Building information modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

A BIM model is a virtual 3D model of a construction project. Building Information Modelling refers to the collaborative, cross-disciplinary process of designing, qualifying and realising such a model. BIM can aid the early detection of potential issues.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) refers to a collaborative, technology-assisted work process, which allows architects, engineers, contractors and clients to work together in a common data environment. A BIM model is a virtual 3D model of a construction project, which typically is divided into several layers corresponding to different types of information. By using the same BIM model throughout the construction project, professionals can streamline work processes, define potential problems and detect clashes before construction is initiated on-site. Moreover, a BIM model provides the client with detailed graphical and non-graphical information of the designed construction project. After construction, the client can use the BIM model as a point of departure for data-driven facility management, hereby optimising operation of the built structure.

The terms Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) and BIM are often used interchangeably. Building upon the notion of BIM, VDC adds a focus on the strategic aspects of managing BIM processes, e.g. selecting the right technology, people and project organisation.

Benefits and challenges

  • Enable more streamlined work processes with less rework, e.g. when the project transfers from one professional to another.
  • Improved speed of delivery as issues more often can be resolved during design rather than on-site.
  • Improved collaboration and communication between construction professionals and with the client resulting in a better quality of the finished product.
  • Improved ability to handle changes to the project as these can be communicated to all involved stakeholders
  • Enable better facility management as all construction information is stored in one BIM model.
  • Enable several other digital technologies in construction, such as virtual reality for design, construction 3D printing and predictive maintenance.
  • Many stakeholders need to be involved in the implementation. This entails large initial investments in changing work processes, training stakeholders and implementing software.

Application examples

In Europe, BIM is widely used for planning, designing and constructing buildings. For example, BIM shaped the workflow of constructing the new Easton Helsinki shopping centre in 2017. The BIM model enabled quick design cycles, because data could be efficiently transferred between stakeholders. During the project, the building client Kesko used the BIM model to negotiate and plan future retail spaces with prospective tenants. After construction, Kesko uses the BIM model for maintenance and development purposes (

Development stage

BIM is a mature technology, which is widespread in the construction sector.

Construction impact

BIM technology affects all phases of construction projects, especially the design phase.

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24 JULI 2024