What is BIM?
According to Autodesk, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the
foundation of digital transformation in the architecture,
engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. As the leader in BIM,
Autodesk is the industry's partner to realize better ways of working
and better outcomes for business and the built world.
It can also span into the operation and management of buildings
using data that building or structure owners have access to (hence
the Building Information Management). This data allows governments,
municipalities, and property managers to make informed decisions
based on information derived from the model— even after the building
There are a few stages in BIM as a process, lets understand them in
What are the Stages of BIM?
Like any form
of change management, implementation of BIM would require great
planning & preparation. Change implementation has to be in a phased
manner with proper planning and execution, let’s look at some of the
four key phases in BIM implementation.
The 4 phases in BIM are:
Evaluation/Assessment / Pre BIM
Preparation for the Transition / Project Pre-Planning / Modeling
Execution of the Plan / Construction / Collaboration
Operations and Maintenance through Experience and Expertise
Let’s get to know each of the stages in detail.
1. Evaluation/Assessment / Pre BIM
Publish the implementation plan and intent for Building Information
Modeling in your organization as part of an internal assessment
procedure. The following steps are some of the best practices which
would help you in the initial phase of BIM implementation.
BIM Ready Evaluation – Evaluate your teams capability in terms of
technology and processes
Feedback – conduct feedback sessions on with internal team about
adopting technology, processes and workflows
Due Diligence – Evaluate the legal contracts and deliverables
expected from each party
Management take – Ensure that the higher management fully supports
the decision to adopt BIM
With BIM, a very useful tool for simulation, prototyping and
analyzing during these stages, the inclusion of data works as a
repository for the optimized design and performance analytics.
By implementing it, considerable savings can be made, not only in
terms of time but also in terms of resources. Many times, unforeseen
situations or incompatibilities can occur during a construction
process –for instance, a pipe colliding with another element or
non-compliance with regulations– and these are situations that
traditionally would have to be resolved on site.
However, through BIM we are now able to avoid these issues
thanks to the fundamental role that BIM plays in the planning
procedures, and thanks to the early detection of potential problems
in any of the different parts that make up a project.
2. Preparation for the Transition / Project Pre-Planning /
Modeling and Designing
Project pre-planning is paramount for successful transition to BIM.
Standardization in technology processes and trained people is
critical for the success of technology implementation.
Standardization: Make provisions for uniform standards for
software implementation ensure to lay down a process flow for
information exchange, archiving and updating data on a real-time
basis so that no crucial information is lost
Training: The Internal Team has to be equipped with the new
software so plan for numerous Training and Development sessions to
increase their expertise in using BIM.
Detailed design is where collaboration is supposed to shine the
most. Performing regular coordination meetings with different
participants of the project (engineers, estimators, schedulers,
architects, project managers, construction managers, etc.) allows
for every participant of the project to be involved in the process
and provide their feedback on possible issues or setbacks.
Additionally, it’s also highly recommended to perform interference
checks and clash detections on a regular basis. Some might say that
this is a time-consuming process, but correcting a previously
undetected error in an existing building takes way more time and
resources than finding it at the design phase and fixing it before
the construction even gets to that point.
The design phase is also where the BIM model could be used in
several different ways, and not just its original purpose. The
existence of BIM process management as a whole allows for a BIM
model to be used in scheduling, elevations, walkthroughs, sections,
and many other processes – potentially saving a lot of time and
money within that project internally.
3. Execution of the Plan / Construction / Collaboration
We can describe the construction phase as the implementation of a
design envisioned by architects and engineers. In both design and
construction, numerous operational tasks must be performed with a
variety of precedence and other relationships among the different
tasks. As BIM enables many stakeholders and people involved in a
project to come together and facilitate their collaboration, the
exchange of information with project managers through smart tools,
the monitoring of the construction work done on site, and the
coordination with suppliers and others in the supply chain becomes
much more streamlined and efficient.
BIM enables the state of construction to be visualized, meaning
therefore that it is possible to compare this with the expected
evolution as indicated in the initial project planning at any given
time. This offers optimum control of the deliveries of the different
elements of a project and makes it possible for possible
obstructions to be detected.
The execution of the plan must be decided collaboratively in
accordance with every stakeholder in the project. This phase defines
the social interactions of the project team throughout the BIM
construction life cycle. A BIM execution plan includes:
Test case based planning and implementation
Defining new roles and responsibilities
If the employer will be responsible for operating the development
once completed, an in-house or outsourced team should be appointed
to witness testing and commissioning, ready to take over the running
of services once practical completion is certified. If they have not
already done so, the employer may also wish to appoint site
The word ‘contractor’ is used in this stage to describe the
supplier that constructs the development. If an integrated supply
team has been appointed to design and construct (and perhaps
operate) the development then they will be the contractor.
Contract administration tasks (such as certifying payments)
are attributed to a contract administrator. Under some forms of
procurement they will work for the employer, however, on private
finance initiative (PFI) projects, the body funding the integrated
supply team may appoint the contract administrator.
4. Operations and Maintenance through Experience and Expertise
One of the last legs of a functional building´s lifecycle is
essentially, one of the most important ones. Beginning with the
handover and commissioning of a building once the construction phase
is done, implementing virtual platforms that integrate BIM
technologies can help make the process smoother and more seamless.
Since the BIM methodology goes far beyond just construction
work, once the infrastructure has been built, this can also provide
the client and facility managers with the correct tools to operate
MEP and HVAC plus deal with maintenance issues via a digital twin:
installation date, materials, lifespan, etc. Take a look at our
previous blog entry regarding smart buildings to read a further
explanation of how BIM plays a crucial role in the implementation of
sensors and smart technologies that guarantee that operations and
maintenance of assets are done in the most efficient and innovative
The high level digital model built in the design phase
can be taken as a base for operations and maintenance phase as well.
The best practise is to use building data from this model and rework
on it, to incorporate operations and maintenance for the facility,
Here are some the factors that determine if the high levels design
model can be used for used for operations and maintenance:
Which elements were integrated into the model in its design phase?
Was the digital model regularly updated to include the most recent
and accurate information?
Were all stakeholders who are authorized to access the digital
model able to retrieve data with ease?
Every organization requirement and structure is different and
activities performed in these phases might differ as per their
Different phases of BIM implementation propose standard
procedures that can ensure smooth transition to BIM technology;
however the success of BIM implementation would largely depend on
the willingness and capability of the current organization. Hence
it’s advisable to lay down step by step process and then execute
diligently for successful implementation.