building information modelling

"BIM: an object-oriented building development tool that utilises 6D modeling concepts, information technology and software interoperability to design, construct and operate a building project, as well as communicate it's details."
we have been using ArchiCAD very successfully for the last 15 years to create 6D representations of the elements used to create a building from the concept design stage. our clients and collaborators are therefore able to both visualise and quantify the proposed design from the outset. 
bim (building information modeling) covers geometry, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components. using a bim programme like archicad we can represent the life cycle of the whole building , including construction processes and facility operation. quantities and shared properties of materials, including the carbon footprint of each building element, can be extracted and easily quantified. dynamic information of the building, such as sensor measurements and control signals from the building systems, can also be incorporated within bim to support analysis of building operation and maintenance.

bim goes far beyond merely switching software. It requires changes to the definition of traditional architectural phases and more data sharing than most architects and engineers are used to. using bim, we are able to achieve such improvements by modeling representations of the actual parts and pieces being used to build a building. This is a substantial shift from the traditional CAD method of drawing with vector file-based lines that combine to represent objects.
6-D modeling concepts involve not only modeling in the 3 primary spatial dimensions (X, Y, and Z): but also in a 4th (sustainability), a 5th (time) and a 6th (cost), encapsulated within one model and associated linked files. 
A team of architects, engineers, surveyors and designers work on the same model (Teamwork), and all Modifications to the model are automatically and instantly reflected in the model database. Parametric objects are created and incorporated into the project, as a consequence, 
 BIM offers:
  1. Improved visualisation
  2. Improved productivity
  3. improved coordination of construction documents
  4. Embedding and linking of vital information regarding materials, details and quantities
  5. Increased speed of delivery
  6. Reduced costs

BIM avoids, or at least greatly reduces the need for:

  1. 2d to 3d conversions
  2. manual updating of unlinked layouts, plans sections and elevations
  3. unlinked details
  4. the use of external programs for measurements required for estimation and tendering.
  5. the use of external programs for services design and energy studies.
  6. the use of external programs for shading studies and renders

Building information modeling covers geometry, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components. BIM can be used to demonstrate the entire building life cycle, including the processes of construction and facility operation. Quantities and shared properties of materials can be extracted easily. Dynamic building data can also be incorporated within BIM to support analysis of building operation and maintenance.

BIM "building information modelling" as a common name for the digital representation of the building process was originally offered primarily by Graphisoft, Bentley Systems, and Autodesk to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. The first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, on its launch in 1987.


BIG BIM little bim
Published October 2007
Written by Finith Jernigan, AIA
ISBN 978-0-9795699-0-6

Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling
Published April 2008

Written by Eddy Krygiel, Brad Nies; foreword by Steve McDowell, FAIA, BNIM
ISBN 978-0-470-23960-5

ArchiCAD is a complex architectural design tool offering 2D and 3D drafting, visualization and documentation functions for architects and planners to create three-dimensional designs and detailed technical documentation, thus enabling architects to use ArchiCAD from the earliest design phases to the technical detail drawings.
Graphisoft's second generation collaboration solution lets more architects to work on the same building simultaneously with ArchiCAD by allowing them to access and manage the building information model database over the internet. Graphisoft BIM Server is shipped with ArchiCAD from version 13.
Graphisoft MEP Modeler (Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing) Modeler is an ArchiCAD extension for architects to incorporate ductwork and piping into the architectural design. MEP Modeler allows architects to create, edit or import 3D MEP networks and coordinate them with the Building Information Model, facilitating the BIM workflow between engineers and architects.
Graphisoft EcoDesigner helps architects to use virtual building information to evaluate energy performance, thus the sustainability of the building from the very first concept design. EcoDesigner allows architects to analyze their design for energy efficiency, providing feedback on the building's estimated energy performance.
Virtual Building Explorer is an interactive BIM model presentation tool which allows the presentation of entire building models with self-running executable files, without the need for installing ArchiCAD or other BIM authoring tool. The software combines video game-like navigation with native BIM features, including measurement of real building dimensions.

other bim software includes 

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