A Glossary of Terms as Used in BIM

This section is to bring together the terminology of the BIM world. Since this is not a unified language there are several terms that have similar (or possibly contradictory) meanings. The links to external sites are to provide more detail but are not necessarily endorsed by BIMtalk.

Also see the Links Page for other sites that provide further information.

  • 7 pillars of BIM the seven key components for BIM as defined by UK Gov
  • 3D/4D/5D(/6D/7D) Descriptions of BIM implementation with increasing 'richness' of associated information
  • AEC - Architecture Engineering and Construction collective acronym for professions working in the creation/maintenance of the built environment
  • AEC(UK) BIM Protocol practical BIM protocol aimed at cutting through often very technical wording of official documents
  • Asset Information Model, AIM Term used to describe the set of information (documentation, graphical model and non-graphical data) accrued in the project operation/in-use phase (see also Project Information Model, PIM).
  • BASIR document is used to both capture and collate the requirements outlined in the Built Asset Security Management Plan, BASMP
  • BASMP Built Asset Security Management Plan - the document sits under the BASS, Built Asset Security Strategy and details the appropriate and proportionate policies, processes and management procedures to be implemented to address all identified risks. It is defined in PAS 1192-5:2015
  • BASS Built Asset Security Strategy - the document from which all other security management and information requirements should flow as defined in PAS 1192-5:2015
  • BEP - BIM Execution Plan Written plan to integrate the BIM tasks and information with all stakeholders and processes
  • BG 6 BSRIA's Design Framework for Building Services (BG 6/2014) includes BIM related design activities and definitions
  • BIM - Building Information Modelling used to both describe the process and the philosophy that enables the input, sharing, maintenance and output of (electronic) information used in the construction and operation and deconstruction of the built environment
  • BIM - Building Information Management Used variously in place of Building Information Modelling but also to highlight the requirement to explicitly manage the information
  • BIM - Building Information Model A digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility using a collection of elements or information that serves as a shared knowledge resource for building, operation and re/deconstruction
  • BIM Protocol - identifies building information models that are required to be produced by the project team and puts in place specific obligations, liabilities and associated limitations on the use of those models. Can also be used by clients to require the adoption of particular ways of working – such as the adoption of a common naming standard. CIC Feb 2013
  • BIM4…. - BIM4 Groups The UK BIM Taskgroup has set up a number of specialist sector groups to develop and encourage uptake of BIM
  • BIM Implementation Plan - The blueprint for integrating BIM into an organisation's working practices. See PAS 1192 for extended info
  • BIM Roadmap Strictly this is the BSI B/555 Roadmap but provides an excellent overview of the expectations for activities that underpin BIM working (June 2013 Update)
  • BIM Toolkit has been developed on behalf of UK's TSB by RIBA Enterprise's NBS
  • BrIM - Bridge Information Modelling a specific implementation of BIM for bridge design and Construction.
  • BS 1192:2007 Collaborative production of architectural engineering and construction information - Code of practice Defines the methodology for managing the production and use of information throughout the project lifecycle and supply chain including design construction operation and deconstruction.
  • BS 1192-4 2014 Collaborative production of information - Part 4: Fulfilling employers information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice Defines expectations for the exchange of information throughout the lifecycle of a Facility by the use of COBie
  • BSI B/555 - See BIM Roadmap
  • buildingSMART Alliance and UK & Ireland buildingSMART not-for-profit organization identifying and delivering construction “share structured data” standards such as IFC and ISO Standards. (Formerly International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI)).
  • CAD - Computer Aided Drawing/Drafting Software tools that frequently feed/are fed by the BIM model
  • CAWS The Common Arrangement of Work Sections
  • CDE - Common Data Environment Single source of information for any given project, used to collect, manage and disseminate all relevant approved project documents for multi-disciplinary teams in a managed process
  • CIM - Construction Information Modelling BIM during the Construction (and maintenance) process
  • Clash detection Process of identifying conflicts and issues using 3D collaboration and coordination software tools
  • Classification System - standardised system being developed to ensure that data is able to be indexed and structured to make it easily accessible in a common format integrates with the Digital Plan of Work. Currently (2015) being developed through a the BIM Toolkit - a Innovate UK funded project
  • Cloud Internet connected computer resource (with extensive storage/processing) remote from a user's computer
  • COBie - Construction Operations Building Information Exchange Information exchange standard/protocol for BIM projects - generally spreadsheet based progressively developed through construction process passed to building operator
  • COBie UK 2012 UK specific version of COBie spreadsheet. Generally identical to US developed COBie but employs UniClass classification in place of OmniClass
  • Construction Industry Council (CIC) Forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry
  • Computer-Aided Facilities Management, CAFM A term frequently linked with the operational aspects of BIM utilisation. See WBDG page
  • Coordinated Work Stages Plan of work based on a series of numbered stages 0 to 7 encompassing whole of a project lifecycle, from identifying strategic need to operations and end of life.
