Debunking Common Myths and Misconceptions About Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Myth 1: BIM is just 3D Modelling

It’s easy to see why people see the word modelling and assume that BIM involves drawing things in three dimensions. And while that technically is true, these visual manifestations are only part of a much wider process used to produce digital datasets. These datasets are built around collaborative work, synthesising graphical data with non-graphical information all contained within a shared digital space called the Common Data Environment. This generates a federated model which can then be managed and updated at all points of a project’s lifecycle. The idea that BIM is just 3D modelling is a reductive way of looking at it.

Myth 2: BIM is software

Another common myth is that BIM is software. It might have a name that sounds like something you need to install or upload, but BIM refers to the workflow. Though software is used, it’s part of the larger picture – the streamlined methodology of BIM ensures that software and technology is harnessed in the most effective, efficient way. In achieving this, the skills of people, process and technology have to be considered and leveraged in the appropriate way.

Myth 3: BIM negatively affects productivity

There’s a misconception that because BIM takes time to implement, it affects productivity in the long term as a result. Of course, one shouldn’t expect instant results from anything, but with the correct amount of planning, investment and consideration of the time and resources, BIM should see productivity dividends pay off in the long term.

While it may take time getting used to the planning at the early BIM stage, with training and resource studying from the get-go a common practice, even the busiest business can get to grips with BIM. Think about how technology has changed over the decades. Things that were standard in the past, no matter how popular, are now outdated and outmoded, BIM may be unfamiliar to many, but its adoption will prove that it’s a worthwhile investment.

Myth 4: BIM is expensive

The upfront costs of BIM will put a dent in the company coffers when compared to traditional working processes, but the longer-term efficiencies and benefits will counter the initial drain on the bank balance. Additionally, while there will expenditure (and why wouldn’t there?), there are many easily-accessible tools, guidance and help at low or no-cost options.

At the beginning of a project, or even before it, you can decide which aspects of BIM will be implemented and which BIM tools will be used in order to fully craft spending and time budgets before moving on with the project itself.

Myth 5: BIM is only for “big” projects

The example case studies you read about online seem to suggest that BIM can only be used for big companies or government projects. However, smaller companies still have the same opportunities for growth in terms of efficiency and collaboration that BIM affords to larger businesses.

The approach isn’t the domain of large, public-sector projects, despite the inference of government-mandated use. Rather, smaller companies and private-sector clients are leveraging the possibilities of BIM to great effect.

Myth 6: BIM won’t be around forever

BIM has long been gestating in the global construction industry. The idea of co-ordinated design to eliminate waste and bring about cost savings was proliferated by organisations such as the Building Research Establishment back in the 1970s. Further back still, automated clash detection, a feature of BIM, was considered as long ago as 1966. The idea that BIM is a flash-in-the-pan fad couldn’t be further from the truth.

Rather, the influence of digital technology on the built environment is set to grow. The UK government previously mandated that by April 2016, all government building and infrastructure projects should be PAS 1192-2 compliant. Those who adopt the approach stand to truly gain a competitive advantage, reduce outgoings and work in a more efficient manner.

Myth 7: The geometry requirements are too complicated

It’s important to remember that BIM implies a product rather manufactures it, therefore it isn’t necessary for details to be 100% fine-tuned. Once an appropriate level of detail has been gleaned, there’s no need to model every single element or component in a plan.

Discover more about BIM