Why is BIM said to be expensive? (Why, is it?)

But what is BIM exactly?

The best official definition I have read is that BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building.


To summarize: we build a whole building in the virtual space and attach characteristics to each building element. For example, for a pipe, we describe what goes in it and at what speed, what material it’s made of, who it’s made by, whether it has a warranty, etc., like this:

And what is it for?

To use this information to build a shared database on which we can design, build and operate different software and mobile apps much faster and cheaper.

I think it’s a good BIM project:

During the design process, we build a virtual space model of the building to simulate how it works and optimize it to the limit – before it’s built.

  • Designers work in a single shared model where changes and conflicts are seen and managed in near real-time.
  • The model is linked to a Common Data Environment (CDE), which turns the plans into shared knowledge and allows the information model to be updated and uploaded.
  • Revisions to plan documentation and full document management can be implemented.
  • Gaming engine technology allows you to experience the 3D model on a simple tablet or phone.
  • Issue management can be managed either through communication between designers or feedback from contractors.
  • Based on the above, the model will be suitable for validation (digital handover) at the end of the construction, which will be the input to the facility management system of the finished building.
  • The model can be coupled with an operation software that facilitates the operation of the building with almost unlimited flexible functionality (predictive maintenance).

What will this change?

  • In design, we get new tools and effective collaboration, making design 5x faster.
  • With the model, we will be able to simulate the building’s operation, so the building’s environmental impact will be reduced and it will “consume” up to 10-20% less.
  • The quality of the plans is significantly improved, reducing the amount of extra work by an average of 20%, which reduces the cost of construction and the chance of missing deadlines.
  • The latest status of the model and plans will be available on the construction site via apps, meaning the contractor and client will no longer need to browse printed plan sheets on site, as the complete plan can be viewed with a simple phone or VR glasses. They will simply see what needs to be built.
  • Efficient FM systems and applications are linked to the information model, making operations easier and faster.

The complete plan can be displayed on a regular smartphone,
tablet, or VR glasses.
They will simply see what needs to be built.

So BIM doesn’t just mean delivering a 3D model, which is the end of the designer’s job.

The BIM model is a new digital ecosystem, a new step in the evolution of the construction industry.

The BIM model stores the information that allows us to optimize our decisions in the virtual space, making the actually built facility more efficient.

By analogy, what the digital map is to social navigation, the BIM model is to digital twin technology.

Waze has reinvented the way we travel.

BIM will make the same to our construction industry.

Csaba Livjak

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