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Measure Twice, Cut Once – The Benefits of BIM (Building Information Modeling)

Building Information Modeling

What do you need to know about the benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM)? And how does it impact the planning process?

It’s almost become cliché to expect that new constructions will run late. We’ve all heard stories of project delays due to problems in the field. While some of these issues can’t be anticipated (weather being a great example), could some of these been avoided with increased planning? Enter BIM into the field of facility planning.

BIM varies greatly from the traditional CAD drawings initially used in the planning of a facility. BIM is (in a simple sense) a digital work up of both the physical and functional aspects of a construction. Where traditional design building methods relied on the 2D functionality of CAD, BIM goes three steps further to include the spatial aspects (width, height, and depth), and then adds to this time and cost as additional dimensions of the build. This provides a much more robust “picture” of a facility by including all possible properties of the building’s components.


This “big picture” knowledge of a structure allows for better decision making overall, during all points of its lifecycle.

Traditional CAD methods relied on a 2D image of the project, which left room for some discrepancies. This caused more decisions to be made on the fly, and created additional cost due to changed purchase orders and delays as plans were revised. It is likely that BIM has increased cost savings due to the decreased need for changes to the facility’s plans onsite.

Additionally, BIM allows for all decision makers (owners, stakeholders, contractors, and consultants) to have a better understanding of the flow of the building. Planning becomes more efficient, costs reduced, and risk mitigated.

We see 5 key benefits:

  1. Cost reduction – total cost of the project is better identified because all factors can be incorporated into the model, and all stakeholders can provide input into the lifecycle of the structure.
  2. Reduced risk by identifying and resolving potential issues early in the planning process. This results in a decrease in errors as this virtual design and construction allows for the earlier identification of problems.
  3. Marketing of the building can occur earlier, potential tenants can get a better “feel” for the units prior to leasing
  4. Conflicts are reduced (both in the boardroom and in the field) as BIM allows for more thorough conversations for all stakeholders in the early stages of the build.
  5. Project timelines are better identified, tracked and communicated.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Have you switched to BIM for building design? Have you witnessed any other benefits or drawbacks as a result? How have your projects been impacted?