Building Information Modelling (BIM) dimensions refer to levels of information and data entered in to a 3D model using BIM software, and includes 3D model data, time data, costs, and sustainability. See below for a brief description of each dimension.
3D BIM is probably the most familiar form of BIM, and is the process of gathering graphical and non-graphical information to build 3D models and sharing this information in a Common Data Environment (CDE). Collaborating parties of a project must provide accurate inputs of information so that potential flaws can be identified and remedied before any construction or building work takes place and avoid unnecessary rework costs. BIM allows multidisciplinary teams to work together more effectively from a single source of truth.
Some of the benefits of BIM include:
- Reduced rework – meaning less time and money spent on fixing errors before construction takes place.
- Improved collaboration between multidisciplinary teams.
- 3D visualisation of the project to help with communication of design intent, and to support logistics.
4D BIM brings time information in to the mix to create an even richer source of information for the project. This information could be installation time, time until operational, curation of materials etc. This type of information is entered directly into the model, and can assist project planners in creating and shaping proposals from a much earlier stage in the project compared with traditional workflows.
Timely data also allows collaborators to visualise the progress of a project at different stages. This can positively impact the timeline of the project where project planners are able to see how assets come together sequentially and feedback any issues before any construction takes place, creating a safer working environment for site workers, and a project that can meet timelines and project deadlines.
At the heart of 5D BIM is information related to costs e.g. the capital cost of purchasing a component, the user being able to extract accurate cost data from the model, and also see changes in the cost data over time. Having cost information in the CDE helps with budget tracking and cost analysis of a project, bringing greater accuracy to the cost estimate of the entire project.
6D BIM is focused on the sustainability of an asset, and is known as the ‘project life cycle information’ or sometimes referred to as Facilities Management. Data may include information from the manufacturer including, maintenance schedules, configuration of the component for optimum performance, expected lifespan etc. Better decisions can be made for example on assets that have a longer life span and make better economic sense. With this level of data in a model, facilities managers can even pre-plan maintenance activities well in advance.
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