Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?
Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of 3D digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. Building information models and objects are files which can be extracted and shared to support decision-making regarding a built asset. This is usually achieved by having a single common data environment accessible by all stakeholders in a project. Current BIM software is used by individuals, businesses and government agencies to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain a wide range of built environment infrastructure across the world.
Q. What will BIM do for my business?
As a manufacturer offering BIM objects as part of your product information marketing could open up new opportunities with designers, architects and specifiers using BIM as their project design tool. Approaching two thirds of designers in the UK now use Revit as their BIM design tool. It may also help protect existing business with clients who have adopted BIM and expect their supply chain to be able to work in BIM too. Showcasing your products in BIM on your own website is a cost effective and valuable additional tool alongside the traditional PDF brochures and specifications you probably already have available to download.
If you’re in construction, it is highly likely you may have come into contact with BIM. Either as the recipient of a project brief with a BIM model at it’s heart, or perhaps as lead contractor dealing with a plethora of sub contract and supply chain companies as part of the overall construction. In the latter case using BIM as the common data environment, and having your supply chain provide their product detail to it as BIM objects, means you can be sure of accuracy of fit and purpose for every component of the build - and dispense with a sea of paper. As the construction progresses you can use scanning and BIM 3D walk throughs to check for build errors even day to day if you wish.
In short getting your supply chain to adopt BIM by providing you with BIM Objects will improve accuracy, save time and re-working whilst reducing the reliance on paper and 2D drawings.
Q. What is a BIM Model?
It is the overall project design. In years gone by replica models would be created to assist in visualising a finished build of a construction project. Now this can be done digitally using BIM to create a 3D virtual model that can be viewed on screen or via virtual reality walkthrough. It is made up of all the components required to deliver the finished construction. Each of these is a BIM object (or BIM model object) It is these BIM objects that product manufacturers put on their web sites to encourage downloading by specifiers.
Q. What is a BIM Object?
It is the 3D graphical representation and associated data that defines the geometric and physical characteristics of a product and which enables it’s use in a BIM model. (Project design)
Q. What is LOD ?
LOD means level of detail. It describes the content detail maturity of a BIM object.
There are five levels from LOD 100 through to LOD 500. The most commonly used in the specification and design stage of a project is LOD 300.
In the explanation below ‘model element’ means the BIM Model object – your product. ‘Model’ means the overall project plan.
The LOD framework defines the following model element content requirements:
LOD 100: The Model Element may be graphically represented in the Model with a symbol or other generic representation, but does not satisfy the requirements for LOD 200. Information related to the Model Element (i.e., cost per square foot, tonnage of HVAC, etc.) can be derived from other Model Elements.
LOD 200: The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a generic system, object, or assembly with approximate quantities, size, shape, location, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 300: The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a specific system, object, or assembly in terms of quantity, size, shape, location, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 400: The Model Element is graphically represented within the Model as a specific system, object or assembly in terms of size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation with detailing, fabrication, assembly, and installation information. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Element.
LOD 500 The Model Element is a field verified representation in terms of size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation. Non-graphic information may also be attached to the Model Elements.
(Ref AIA, Guide, Instructions and Commentary to the 2013 AIA Digital Practice Documents.)
Q. How do I get a BIM object for my product?
Talk to us here at the BIM Men. With our BIM Made Easy philosophy you get a high quality, fully tested BIM object for a great price; and with a money back guarantee.
Q. Can I build my own BIM objects?
Yes, you can. But you will need to buy the Revit software licences and invest in several days of training to reach a basic standard of proficiency. Then you’ll need to understand and populate the parameter tables in such a way as to be operationally efficient in use; and to develop a testing regime with a project test model to make sure your object really works. Once you’ve built them you will need to consider how you will maintain them over time and what the procedures will be for updating as your products evolve. And you will need to find the man power time to do all this on top of business as usual. Alternatively, you can talk the BIM Men about BIM made Easy – high quality BIM objects at great prices and with a money back guarantee while you concentrate on the day job.
Q. I already have 3D images of my products - can’t I just get those converted to BIM objects?
Most graphics packages are just that – packages for producing graphical representations in 2 or 3D and they are generally good too. Many offer an IFC export file capability. This can be used to move data into Revit to create a graphical 3D representation in that system. However associated data does not transfer and if your object is parametric, that there are some dimensions and dependencies that can be manipulated by the user in BIM then this functionality is lost too. What you get is a ‘solid lump’ which does not import successfully into a BIM model. It cannot function as a BIM object within a model because data in the properties table is absent or corrupted. It’s just not BIM.
If you want workable BIM objects then exporting from graphics packages is just not the way to go about it. In one organisation we engaged with, the R&D team spent over 12 months trying to make this work before coming back to re-consider having their objects built from scratch by us in Revit. Meantime their competition who had BIM on their site had a whole year of competitive advantage
Q. What is Revit?
Revit is the most popular software programme used to build BIM 3D models and Objects. It is made by Autodesk. It is what The BIM Men use to build objects for clients.
Q. I have a design team – Can you help get them up to speed so we can build our own objects?
Yes we can. Our process for achieving this has two main elements : the building of a limited number of gold standard example objects by us and the education of your team to understand BIM application and the use of Revit. We have experienced industry partners who deliver direct end user training on Revit. We provide the initial object builds and the professional expertise with regard to the use of BIM and especially the content of the properties tables.
Q. Is your money back guarantee genuine or just a sales gimmick?
It’s 100% genuine. We are so sure of our processes and the quality of what we produce for clients that we are happy to put our money where our mouth is. After all, if it’s right then there is no risk to us….so why wouldn’t we?
From our clients’ point of view it offers massive risk reduction knowing that hard won budget can be rescued if the worst happens. No-one else offers a money back guarantee…wonder why they don’t feel able to?
Q. Where is my BIM Object stored?
Wherever you like! When the BIM Men have built your object, and you have signed it off as correct they will issue the final version file to you in Revit family file ( .rfa format) Where you store it is up to you. Customers generally put the .rfa file onto their own web-site for designers, architects and specifiers to download from the technical specification area or a specific area for BIM.