Chapter 26 Digital Engineering and Building Information Modelling
What is DE and BIM?
Digital Engineering (DE) involves bringing together all the information about a project into a single digital location. It enables information and data to be seamlessly transferred over the project and asset life cycle.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a form of DE, involving a combination of software and processes in which the asset is ‘built’ to ensure the asset is managed in an efficient manner. BIM is a framework to attribute geometrical and non-geometrical information to infrastructure during its lifespan – starting from the initial design of the asset and continuing through to its construction and subsequent maintenance, ie long after the asset is built. It is a collaborative tool increasingly used in the construction industry to deliver major complex projects throughout their whole of life cycle. BIM presents opportunities to overcome low productivity and profitability, and reduce the likelihood of costly disputes and significant delays in the construction industry.
BIM consists of four distinct levels with different criteria that reflect the degree of ‘maturity’, which in this context means the readiness of a stakeholder within the industry to adopt BIM. The BIM level which is adopted is a decision that is usually driven by the developer.
BIM levels (the measure of collaboration) are not to be confused with BIM dimensions (the measure of information). BIM dimensions reflect the extent of information and data that is entered into a model. The dimensions also indicate the level of technology used and the ability to exchange information digitally on a particular project. There are seven dimensions of BIM which are generally referred to as 2D through to 8D.