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  • Writer's pictureNhut Pham

BIM - Building Information Management

[English] BIM is known throughout our AEC industry as Building Information Modeling. However, if we are to really understand the true meaning of BIM, it should stands for Building Information Management.

Everything around BIM involves a high level of management of some form or another. From managing the process of project execution to the workflows of the modeling team, BIM should not be categorized as only a modeling tool.

During a BIM Practitioner course I taught in 2016, I mentioned to the students that the word BIM itself will not be around for very long. One day, this acronym will be replaced by something else. What that is, I don't know for certain, but I do know if you compare BIM to VDC - which stands for Virtual Design and Construction, VDC has more probability of being around much longer than BIM.

BIM is referred throughout the industry as an evolutionary replacement for the word CAD - which stands for Computer-Aided Design. However, CAD stood the test of time because it was referring to a way in which you design. It doesn't mean a tool or a specific function. If CAD stood for Computer-Aided Drafting, which it has in the past as a process - then BIM with Modeling makes sense. However, CAD is a technology which we use to design, we should evolve BIM as a tool which we use to manage the entire building life-cycle.

Now, looking back and understanding more of what BIM truly represents and how it has evolved in the last few years, I think that BIM will be around for at least a few more years. Therefore, for the time being, I am suggesting we should replace the "M" in BIM with Management.

From the moment a client request for a quotation of the services, a BIM Manager would sit down and lay out the work scope of the project and determine the usage. Majority of the time, the usage will include modeling, but there are occasions when the project will not such as the initial planning phases. It is because of this rare instance, the modeling word itself becomes invalid. However, management of the process will still have to be involved.

For those who disagree, I have another idea. How about adding the Management word to the word BIM? We should not just refer to only BIM, but rather, BIM Management. This makes sense in many ways. First, the modeling word remains to satisfy those who think it should remain, because the majority of the time, modeling will be involved. Secondly, the process itself is now referred to as a management of the modeling process. Nevertheless, there will be those who will want to create an acronym of this word also and call it BIMM. To me, I have no problems with it, but it does look like a keyboard malfunction or a spelling mistake.

When a client or an acquaintance asks what does BIM stand for, I always give first the original definition of BIM, but I will always expand on the meaning and tell him or her what I would prefer. For now, I refer to BIM as Building Information Management.


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