The 7 dimensions of the BIM methodology

The 7 dimensions of the BIM methodology

From monitoring to quantity and costs estimate, from work sustainability assessment to construction management, maintenance and disposal. Let’s find out the 7 dimensions of the BIM methodology (part 2)

Let’s continue the BIM 7 dimensions analysis started in the previous article.

5D BIM: quantity and cost estimate. A new strategy or a traditional approach?

The focal point of 5D BIM is the “Quantity Take Off“, which consists in the measurements extraction from a project to define the material/s quantity necessary for one or more elements modelling.
Once this operation has been completed, it is necessary to choose the price items to be assigned to the construction works, with the relative unit price, and then determining the amount.
Consequently, you can monitor the choices made by the quantity surveyor and verify if they match with the designer’s ones.

Typically, the cost estimate updates in parallel with how the project design evolves, with the risk of data loss during the updating process (the probability is quite high!).

By making a comparison between the cost estimate and 4D BIM, we can assess whether the result should be a static or dynamic product. The outcome can be linked to some aspects, such as maintenance, which are interconnected but treated separately.

Therefore, it is clear how the processes reconsideration, interaction and tools can streamline the information management, linking this last dimension to other aspects of the ” building life cycle”.

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

BIM dimensions

Are information technology and sustainability for the users possible with 6D BIM?

The concept of “sustainable development” was formalized for the first time in 1987 within the “Brundtland” report draught by the formerly World Commission on Environment and Development (today known as Brundtland Commission).
As a matter of fact, the concept of sustainability, can be examined under three different point of views:

  • environmental, expressed in terms of reproduction and maintenance management capacity of natural resources
  • economic, meant as income and work generating power
  • social, meant as a well-being generator for man.

It’s not always easy to adapt this concept to a sustainable type of design, especially in terms of innovation, since designing in a sustainable way implies a quality aspect.

Is the technology quantity (systems, automation, etc.) or the technology quality (elements and properties integration) to make a building construction sustainable?
Probably the adoption of a methodology that requires a process planning and a building management will allow the analytical processes which are involved in assessing the sustainability of a construction building to perform better.

7D BIM.  Where does the project end and where does building management start?

One of the objectives of the BIM methodology is to create a virtual (three-dimensional and informative) model more faithful to what has actually been achieved. A model defined “As-built” includes, indeed, not only what has been designed, but also what is being built during the construction phase.

What is conceived during project phase, is traditionally reviewed and modified on the construction site to cope with possible variations during the construction building or for resolving  geometric or operational conflicts not taken into account in the initial building stage.

This model is not to be intended as a model produced by a single “BIM authoring” software but as a product from a set of models made with a software and able to describe the construction work in an appropriate manner compared to the appropriate level of digital development required (LOD here intended as ” Level of Development “”).

The generated “model” must include the transmission of the information database built around the virtual representation of the “building object”, in order to preserve and transmit what has been designed.

At this stage, is the process to be considered completed? Moreover, can the delivery of what has been achieved be considered as a finished product?

When talking about “building life cycle” we certainly cannot disregard maintenance and dismantling aspects or the renovation of the building work.


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