What does BIM mean? BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. It is a digital representation of the physical characteristics of a building or home. The BIM file can be used to plan, design and construct a structure in a graphical form or it can simply be a list of the parts and pieces needed for construction. Most people are familiar with two-dimensional CAD drawings that include plans, elevations and sections, such as electrical. With the ongoing advancements in technology, many designers and architects are now using three-dimensional drawings, which eventually will become the industry norm.
One common misconceptions about BIM is that it comes in a box like Microsoft Excel but it doesn’t. Many business professionals use Excel to build cash flow models based on their information reporting needs. Even though it is a common platform, each cash flow is unique and specific to an organization. The same is true with BIM software; it may use a common platform, but each structure is unique and the underlying components of parts and labor vary from project to project.
Today, BIM is used by residential developers to:
- Generate plans and elevations
- Develop materials lists (take-offs) and cost estimates
- Create graphical presentations to support sales and marketing efforts with brochures and online graphics
- Conduct virtual home tours that offer potential buyers a walk-thru of a plan/elevation in the comfort of their home
During the market downturn, builders eliminated their estimators to reduce overhead and shifted the responsibility and workload to their suppliers. Cornerstone sees a new industry trend (in the past 18 months) of either establishing in-house estimating capabilities or outsourcing to professional firms. Builders focused on bids and take-offs are finding significant savings by taking responsibility for their own plans/elevations, which benefits their bottom line.