Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dept. of Redundancy Department and other BIMmyness

During the BIMForum James Vandezande (Arch|Tech Blog contributor and Revit Author) tweeted about people saying, "BIM Model" and joked about needing to run by the ATM machine.

Since BIM stands for Building Information Model or Modeling and ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine (unless you are referring to Asynchronous Transfer Mode)...adding the extra model and machine are a bit redundant. Similar to saying or writing irregardless when regardless is sufficient. Since, the opportunities to have such "fun" at the expense of others is probably endless and I live in a "glass house", I'll stop there.

For what it is worth, I've never really liked the acronym "BIM", in particular having to say it. I just don't like the sound of it, a personal quirk. The idea of getting a title like BIM Manager, or BIM guy etc...shudder. I'm not saying I'm not of fan of the concept or philosophy of Building Information Modeling or Models, obviously I'm a believer...I just don't care for the acronym. Since criticism can be offset by providing a solution, a better choice, I'm not doing well there either because I don't have a better one to offer. I do prefer those that use the word Virtual, like VDC (Virtual Design/Construction) or VPD (Virtual Project Delivery). I like Digital Design Manager or Digital Design Coordinator better too.

I just can't get past the looks I get when I use the term BIM with anyone outside the "bidness".

More seriously, lately I've been hearing people referring to a building model as the aggregate files compiled into software like Navisworks. I've even seen a couple contracts where the final model deliverable is a "model" comprised of .nwc files (Navisworks cache files), not even a .nwd or .nwf (Navisworks published or working file formats).

In my mind I tend to think of the "authoring" side of the equation as defining a model as opposed to the "viewing/reviewing" side. That means a "real" model (according to me) is what we find in Revit or some other software used to create the entities that provide the virtual building. I think this is true because the viewing/reviewing software is not able to make or change anything.

Being removed from the modeling/authoring process makes the "viewing" model static. That's good for a variety of reasons but for the sake of future uses (intended or unintended/unanticipated) a viewer format does not make a good final deliverable (alone), in my mind. It's reasonable to require it as part of the final deliverable but it seems a bit short of the finish line to not also ask for the model(s).


Unknown said...

I was taking a break from reading a doc called "BIM Execution" to be here. So, since BIM is being executed what will we call it next week?

J said...

But if one makes the distinction that the m in BIM means the complete informational model and not the objects only then there is an appropriate need to say 3D Model... I'd argue that JV's joke or viewpoint is a bit too narrow. The 3D model is not the M in The BIM.

Matt Stachoni said...

Well, I agree that BIM is a dopey term, but it could be worse, as in, "I'm working on this "BI model."

Todd M Shackelford said...


You crack me up. It helps me to remember that BIM is a process and not as a thing. So a BIM Model is a Model created from the BIM process. I that sense BIM is just an adjective describing the model.

That either made sense or just made everything worse.

Unknown said...

Is it possible to have a completely federated model that is in an editable format? I can see having a deliverable that includes separate models in an editable format, a single non-editable model or referencing central file. How do you get all of the models that subcontractors, architects, and engineers are creating for their systems back into a .rvt .u3d or even .dwg format?