BIM is the acronym for Building Information Modeling.

Talking about BIM, the first question that arises when reading these three words is born of their polysemic character. Particularly, the terms “Building” and “Modeling”.

Unfortunately, there are many professionals who have taken the first definition of both terms as good, without pausing to think for a moment that these three words are not there by chance, but are the synthesis of a question that, being complex, is formulated in this way, not casually, to explain its solution.

“Building”

Agree. A “building” is a building, a facilty, a construction, but in the context we are analyzing we refer to the building process. We do not speak of a constructive fact as it is usually associated directly, but of the wide and vast process that its existence generates. BIM talks about ALL the life of a construction, its life cycle.

Buildings are not limited only to a project and a construction management. Since the need arises to proceed with the creation of a construction there is an entire industry that is set in motion. It is the AECO industry (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations). And within this question, once again, let’s go in parts.

 We are not just talking about a building, but about any entity that requires the intervention of the AECO industry. This means that BIM ranges from a single-family dwelling to a nuclear power plant, an airport, a parking lot, a port, train stations, a bridge, … We refer to every constructible fact.

Nor do we speak only about the project and the construction management. This is another of the great differences that the BIM concept contributes. We are talking about the life cycle. But what do we mean by that BIM implies a paradigm shift in this question? For nothing less than we assume that the traditional way of carrying this out in a linear sequence in which the professionals are joining as it 

“comes their turn” is a bad idea. The essential concept of BIM is that the different agents collaborate. If we bring them all together from the early phase of design, it is much more effective because everyone will contribute their point of view, they will put on the table the needs of each guild and phase, so that the constructive event will not have any startles, there will be no uncertainties and all sectors will know that the needs of both are contemplated from the beginning to the end of the useful life of the constructed asset. The creation of such a collaborative environment is the fundamental pillar of BIM.

“Modelling”

To talk about “modeling” is not a correct term either. The first description of the term leads to plastic. It would direct us to think of modeling a wall, a pillar, a window. However, in the BIM context, modeling refers to managing, planning, transmitting. We could use more verbs, but the important thing is to fix the concept that, assuming that this paradigm starts from the collaboration, modeling refers to the process of organizing the necessary data to be able to carry out the constructive fact in an efficient way,

and here all the questions that we are waiting for come to the fore: from the most current values such as quality, economy and safety, to Vitruvian values of firmitas, utilitas and venustas.

It is therefore opportune too, when we talk about BIM, to qualify that the modeling of form (being necessary for the definition of the good to be constructed), should be understood as something that transcends that question.

“Information”

This is the third leg of the table. The evolution of the systems have allowed us to incorporate data into the elementary vectors with which in the 90s we replaced the pencil and paper with screens, mice and plotters.

That era was not bad. Those of us lucky enough to live it feel something like “Video killed the radio star”, but fortunately the technology has gone ahead in an obvious way, and especially in what is simplicity. I’m referring to UX, the User Experience. Incorporating data into the elements we create is not only easier but more necessary every day.

The organization of this information on open standards (OpenBIM), allows the exchange of the same and established collaborative environments independent of commercial platforms of one or another manufacturer.

Move the mouse over an element and access a permanently updated information that describes its components, commissioning criteria, maintenance operations, etc. Is becoming easier everyday. For this reason, although information is an essential pillar in BIM being able to share, collaborate and debate about it is one of the main characteristics. The different modes of collaboration will be the subject of another commentary on our blog.

Last but not least, we would like to remember that although for some to discover the BIM is the event of the year, it takes more than 30 of us.
Our experience began in 1996, and we are delighted to share it.