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.  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.

The full capability of BIM depends on what level of BIM is engaged on a project.  BIM can be broken down into distinct and recognisable milestones, which reflect the level of project delivery output. At present there are up to six levels of BIM used on projects with each level of BIM corresponding with the level of detail and information required for each stage.  The concept of various levels of BIM originates from the American Institute of Architects and sets out the BIM process from the first concept through to construction (discussed further in the International approaches to BIM section of this chapter).