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What is BIM?


Studio Victoria

3 minutes

BIM is a process that not everyone properly understands. In today’s article, we are going to answer the following questions: what is BIM?, what is BIM used for?, what are BIM objects?, what are BIM levels?, what are BIM dimensions? and is BIM mandatory? Keep reading and find out how BIM will help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS.


BIM is an acronym for Building Information Modelling, which is a process that those involved in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings use to share information between them by using a Digital Twin. The improved collaboration and additional data that be accessed by implementing BIM will help you and your stakeholders to make much more informed decisions.


BIM is used for several purposes that apply during the project’s lifecycle:

  • Planning: during the planning phase, BIM helps by storing models of the existing built and natural environments, aiding during the planning application process by assessing the visual impact of your project
  • Design: during this phase, BIM will store the different designs and their visualisations, as well as the necessary documents to generate the specification for the construction phase
  • Construction: during the construction of your project, the main purpose of BIM is to keep track of the timing and compliance with the specification generated in the design phase to prevent delays and improve efficiency
  • Operation: after the project has been successfully built, all the information stored in BIM will ease the asset management, renovation or even its recycling after its projected lifespan is over


A BIM Object is a component that is part of the BIM model and contains data. Due to the nature of BIM models, when a component changes, the model gets updated to reflect the changes, providing consistency and data integrity throughout the project.


BIM levels are used to refer to how collaborative the projects are:

  • Level 0: there is no collaboration at all. Models are just plain 2D CAD drawings
  • Level 1: there is very limited collaboration. 3D CAD is used for conceptual designs and shared across different parties by using a common data environment, but 2D CAD remains at the forefront of drafting
  • Level 2: there is much more collaboration. Every party involved in the process uses 3D models to work, although they might be different copies. When sharing the information across all parties involved, the file has a common format
  • Level 3: this is the pinnacle of collaboration. All parties share the exact same model in a central repository with version control systems to prevent conflicts. In 2016 the British Government committed to implementing it in the near future


when talking about BIM, some people refer to different dimensions beyond the standard 3 dimensions, which are relative to space:

  • 4D: this is the physical space represented in the 3D model plus time, using tools like Gantt charts to keep track of schedules and timescales
  • 5D: cost is added on top of the 3D model and time
  • 6D: the final “as-built” model of the project. We do not use this term in the United Kingdom, as we prefer the term Asset Information Model (AIM), as specified in PAS1192-3:2014


Depending on where your project is going to be built, you might have different requirements, as each country has varying approaches to BIM. So far, the countries in which BIM is mandatory are:

  • United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Latvia
  • Germany
  • United States of America
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Kazakhstan
  • Vietnam
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates

Other countries like Spain, France, Italy or China are already planning on mandating BIM for projects.

In the United Kingdom, BIM Level 2 has been mandatory for Government construction projects since April 2016. If you want to know more about the BIM standards and requirements in the United Kingdom, like ISO 19650, please visit the UK BIM Framework’s website. They are doing a phenomenal job and have a great number of useful resources.

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