Information Modeling. Basic concepts and advantages of BIM technologies.


People always have tried to make their life easier by the help of technology. As we can see, computing power is developing faster and faster in recent years. Digitalization is already beginning to cover a variety of industries and enter everyday life. The internet makes exchanging of information much easier. These phenomena are further accelerating the development and digitalization process. The design and construction industry does not stand still and at the moment allows the use of information technologies to solve their problems. The main commonly understood term for this phenomenon is the abbreviation BIM (or converting of drawings from 2D to 3D).


Many people say that BIM is a building model or a way of developing design and working documentation. These concepts are rather narrowly focused. At its core, BIM has two definitions. It can be explained on the one hand as a process, and on the other hand as a product.

BIM as a process

If we look at information technology as a process, we can say that:

BIM (Building information modeling) is a process that involves the creation, exchange, regular use of digital information about a building or part of it throughout the entire life cycle of an object.

Along with this process, new areas of work appear, and, consequently, new specialists. These specialists form a certain structure, which is called the "BIM-Department".

The specialists in this department are very closely related to IT. But statistics say that basically the majority of BIM specialists have a technical and construction education. It should be understood that BIM is a construction-related process, therefore, basically, a future BIM specialist needs to initially have competencies and experience in this industry. Also, this specialist needs to delve into the IT sphere. For example, to have a basic understanding of what programming is, to classify information, to work in certain software.

BIM as a product

So, we have a BIM process, and it is aimed at creating a specific product. The product is a BIM model:

BIM (Building information model - information model) is a model that, in addition to a graphical representation, includes attributive information in the form of elements and parameters that describe it based on certain requirements of the BIM process. The LOD G (graphical detail level) is responsible for the graphical representation of the model, and LOI is responsible for the informative representation of the model (attribute information level).

Consider the gradation of the presentation of the models:

There are 2D models. These are two-dimensional elements, primitives (or their collection). In a CAD 2D design system we may see the addition of "User-defined" attributes, but it doesn’t have 3D representation, or it is incomplete.

Image 1 - Two-dimensional representation of the structure - drawing in .dwg format

3D модель по своей сути имеет трёхмерное графическое представление. Но она практически не обладает атрибутивной информацией, которая описывает ее A 3D model is essentially a three-dimensional graphical representation. But it has almost no attributive information that describes its physical and technical properties. Elements of this model can and contain basic attributes, but they will only describe its geometry.

Image 2 - Three-dimensional representation of the structure

A BIM model is a collection of elements that have multiple attributes with different data types. The user can interact with these attributes, and the creator can attach the necessary information to these elements. The composition of this information is regulated by the user.

Image 3 - BIM model of the structure - model format. Rvt


Advantages of using of BIM for design institutes

  1. Trend and compliance with government requirements

The mandatory use of BIM at government-ordered objects from January 1, 2022 has already been legalized. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on March 5, 2021 signed the decree of the Russian government No. 331 on the introduction of the mandatory use of information modeling technologies at government-ordered objects. This has become the main reason for the transition to BIM for many companies. The trend is showing that the use of BIM technology provides an advantage for potential customers. It is in their interests to get the highest quality product.

  • Unification of the project development process

Information modeling allows you to unify the process of developing design and working documentation. This allows you to effectively work on the final product, allows the organization to interact with the elements according to a pre-created logic, shifting labor costs from designers to computer power. There is a decrease in the number of internal errors of the organization. The information related to the project is in the model. It is possible to refer to it, interact, create functions on its basis. This allows you to reduce labor costs for routine operations.

  • Standardization of design work.

BIM is a design process modernization by creating BIM technology based on your company's business processes. If this technology is regulated by the company's internal documents, then interaction with new performers, contractors will be carried out at the lowest cost. The organization can flexibly change the amount of graphic and attributive information to suit organization needs or the requirements of the customer.

Image 4 - Example of attribute Information requirements for elements
  1. Design automation

With the built-up process of information modeling, it becomes possible to automate large-scale internal processes of the company. The API of most BIM-complexes becomes possible, allowing you to develop your own plug-ins and solutions for automating modeling, calculation and design. If necessary, it is possible to create the necessary automated library-catalog based on your BIM-process, as necessary, this database can be replenished and used in future projects to speed up future development work. These libraries can be developed on their own, found on the Internet or requested from the manufacturer. While you are preparing design and working documentation, you can use information from the information model. The information on the graphical part of the project automatically changes along with the change in the model. It minimizes the effort required for processing of changes in the project.

