is to buy their software package and draw some pretty pictures.

This has been the single biggest mistake made by the industry and one we are only just recovering from, as clients, contractors and consultants get smarter! The term modelling is really a lazy way of saying data modelling, creating a virtual asset from digital information. Allowing us to own both a physical and digital asset. This brings together all manner of information in all its forms and all its different storage and management systems, to create the single source of truth representing the Asset Information Model, which we will talk about at some length later.

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