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What is 9D BIM

9D BIM: what’s it used for and why it’s so important for streamlining the various activities involved in managing a construction project.

When reading about BIM and interdisciplinary design, we often come across the different dimensions of BIM. Most AEC professionals stop at the basics and know more or less what 5D BIM is but it’s a continuously evolving world with the tendency to digitize apparently fragmented processes highly reliant on paperwork and 2D content. That’s why this follow-up article takes a closer look at what 9D BIM is and how it can be leveraged to manage the construction process with the help of a free and easy-to-use tool.

When we talk about the dimensions of BIM, we are primarily referring to a suggestive (and conventional) way of defining certain topics that come into play in the digitisation of construction projects, from their graphical representation (2D, 3D) to the management of construction operations and industrialization processes (10D). But if you’re if you’re not already a familiar user of BIM technology, why not try a BIM management system and discover the new tools that allow you to seamlessly transtion from 2D to 3D and see for yourself how BIM can boost your productivity.

BIM dimensions

What is 9D BIM

What is 9D BIM?

9D BIM, also known as lean construction, is the dimension of BIM that optimises and streamlines all the steps involved in the implementation of a project through processes digitisation.

Lack of planning on a construction site can lead to delays in project delivery and consequently increase the initial budget. 9D BIM is the method designed to completely eliminate waste, optimise all the resources involved in the construction process and increase productivity.

Without any doubt, all these aspects contribute to the realisation of a valuable end product.

9D BIM: the principles of lean construction

The principles on which lean construction is based are:

  • optimising, reducing or eliminating activities that do not add value to the process – To achieve process improvement, special attention is paid to all aspects of the supply chain (from production, to transportation of materials to the construction site). The entire production chain is analysed, unnecessary or repetitive processes are identified and strategies are devised to simplify or replace them. For example, the use of means of transport is planned to be optimised and perfectly matched to the quantities to be transported. With this in mind, the use of larger trucks for transporting materials is preferred, reducing the number of trips required;
  • considering the customer’s needs – Before starting any project, it is necessary to identify the customer’s needs by means of market research and satisfaction surveys, even on projects that have already been delivered. Activities that do not add value to the process are not of interest to the client and therefore the client is not willing to pay for them. On the other hand, focusing on the customer’s needs is more likely to make all operations run smoothly;
  • standardising processes – Construction is one of the sectors with the highest rate of unforeseen events: each project is unique and unique are the conditions that come into play at the construction site (completion time, labour, local conditions, availability of equipment and materials, etc.). In order to minimise site diversification, standardised construction processes should be adopted, reducing the possibility of problems and improving the ability to manage unforeseen events. Reducing these variables allows the construction company to maintain a predefined standard and ensure a smoother and safer process;
  • optimising time – The time variable is influenced by the activities of transport, waiting, processing, inspection, etc. Optimising all these activities has an impact on the quality of the work and client delivery times;
  • increasing the transparency of the process – This principle contributes to greater participation of all those involved in the process, who can actively and more consciously intervene in the development of improvement solutions.

Traditional and lean construction

The way in which the construction process is managed differs between the traditional and lean construction methods.

In the lean method, activities are divided into:

  • activities that add value to the project
  • activities that do not add value to the project.

The concept of value is directly linked to the degree of customer satisfaction: therefore, if the customer is not willing to pay for a given activity, it is categorised as an activity that does not add value to the final product

According to this criterion, lean thinking aims to eliminate as much waste as possible already in the project management phase.

In the traditional method, however, activities are divided into sub-processes and the yardstick is not the degree of customer satisfaction. There is no careful management of waste, nor is there any planning of activities in the preliminary phase.

9D BIM software

If you are looking for a tool to manage the design, execution and maintenance of a project, we recommend you using usBIM, the BIM management system for the digitization of buildings and infrastructures in an easy, secure and shared and collaborative way.

You can access many free applications for:

  • collaborating with your team in real-time
  • sharing and managing construction and infrastructure projects, including large-scale ones
  • working online with any device (PC, tablet, smartphone) and anywhere.
BIM dimensions, the functionalities in usBIM

usBIM functionalities

The dimensions of BIM

BIM dimensions” refers to all aspects and information that come into play in the process of construction digitalization.

When referring to the graphical representation of a building, the terms 2D (two-dimensional representation of the model through plans, elevations and sections) and 3D (representation of the model in space) are commonly used. 2D and 3D are ‘dimensions’ that characterise the geometry of a model.

However, there are other BIM dimensions (4D, 5D, 6D, etc.) that express other characteristics of the same model.

In fact, BIM is much more than simple geometric modelling in 3D and encompasses many other aspects (or dimensions) that serve to add useful information to the project to be carried out or managed.

That said, the more commonly used ‘dimensions of BIM’ are:

  • 3D – three-dimensional model of the asset
  • 4D – analysis of the time required to complete works
  • 5D – cost analysis
  • 6D – sustainability assessment
  • 7D – facility management phase.
BIM dimensions explained

The dimensions of BIM

8D, 9D and 10D BIM

In addition to the 7 standard dimensions, there is an open debate on the three “new dimensions of BIM”:

  • 8D – safety during design and construction
  • 9D – lean costruction
  • 10D – industrialization of construction.

If you want to find out more about the other dimensions of BIM, also check the insights below: