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How Do You Differentiate Between BIM Dimensions?

1- Two-dimensional line work (Drafting), 2D BIM

– Typically, 2D modelling involves using computer generated drafted lines to represent an object such as the wall shown

– An example of this is the diagram to the right; At this point however, it isn’t a wall it is a rectangle filled with patterns which is recognized as a wall

– It is worth noting that traditional drawings are 2D, so this is not an exclusive BIM term

2- Three dimensional (Object Models), 3D BIM

– Following further industry developments, following the advent of 3D object modelling, instead of using lines, we now have 3D objects.

– As part of this process the objects each have data attached

– From the attached data you can define its height, width, depth and even apply specification information

– The data can exist as part of the model or be referenced from another database or other source and referenced to the model

3- Time (Construction programming), 4D BIM

– In construction, when we talk about the 4th dimension, we typically refer to time

– Typically, this stage involves integrating the project program with the 3D model

– This can be done either by including constructed and demolished program information or assigning it through additional software

– It is worth noting that Traditional project programs are an example of 4D

4- Cost estimation, 5D BIM

– Typically, 5D involves the use of additional software to complete take-offs and apply additional costs

– However, to carry out effective 5D modelling there are also complex requirements and modelling techniques to enable effective cost take-offs

– A traditional cost estimate is an example of 5D. It is also worth noting these dimensions are not sequential and a 5D object may not include any 4D data

5- Sustainability, 6D BIM

- It’s a process for developing project sustainable design strategies.

- Used for building and open space energy analysis.

- Natural and artificial lighting design.

- CFD analysis

- Energy virtualisation and modeling.

- Construction documentation and material/systems specifications.

- Coordination and management of passive design element constructions.

- Building energy consumption auditing and monitoring.

6- Facility Management, 7D BIM

- Programming - Using a spatial program to assess a design’s performance and effectiveness relative efficiently and accurately to the spatial requirements.

- Record Modeling - Creating an accurate depiction of the physical conditions, environment, and assets of a facility.

- Preventative Maintenance Scheduling - Tracking and maintaining lifecycle information about the building structure as well as the equipment serving the plan and schedule a program of maintenance activities that will improve building performance, reduce repairs, and reduce overall maintenance costs.

- Asset Management - Linking data in a BIM record model to a database of building assets to assist in efficiently maintaining and operating the facility.

- Space Management and Tracking - Allocating, managing, and tracking spaces and related resources within a facility.

For more information on BIM, please feel free to contact us at


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