A building information model is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such, it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life‐cycle, from inception onward.

BIM, which enables professionals to virtually build a facility before it's ever physically constructed, is a catalyst for change in an industry that's been slow to innovate and embrace technology. Because BIM can eliminate many of the inefficiencies of current construction practices and improve the transfer of information during all phases of a building's life, it's being hailed almost as much for the process it facilitates (integrated project delivery) as for the features it provides. Many stakeholders (e.g. owners, architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and facility managers) can access a building information model—entering, extracting, and/or updating information throughout the building's life‐cycle. The more individuals who collaborate using a building information model, the greater its value becomes. Because BIM has the potential to benefit so many parties (from everyone involved in the design and construction of buildings to building operators and even first responders), momentum is growing. With so many advantages, it's easy to see why.

The potential advantages of BIM span a wide range of outcomes including a better tool for design and engineering documentation and analysis, more robust cost estimating, improved trade coordination, optimized means and sequence of work, a powerful communication tool for design intent and construction plan, and an information rich as?]built model for facilities management.


The capability of BIM software to model some of the wildest building designs provides architects with infinite creative freedom. Still skeptical? Think of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; and New York City's Freedom Tower, which is currently under construction. Early adopters, like the architectural professionals at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and Pritzker‐Prize‐winning Frank Gehry, are using BIM to render curvilinear shapes and freeform geometry that 2‐D drawings can't. Beyond the mere capabilities of designing in BIM, the software increases the accuracy of drawings and streamlines the coordination of construction documents. It takes some of the pressure of data management off of the designers and allows them to actually spend more time performing design analysis.


Additionally, users can extract quantities for cost estimates and a materials/equipment inventory from the digital model. Each object (the roofing system, the windows, or the carpet) in the model can have pricing associated with it, making it easier to generate a bill of materials and product cost estimates. We can use the models for cost‐segregation studies Asset values can be assigned to building systems and materials in the model, making it easier to write off the value of that capital investment over the period of the lease. With a building information model, we can have our designers put that asset code into the 3‐D element during modeling it and then tell the model at the end of the project to give us an asset schedule.


information modeling (BIM) certainly offers great possibilities for speeding up construction schedules and cutting construction budgets, as a result. Proponents of this new technology also believe it could aid efforts to limit a building?s environmental impact. One of the biggest potential advantages BIM could provide to environmentally conscious designers is the ability to predict energy performance quickly and accurately, without the need for complicated calculations. Instead, the modeling software, itself, will be able to provide this information, and quickly recalculate the effects alternative strategies could have on overall efficiency. BIM also can help reduce construction‐related waste, as they enable extremely accurate purchasing decisions? eliminating the need for just‐in‐case material ordering. Future BIM software could enable even greater energy savings by enabling easier interactive feedback on design‐decision consequences. For example, lighting designers could quickly see the effect an added skylight might have on resulting lumen levels and architects could optimize the angle of exterior louvers to minimize heat gain without sacrificing natural light.


It is generally accepted that the construction industry has lagged behind the general US economy in productivity gains in that last half century. It has been reported that as much as 30% of the cost of construction is wasted in the field due to coordination errors, wasted material, labour inefficiencies and other problems in the current construction approach. This waste and inefficiency is not readily tracked in project cost data. But over time, the price of this waste has been accepted as a part of the cost of doing business and is built into every estimate, budget, subcontractor bid, contractor mark‐up, contingency, allowance and the like. Therefore, when considering the construction industry?s share of the US gross domestic product (GDP), the significance of productivity and waste statistics in the industry becomes starkly evident.