Image 5 - Using the unification of information modeling elements to automate design work
  1. Effective use of developments

Information modeling allows you to use previous design solutions and developments as efficiently as possible. Editing and using engineering units, pre-assembled structures becomes a less labor-intensive process than in traditional design technologies, it speeds up the project development process.

Image 6 - Using a BIM element group for modeling
  1. Improving the quality of documentation development

Using information modeling technology, it becomes possible to more effectively detect design errors, collisions between sections during development. This is what makes it possible to avoid costly mistakes during the development of project documentation and at the construction stage. The clarity of the visual part provides more informational content, which makes it possible to develop a high-quality project with maximum probability. Interaction with the attributive information of the information model makes it possible to comprehensively perform certain checks of the future project for human errors.

  • Effective collaboration

The use of information modeling technology allows you to effectively set up collaboration between specialists. By using on-premises or cloud-based ODS (Shared Data Environment) in the BIM process, you can protect the main project files from technical problems. The ability to track previous versions of a project and synchronize it with a backup copy reduces the number of technical errors, and also makes the project development process transparent for the customer. Also, an important advantage of BIM will be a unified data exchange format .IFC, which allows collaborative work even for those specialists who work in different software. The .IFC format allows transferring not only graphic, but also attributive information. The informativeness of the .IFC model can be adjusted using attribute mapping - the process of mapping the attributes of your model to IFC parameters and converting data types.

Image 7 - Schematic diagram of CDE (Common Data Environment)

Advantages of using BIM for construction organizations

  1. Cost control of the future project

Information modeling technology makes it possible to accurately calculate the amount of work. This allows you to effectively manage the cost of the object, and also contribute to the reduction of financial risks that are associated with inaccuracies in the assessment of the cost of the future structure.

Image 8 - Checking BIM model designs with Autodesk Navisworks
  1. Visual presentation of the project

BIM model is more visual for the customer. A general understanding of the future object allows predicting a large number of errors during construction, and improves understanding of the design decisions of the project participants. This factor allows you to agree on time and make changes to the project at the lowest cost.

Image 9 - Coordination of sections in Autodesk Naviswork
  1. Elaboration of design options at the initial design stage

At the stage of considering options for design solutions, the use of information modeling technology allows you to effectively create and reproduce an assessment of several options for the implementation of the project. It make possible to compare several options for space-planning solutions in order to optimize investment costs.

  • Effective management and control of the future facility

The use of modern solutions that form or modernize the common data environment allows effective interaction with all project participants. The information model provided for construction has all the necessary information. This model can be checked using specialized software.

  • Effective facility planning

The project customer can use various tools of information modeling in 4D to effectively control the quality of project planning, control the timing and scope of work performed. This implies the use of a BIM model in conjunction with a network calendar. Analysis of the 4D model will help to identify planning errors, visually establish the intersections of resources, scheduling, and obtain analytical data on the need for materials.

Image 10 - 4D structure modeling based on the schedule


Defining goals and perspectives

To modernize your work processes, you need to determine the main goals of using this technology. You should study the software market, get acquainted with the experience of using BIM of other companies, study the bases of this technology in order to objectively see the internal picture of your company and understand what you need from BIM and whether it will be compatible with the business processes of your organization and whether it is beneficial to you.

The goals of using this technology directly affect BIM technology. The purpose of this model and the workflow itself depends on them. Starting from the general tasks of using this information modeling product (concept, design, construction, operation), ending with specific issues (requirements for attribute and graphic elaboration).

It will be important to predict the growth of your organization together with BIM technology. You must understand that BIM can be developed efficiently. After the introduction of this technology, sooner or later you will face that you have to automate the business processes of your organization and BIM is a powerful foundation for shaping this.

Time and material resources

BIM technology is based on material and labor costs. Material costs include the purchase of professional software, training courses, additional computer power. An important factor is that to form a BIM department, you need specialists who are few on the market.

The construction of a BIM process, as well as its adjustment and future automation, will require significant time costs. At the initial stage of the company's formation on the BIM path, there is a loss of the speed of the pace of work. This is due to the fact that all new technologies are quite difficult to perceive and their adaptation occurs only over time.


BIM is the digital modernization of design and construction processes. This technology allows you to effectively interact with graphic and parametric data and use them not only in design institutes, but also in construction processes. Despite its high cost and complexity, information modeling increases the quality and efficiency of design and construction work due to the initial material and labor costs. But as practice shows, BIM pays for itself later. This is the main factor that increases interest in this technology. The current design and construction companies only need to understand for what purposes, tasks and prospects they need BIM.

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