Building Information Modeling

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a model for the digital design, construction and operation of buildings. Through BIM, the processes of those involved (architect, planners, manufacturers, wholesalers, craftsmen, facility managers, etc.) change accordingly. Motto: First the virtual building is created, then the real one. 

BIM affects all areas of buildings and requires the cooperation of all market partners (associations, architects, planners, wholesalers, industry, craftsmen). A strong change in building processes is to be expected and on the verge of this change, especially the industry standards are to be designed or optimized.

The dimensions of BIM

BIM has 7 dimensions. Graphic planning today is three-dimensional,  it depicts the room. With the BIM concept, further dimensions are added, which are actually the core of BIM. All in all, this creates an overall view of the building, which enables integrated planning from planning, construction, operation, demolition and disposal. In general, the following additional dimensions are distinguished:

  • 4th Dimension (4D), the process planning. The sequence of a construction project can already be simulated in the computer. From this the special time model of the construction process can be developed.
  • 5th Dimension (5D), the cost planning. By means of a detailed quantity survey and evaluation of all work processes, the costs of the construction project can be determined and optimized by what-if considerations. In particular, the production process can also be optimized.
  • 6th Dimension (6D), the sustainability. Energy efficiency and sustainability are planned via an energy model. This also includes questions of recycling.
  • 7th Dimension (7D), the facility management. All information about the building is digitally documented. All relevant information is available for the operation and maintenance of the building.

Quality requirements

Today a large number of developments and standards are marketed under the generic term BIM. The complexity of the approach leads to completely different understandings of what requirements "BIM data" must meet. There is no clear definition of the quality requirements that BIM data must meet in order to fulfill the needs of different target groups. As the trade is increasingly demanding "BIM data" from the industry, it is important that uniform quality standards are defined to ensure that the high production costs and the actual benefit are in an acceptable ratio.

Currently, it seems reasonable to consider the IFC standard as the goal of BIM standardization. With VDI 3805, an open standard is already available to the heating sector, which currently represents the highest form of BIM capability within the heating industry. The integration into the BIM standard IFC as well as towards the classification system ETIM is on the way. On the other hand, the proprietary REVIT format as well as the open IFC format are available in the sanitary sector in addition to older, proprietary standards (e.g. DWG, DXF). However, the latter is currently not yet developed in the area of characteristics in a sanitary-specific manner. Especially the integration with ETIM seems to be important.

The following illustration gives a rough picture of the data quality level, but does by no means take into account all aspects of technical standardization (e.g. level of detail, level of information, compatibility of different 3D geometries).

In the future, it must be the task of the standardizing associations and organizations to develop the concrete requirements for the data quality of BIM data. Otherwise, unnecessary costs will be incurred in some cases, especially by manufacturers in the course of data creation.

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