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What is BIM

BIM (Building Information Modelling) has long existed as an established project methodology “standard” in the building industry. As a pioneer in BIM for infrastructure, Vianova Systems is a driver for the same adoption to happen in the infrastructure industry.

Today we see BIM becoming an increasing client/owner requirement in the infrastructure industry as well. Whether you are a client/owner, consultant or contractor, you need to adapt to the change. The value and the importance of BIM will increase through the whole lifecycle of the infrastructure.

Many believe BIM is a software design tool to design and construct buildings, and therefore only is applicable for architects and structural engineers in the building industry. The reality is that the "B" in "BIM" covers all types of building and construction projects, be it buildings, road and rail infrastructure.

Why should you be concerned with BIM?

The overall answer is that national public and private road and rail authorities are increasingly requiring the use of BIM in their new infrastructure projects. In Scandinavia this is already the case, and European initiatives are moving in the same direction. 

Implementing BIM requirements will result in great gains for the infrastructure owner, and hence the society – in terms of better quality and more efficient projects. This also benefits the entire industry.

BIM provides a methodological design process that benefits the whole engineering and construction process. For example, making visual inspection of the project model. From the very start it is possible to detect design conflicts and errors, and being in full control of the design model and tender documents. Hence avoiding costly change orders at the construction site. The visual insight also provides a better basis for optimization, aesthetic design and infrastructure safety.

The overall gains are fewer design errors, a smoother construction process and higher quality of the infrastructure built.

But BIM only works if all participants of the project collaborate. So the question is: Will you be part of the problem or the solution? If you are an active industry player you have to deal with the challenge whether you want to – or not.

A visual model

BIM is both a tool-based design method and a way to collaborate in multidiscipline projects. Modelling in 3D versus drawing in 2D, and multidiscipline project collaboration are the keywords.

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Unlike traditional drawing design, in a BIM tool you model with digital 3D objects. The objects are either standardized and can be picked from an associated object catalogue in the tool, or from the Internet (or you can make them yourself). These are concrete objects such as manholes, tubes, signs, lighting etc, and abstract objects such as road surfaces and property boundaries. Enriched with information about their physical parameters (type, material, manufacturer, price, performance, etc) as well as having predetermined relations to other objects, the objects are also referred to as intelligent.

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Open BIM

Open BIM is notably not restricted to one specific tool or application. Under certain conditions, you can share data from other 3D design tools and collaborate across tools and disciplines. By using a neutral data standard such as Open GML and IFC, others will be able to participate in the project – whether you are a road engineer, water and waste engineer, surveyor, landscape architect, contractor or client.

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