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Is BIM another word for Software?

There’s one question that seems to be forever-lingering throughout the AECO world...is BIM just another word for software? Or vice-versa for that matter. Well it seems the more people ask, the more creative the definition becomes. Allow us to set the record straight and clarify the confusion once and for all. BIM is not some kind of software (BIM system application) and just because you use a program that is considered a BIM system, it doesn’t mean that your project is using a BIM process.

Let’s breakdown BIM. 

BIM—the acronym getting a lot of attention right now—stands for Building Information Modeling. And according to the US National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. It serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle from conception onward. 

Got it? Okay all fancy-schmancy jargon aside, let’s break it down further.

BIM is primarily a process. It’s a tried and true method of ownership and management. It combines architectural, construction and installations of an entire project in every detail. Data is segregated, to manage the design and building procedure with the final stage, but also enables control of an object in itself. In layman’s terms, BIM is a vault that contains the entire life of a building. It houses the very start from when the structure was needed, the announcement of an auction, conceptual development, construction map out, executional composition, building management and overall costs. Plus it dives further into duration analysis of individual stages, running and ongoing maintenance of an existing facility that includes renovation, final deconstruction and reuse of materials. In conclusion, it’s a thorough, all-inclusive itemization of everything that has to do with a single project. Finally, something that makes sense, right?

Now let’s get real with BIM System Applications. 

BIM Applications, on the other hand, are really powerful design and modeling tools. It’s by no means a process. However, it does enable the creation of an architectural, construction and installation project. But the application is a data store that can be queried to understand what surfaces, cubature, doors, windows, etc. are contained in a facility. It prepares this data for the actual BIM process. Then you have to go use other programs in order to manage the inter-branch cooperation, define costs, produce an animation of building construction and finally manage the building itself. See, the number of steps is just too much for one software to accomplish. That’s why one stand alone BIM system application cannot equal BIM. 

And that’s our inspiring story to keep the AECO community growing through good communication. To learn more about the evolutionary BIM process visit BIMobject.com

This blog is credited to Karolina Czerwinska, Technical Expert at BIMobject®. 

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