Building Information Modeling

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The term Building Information Modeling (short: BIM ; German: Bauwerkdatenmodellierung ) describes a method of networked planning, execution and management of buildings and other structures using software . All relevant building data is digitally modeled, combined and recorded. The building is also geometrically visualized as a virtual model ( computer model ). Building Information Modeling is used both in construction for building planning and construction ( architecture , engineering , building services , civil engineering , urban planning , railway construction , road construction , hydraulic engineering , geotechnical engineering ) and in facility management .

Planning process

In modern construction planning , an object planner, in the case of buildings this is usually an architect , creates a draft . The graphic implementation of this takes place nowadays with the help of CAD systems. A building goes through various life cycle phases: requirements planning, draft, implementation planning, tendering, construction phase, commissioning, use, conversion, renovation and demolition. In each phase, those involved in the project, such as architects, engineers, specialist planners, authorities and executors, generate a large number of documents that depict the current status of the building. Information is exchanged using commercial or open data exchange standards.

In addition to the planning of qualities based on drawings, calculations and technical data, a quantity determination is created to determine costs according to DIN 276 . The drawings form the basis for this. To do this, the geometries must be linked with qualitatively and financially defined service components so that the individual quantity details can be summed up in service items or imputed partial services. Changes in the planning, which require a graphic adjustment, usually also have an effect on the determination of quantities and costs. All those involved then receive updated drawings and have to compare them with their specialist plans. This causes a considerable amount of coordination and work. The third important pillar in the planning process is the scheduling. Like the quality and cost assessment, this is worked out in more and more detail in the course of the planning process.

Powerful modeling software, the availability of sufficiently powerful hardware and fast networking via the Internet make it possible to fundamentally change the planning process with so-called Building Information Models (BIMs). The three-dimensional building models must be filled with the relevant information by all those involved in the project. The geometric data are only a small part of the information to be inserted, each component is described by a large number of attributes. In addition to technical data on quality, this also includes information on costs and scheduling. The level of information is described in sheet 1 of VDI 2552 as the level of information. It is divided from 0 for "no information" to 500 for, quote: "Sufficiently detailed for a product-specific tender. Objects can also contain operational properties and operationally relevant function descriptions."

The development of this information in the planning process ideally works in a cloud solution in which everyone works in one model. This makes the individual planning steps transparent, because everyone can see what effects their actions have on other parts of the building. If, for example, the structural engineer decides that a supporting pillar needs to be wider, the cable route in this area may have to be moved. Or, for example, the number and description of doors in a building can change due to changes in the floor plan . The architect changes the doors in the virtual building model. This automatically changes the door list and a corresponding link also generates the direct effect on the cost calculation. The data exchange of individual planning statuses within the project team is no longer necessary.

However, those involved in the project must continue to be coordinated in the digital planning process. This function is usually taken over by a BIM manager who draws up and explains rules for the workflow and monitors compliance. Another advantage of building models from a BIM planning process is that they can be used as an intelligent knowledge database over the entire life cycle of a building or a structural system. For this, however, the information that is important for operation, such as maintenance cycles for hold-open systems on doors, fire detectors, etc., should be stored in the model.

Numerous studies show the BIM potential as a catalyst, which significantly reduces the fragmentation of the planning and construction process, increases efficiency and lowers planning costs (by minimizing changes). The increased use of Building Information Modeling promises a fundamental change in the planning, construction and operating processes of buildings. BIM thus describes a procedural change in the design, use and operation (facility management) of buildings driven by digitization. It represents a paradigm shift towards life-cycle, integral planning . Integral planning without BIM is feasible, but consistent implementation of BIM without integral planning is not feasible.


The characteristics and advantages of the process are:

  • Improved quality of the data, as they are all based on a common database and are constantly synchronized
  • Immediate and continuous availability of all current and relevant data for everyone involved
  • Improved information exchange between those involved in planning
  • Continuous data preparation throughout the entire life cycle of a building

The improved data comparison should ultimately increase the productivity of the planning process in terms of costs, deadlines and quality.

