“BIM can be understood as a virtual process that involves all aspects, disciplines, and systems of a facility within a single, virtual model, allowing all team members (owners, architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers) to collaborate more accurately and efficiently than the traditional processes.” (AZHAR,2011)
BIM enables the creation of a virtual representation of what will be constructed, the Building Information Model. This model accurately represents the geometry of the building, besides having relevant information that can be used to aid in the documentation, design, pre-fabrication and construction of the project.
The National Committee of Building Information Modeling of the United States of America – National Institute of Building Sciences (2015) defines BIM as:
BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such, it is a shared resource for information about the facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle from inception onward. A basic premise of BIM is collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle of a facility to insert, extract, update, or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder. The BIM is a shared digital representation founded on open standards for interoperability.
A process in which Clash Detection software is used during the coordination process to determine field conflicts by comparing 3D models of building systems. The goal of clash detection is to eliminate the major system conflicts prior to installation, saving money and time during construction. It's one of the main BIM uses that benefits the owner and general contractor. Time is invested at the beginning of the process to save time in the end.
A process in which stakeholders view a 3D model and provide their feedbacks to validate multiple design aspects. These aspects include evaluating meeting the program, previewing space aesthetics and layout in a virtual environment, and setting criteria such as layout, sightlines, lighting, security, ergonomics, acoustics, textures and colors, etc. This BIM use can be done by using computer software only or with special virtual mock-up facilities, such as CAVE (Computer Assisted Virtual Environment) and immersive lab. Virtual mock-ups can be performed at various levels of detail depending on project needs. An example of this is to create a highly detailed model of a small portion of the building, such as a facade to quickly analyze design alternatives and solve design and constructability issues.
A process in which 3D software is used to develop a Building Information Model based on criteria that is important to the translation of the building's design. Authoring tools create models while audit and analysis tools study or add to the richness of information in a model. Most of audit and analysis tools can be used for Design Review and Engineering AnalysisÂ BIM Uses. Design authoring tools are a first step towards BIM and the key is connecting the 3D model with a powerful database of properties, quantities, means and methods, costs and schedules.
A process in which a project team develops a 3D model of the existing conditions for a site, facilities on a site, or a specific area within a facility. This model can be developed in multiple ways: including laser scanning and conventional surveying techniques, depending on what is desired and what is most efficient. Once the model is constructed, it can be queried for information, whether it is for new construction or a modernization project.
A process in which BIM can be used to assist in the generation of accurate quantity take-offs and cost estimates throughout the lifecycle of a project. This process allows the project team to see the cost effects of their changes, during all phases of the project, which can help curb excessive budget overruns due to project modifications. Specifically, BIM can provide cost effects of additions and modifications, with potential to save time and money and is most beneficial in the early design stages of a project.
A process in which a 4D model (3D models with the added dimension of time) is utilized to effectively plan the phased occupancy in a renovation, retrofit, addition, or to show the construction sequence and space requirements on a building site. 4D modeling is a powerful visualization and communication tool that can give a project team the including owner a better understanding of project milestones and construction plans.
A process in which BIM is used to graphically represent both permanent and temporary facilities on site during multiple phases of the construction process. It may also be linked with the construction activity schedule to convey space and sequencing requirements. Additional information incorporated into the model can include labor resources, materials with associated deliveries, and equipment location. Because the 3D model components can be directly linked to the schedule, site management functions such as visualized planning, short-term re-planning, and resource analysis can be analyzed over different spatial and temporal data.
The BIM Use of Facility Energy Analysis is a process in the facility design phase which one or more building energy simulation programs use a properly adjusted BIM model to conduct energy assessments for the current building design. The core goal of this BIM use is to inspect building energy standard compatibility and seek opportunities to optimize proposed design to reduce structure's life-cycle costs.
This BIM Use can be further divided into two categories based on different levels of modeling details and implementation phases: Building Energy Analysis during Conceptual Design and Detailed Building Energy Analysis in the late Design. A quick energy analysis by using a simple BIM model during early design stage could help select best building orientations and configurations to improve building load and energy consumption profiles. Detailed BIM energy analysis is typically done in late design phase by using more powerful energy simulation tools, most of which are currently capable of behaving an hourly building load, system and plant energy simulation with economic analysis based on building location and local utility rates, and supporting BIM model files as inputs.
Before a BIM model is used for energy analysis, the responsible party (mechanical engineers or energy analysts) should review the model and make proper adjustments if the BIM model is not ready for simulation. The reviewing work includes checking model integrity and ensuring all parameters needed are not missed. Simulation tools also need to be determined before energy analysis, if single simulation program cannot satisfy all purposes (e.g. not all simulation tools are able to deal with renewable energy systems or on-site power generation, while others may lack of economic analysis), more than one software should be used jointly to accomplish energy analysis task.
Frequently, a reference building energy model also needs to be established to check if the
current building design reaches the targeted energy performance goals set by national or local codes. A more significant amount of work is required to build a reference model on the basis of existing BIM model: building geometric parameters will remain the same while exterior walls, windows, and roof materials are changed based on the standard requirements as well as HVAC equipment and lighting facilities, etc., regardless what are really used in the actual design. The reference building BIM model will then be input to the simulation tools for energy assessment and the results are compared with actual building BIM model’s prediction to examine whether the design agrees with the energy code.
If the targeted energy performance is not achieved, a design revision should be made and recorded into the initial BIM model. Energy analysis to the new version of building BIM model will be performed repeatedly until the energy goals are satisfied.
A process in which analytical modeling software utilizes the BIM design authoring model so to determine the behavior of a given lighting system. This can also include artificial (indoor and outdoor) and natural (daylighting and solar shading) lighting. Based on this analysis further development and refinement of the lighting design takes place to create effective, efficient, and constructible lighting systems. The application of this analysis tool allows for performance simulations that can significantly improve the design, and performance of the facility's lighting over its lifecycle.
A process in which intelligent modeling software uses the BIM model to determine the most effective engineering method based on design specifications. Development of this information is the basis for what will be passed on to the owner and/or operator for use in the building's systems (i.e. energy analysis, structural analysis, emergency evacuation planning, etc.). These analysis tools and performance simulations can significantly improve the design of the facility and its energy consumption during its lifecycle in the future.
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