If you’ve found yourself here, you might have recently been wondering, “what is BIM in construction?” Fortunately, we have the answer.
BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. It’s an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. BIM in construction is the use of digital 3D models during the construction process.
Scaled models of buildings have existed for at least as long as humans have been planning anything more ambitious than a mud hut–and maybe even longer than that. Children in indigenous cultures have been observed to build miniature versions of their communities’ structures as a form of play, which helps them develop the skills they’ll use later to participate in construction.
For most of the 20th century, complex building projects were often built first as scale models, the pride and joy of many an architect’s office. They helped designers visualize the project and identify problems and obstacles to overcome during the design phase, and assisted owners in understanding what their final product might look like. Though expensive and time-consuming to construct, physical models were valuable in helping to avoid costly mistakes.
A digital “building model” was first used in the 1980s in the construction of London’s Heathrow Airport, at the time one of the world’s most complex and cutting-edge air transportation facilities. The terms “Building Information Model” and “Building Information Modeling” came into popular use in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Autodesk pioneered the technology in its modern form and, in 2002, published a white paper titled “Building Information Modeling” that helped to spread both the technology and the use of the terms “BIM” and “Building Information Model.”
For years, BIM was used by architects and engineers, primarily to replace digital scaled models and enable more detailed and flexible visualizations of plans. It had the benefits of being cheaper, faster, more detailed, and easier to modify.
Until recently, however, the benefits of BIM were largely unavailable to the construction industry, which continued to use paper drawings and 2D files well into the 21st century and, by many companies, still today.
But AutodeskBIM 360 provides a new way of managing Building Information Models to meet the needs of construction.