Let’s discover the 7 BIM dimensions, from concept to demolition, or recycle: a BIM based schematization of data heterogenity in design

BIM has become a common reality.  The building construction environment is exposed to new input and more information regarding the digitization and computerization of this sector.

Every time a specific type of information is specified into the model, a different dimension is set and, for this reason, various dimensions have been generated. As a matter of fact, according to BIM fundamentals there are seven recognized “dimensions”.

3 dimensions are generally sufficient for geometric purposes. On the other hand,  we can “invent” new descriptive modalities and refer to other dimensions, such as time, costs, etc., so to introduce a different type of information.

The technical aspects of a BIM based design can be illustrated as follows:

BIM dimensions_3D-4D-5D-6D-7D

BIM methodology dimensions

  • 3D: three-dimensional rendering of the artefact
  • 4D: duration analysis
  • 5D: cost analysis
  • 6D: sustainability assessment
  • 7D: management phase of what has been achieved

Let’s see them in details.

3D BIM is just a geometry modelling matter?

Using cutting-edge tools for reproducing construction digital models allows us to take care of the graphic detail of our design, while guaranteeing a realistic rendering of the aesthetic appearance and excellent geometric adherence of the modelled elements.

Problem that can be solved during the planning stage don’t just concern the model rendering as such, being separated from the technical disciplines involved, but it also contemplates the interaction of several roles involved/disciplines as a key component of this methodology.

Activity management need, known as “model checking”, can be expressed with two separate operations:

  • code checking, the verification of the model adherence to the project and to standards requirements.
  • clash detection, the preventive analysis of the possible geometric conflicts present in the model.

It follows the need for a formal verification of what has been modelled in each discipline.

4D BIM. Is the duration of a contract “static” or “dynamic”?

Time management represents a fundamental aspect in construction planning.

Some of the traditional methods employed in this sector (such as Gantt and Pert charts) for the construction site or project time management have certain limits and critical issues:

  • data loss from designer to company.
  • lack of communication between works management and suppliers.
  • the effective presence and precise placement of materials on the construction site.
  • the progress of the work execution.

These are just some of the reasons that cause delays and inefficiencies with the consequent need to review what has been planned up until this point.

The demand to reduce, manage and re-organize the project times according to more dynamical and open ways can be met when adopting certain new tools and methodologies.

The WBS – Work Breakdown Structure, for instance, allows to analitically  decompose a project into elementary parts connected to what has been modelled in order to easily organize and view the work progress and to improve the management of this dimension.

In the next article we will examine the other BIM methodology dimensions in details.

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