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Time for a new definition of BIM for Building Owners


What is BIM? Well, it all depends on who you ask. While there are lots of definitions of BIM out there, the practice of BIM continues to evolve and those definitions are not keeping pace. The inherent issue for building owners is, how do you get what you need from your design and build teams to support the stakeholders during the complete building lifecycle if no concrete definition exists? More so, how do you sort through the folks who are ‘delivering BIM’ versus the folks who are delivering BIM?

Is BIM simply a Building Information Model? It is way more than this. How about Building Information Modelling? It’s more than this too.

So what do we think is an accurate, clear description of BIM?

BIM is a process. A way of working that allows all participants including building owners to access, use, and rely on the inherent data created through the building lifecycle to drive the design, build, and operations process. It is an evolution away from the world of paper to the world of data. Data that understands its position in space and that can easily be exported, tested and queried to show you a schedule, a 3D view or axonometric, a plan, section or elevation, or can use colour to highlight different systems, floors, rooms, walls.

Success with BIM begins in understanding what you need the data to do for you. To make sure that it meets your requirements, possible questions to ask of your design and build teams could be:

  1. Can you generate a schedule of all the equipment in the facility, by room, level, building or group of buildings?
  2. Can you export the data set into our FMO software solution?
  3. Can you generate views that highlight systems by colour or rooms by floor finish?
  4. Can you select a room and see all objects associated with the room, no matter what model they originated in?
  5. Can you query the data set and filter out, say, exhaust fans by type?
  6. Can you find those objects with warranties and access the warranties?
  7. Can you easily access and query the data set or do you need to ask a skilled technical person for help?


Well-structured digital data can be sorted, filtered, and queried to show you any information you require. The current drawing output is legacy thinking from a paper-based process. We need to reconsider how we convey the design intent to those who need to work out how to price and build that design and for those who will operate the facility for the duration of its life.

BIM and the power of digital data can, and should, drive the process of design, construction, and building operation.

How Summit BIM Can Help

Summit BIM helps building owners implement structured workflows to ensure the generation of useable building information to facilitate ‘Data driven decision making’. Ask how our team of industry experts, drawn from architecture and engineering, can help you unlock the value of your building data – contact us at 604 568 8325.

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