Building Information modeling is a very detailed way to illustrate every aspect of a building in one electronic drawing model. It is a system in which Architects, Electrical Engineers, Structural Engineers, Interior Designers and a wealth of other professionals place their building design information; from products, colors, sizes, weights, loads and potentially all calculations and information. This, ultimately, overarching integration of building information has its benefits and its barriers that make it both potentially incredible and probably unmanageable.
Because BIM integrates multiple disciplines in one electronically drawn format, it allows for all the building product and system information to be placed in one computerized drawing location, essentially integrating the written specifications with the 3D image; once distinct and separate documents. Constraining all project participants to that one source for all project information, early detection of professional/trade errors and inaccuracies prior to bidding and building is enhanced. The time and money that would have to be spent on correcting these types of documentation oversights is ultimately saved.
However, the question still remains, can this one electronic drawing model be worked on simultaneously by different professionals and, if not, how and by whom does the updated information get uploaded to the main building model? Notwithstanding that question, the integration of all of this data can become prohibitive. The amount of computed information required for one building can create a file so large that one system cannot hold all of the information. And if all that information cannot be stored in one place the whole point of BIM is ultimately undermined.
The integration of BIM currently faces another issue, not all disciplines have the programmatic capability of using BIM. Not all of the professionals involved in the creation of a building use the same drawing software. This proves to be a major challenge to the collaboration required to actualize a fully integrated BIM process. For companies that are not currently technologically at the level to use BIM, attempting to integrate it into their organizations, would require time and cost prohibitive software and hardware upgrades and personnel training.
Some other questions being consider. How will the BIM building documentation process translate into bidding and construction documents for the Constructor? Will the constructor have access to this electronic model too? How will the roles and responsibilities be separated legally for each profession and trade?
The BIM model has proven to be useful in part on many municipal and private projects within the State of Connecticut. BIM has been used in partial ways by the structural teams, who were able to design and size structural components early in the process allowing them to be prepared to go straight to shop drawings and fabrication upon bidding award. Using BIM on a project in this type of limited and focused way can save time and money. However, the question still remains how can BIM be used to its full potential industry wide; efficiently, effectively and with limited legal ramifications.