Origin and implementation of the term

The term Building Information Modeling was coined by Autodesk to describe a " three-dimensional, object-oriented, AEC-specific computer-aided design process ". A distinction is made between a parametric building model and an intelligent building model . In the parametric building model, all elements (walls, ceilings, dimensions, labels, objects, cutting lines, etc.) can be made dependent on one another, while in the intelligent building model the intelligence is limited to individual objects.

The adoption of the "Step-by-Step Plan for Digital Planning and Building" by the BMVI is intended to promote the implementation of BIM in Germany. In the step-by-step plan, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure calls for "the introduction of modern, IT-supported processes and technologies for planning, building and operating structures". Contractual regulations are defined, the close cooperation between those involved in construction is explained and team-oriented planning in a technical sense is shown. From 2020, the regulations will be mandatory for all infrastructure-related building construction projects to be planned.


The international organization buildingSMART aims to establish open standards (openBIM) for information exchange and communication based on Building Information Modeling. To this end, buildingSMART has developed a basic data model - the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) - for model-based data exchange in the construction industry.


Software technical support for BIM processes is marketed by many CAD manufacturers. Some examples:

BIM software with a focus on project management tasks:

  • Powerproject BIM from Elecosoft: scheduling and construction time planning with timeline simulation
  • Bim4you from BIB: planning and calculation

Free software that includes BIM functions:

  • FreeCAD : Universal CAD software with an architectural model
  • OpenProject : Open source project management software with support from IFC and BCF

See also

Web links


  • André Bormann, Markus König, Christian Koch, Jakob Beetz: Building Information Modeling. Technological basics and industrial practice. Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-05605-6 .
  • Kerstin Hausknecht, Thomas Liebich: BIM Compendium. Building Information Modeling as a new planning method. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3-816-79489-9 .
  • Mark Baldwin: The BIM Manager: Practical Guide for BIM Project Management Beuth Verlag, 2018, ISBN 978-3-410-26232-9
  • Andreas Ragg: BIM manual: Recommendations for the digital construction process in civil engineering and road construction Publisher: MTS Maschinentechnik Schrode AG, 2019, ISBN 978-3-982-08140-3 .
  • André Pilling: BIM - the digital togetherness. Planning, building and operating in new dimensions. Beuth Verlag, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-410-29152-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. KBOB_Recommendations_BIM_20180115. Retrieved December 11, 2019 .
  2. C. Eastman, P. Teicholz, R. Sacks, K. Liston: BIM Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
  3. ^ Association of German Engineers eV: VDI 2552 Part 1 Draft, Building Information Modeling - Basics . Beuth, Düsseldorf June 2019, p. 27-28 .
  4. ^ André Borrmann et al: Building Information Modeling . 1st edition. Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-05605-6 , pp. 10-11 .
  5. ^ André Borrmann et al: Building Information Modeling . 1st edition. Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-05605-6 , pp. 57-74 .
  6. ^ K. Pramod Reddy: BIM for Building Owners and Developers . 1st edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey 2012, ISBN 978-0-470-90598-2 , pp. 10-12 .
  7. ^ M. Prins, R. Owen: Integrated Design and Delivery Solutions. In: Architectural Engineering and Design Management. 6, 2010, pp. 227-231.
  8. ^ Eva Maria Herrmann: BIM Building Information Modeling Management Volume 2 . 1st edition. DETAIL Business Information GmbH, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-95553-406-6 , p. 46-49 .
  9. ^ André Borrmann et al: Building Information Modeling . 1st edition. Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-05605-6 , pp. 565 .
  10. All strings in hand New ways with Building Information Modeling. Retrieved December 11, 2019 .
  11. Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: (as of 01/2017)
  12. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on April 19, 2012 ; Retrieved December 6, 2013 .
  13. heise online: OpenProject 10.4: New viewer for integrating 3-D models. Retrieved May 17, 2020 .
  14. news: BIM & Software - OpenProject 10.4 with BIM release - IFC viewer as a new function of the open project management OpenProject, from 02.25.2020. Retrieved May 23, 2020 .