  • CPIC - Construction Project Information Committee Responsible for providing and disseminating best practice guidance in UK on the content, form and preparation of construction production information - produces the UniClass classification system
  • Data cube A visual '3D' concept to help to convey the relationship between work stages, stakeholders and dates within the UK Government's Digital Plan of Work
  • Data drops the digital equivalent of 'Stage Reports' (in the 'pre-BIM' world) where information is fed from the BIM to the client. The actual content of these is not yet defined but these drops are key points of reference for clients and the design/delivery team. The UK BIM Taskgroup have example data drops that feed into COBie
  • Demand Matrix UK Gov BIM Task Group (2012) document to identify what, and when, information was to be exchanged (aka 'UK BIM Element and Attribute Demand Matrix')
  • Digital Plan of Work, dPoW UK Gov BIM Task Group draft document on concepts and detail of the management of built asset data derived from BIM with example model, demand matrices and validation tools to assist practical understanding. Currently (2015) being developed through Innovate UK project
  • Digital Built Britain follows on from the UK BIMTaskgroup to move BIM to maturity Level 3
  • Family A file that contains objects that may be used in a design that can contain one or many members that are differentiated by changing parameter values
  • Family Category Families usually belong to a category to assist filtering in a project an example could be “Trees” which would be the category for several families in a project
  • Federated Model Compilation of Models from one or more programs that can define a complete or partial data set for a design.
  • gbXML - Green Building Extensible Mark-up Language File format to exchange building design data. This file format is “Open” provides the opportunity to be used by any software
  • Government Soft Landings - GSL A UK government framework that maximises benefit of BIM for whole life building effectiveness applying principles of 'soft landings'
  • IAI - International Alliance of Interoperability Former name for buildingSMART
  • IDM - Information Delivery Manual Document used as part see BIM Execution Plan
  • IFC - Industry Foundation Classes Standard XML-based IFC developed by buildingSMART. Open source information model for sharing data in the construction and facilities management industries.
  • Integration Ability to manage and communicate product and project data between software tools and collaborators enabling integration of business, planning and delivery processes
  • Interoperability Term used to describe the ability to translate program data from one platform to another. Allows access to BIM data across and within different software tools. Standards such as IFC facilitate interoperability and proprietary exchange methods can link specific software components
  • IPD - Integrated Project Delivery Contractual form relevant to the BIM design and construction process. Not widely used outside of the USA at present.
  • ISO/CD 16757 Product data for building services systems model
  • ISO 15926 A standard to facilitate integration of data to support the lifecycle activities and processes of facilities engineering, construction and operation - explicitly for process industries but with wider applicability
  • ISO 16739:2005 The standard presenting the Industry Foundation Classes
  • Level Object used to define floors in a building or heights that can be defined by a plane.
  • Level 0 BIM, Level 1 BIM, Level 2 BIM, Level 3 BIM - frequently used terms when referring to the UK Government's requirements for BIM (maturity) in publicly funded projects
  • LIM - Landscape Information Modelling BIM for landscape design and construction
  • Level of definition, LoD term used variously for Level of Detail and/or Level of development
  • Level of detail, LoD The specific resolution of information (frequently graphical) required for a particular element at a particular stage of the project
  • Level of development, LoD An amalgamation of the Level of Detail and the Level of Information providing a measure of the completeness of geometry and information attached to an object or system that may be relied upon for the given purpose
  • Level of information, LoI term to denote stages of non-graphic information requirement throughout a project
  • Level of maturity A metric of the ability of the construction supply chain to operate and exchange information
  • Mass Model Type of model file that contains only the volumes describing a project or component (and not the detail).
  • Model General term used to refer to the computer file or files that may contain BIM data
  • NBL, NBS BIM Library NBS resource of BIM content available in IFC and formats for Revit, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, Tekla and Bentley software
  • NBS Create A project specification system developed and maintained by RIBA Enterprises
  • NBS BIM Toolkit UK Government funded online tool to underpin the delivery of UK Level 2 BIM
  • NES - The National Engineering Specification A project specification system supported by BSRIA and CIBSE.
  • Object Normally an abbreviation of parametric object
  • OmniClass Classification system as used in the USA similar to (but not directly interoperable) with UniClass
  • Open BIM Approach (orchestrated by buildingSmart) to provide accessible collaborative in design realization and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows
  • Parameter The descriptive data used to define BIM components or objects
  • Parametric modelling A model or feature defined by relationships between component entities that are governed by rules and constraints. Changing a rule or constraint or modifying a part of the model often has implications on the parametric objects and/or the entire model
  • Parametric objects A digital description of a physical object using parameters.
  • PAS 1192 Parts 2, 3 and 5 of a publicly Available Specification (PAS) sponsored by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) in support of BS 1192:2007 - also include excellent glossaries of terms
  • PDT Product Data Template - a unified method of providing manufacturer data for application in the BIM process
  • Project Information Model, PIM Term used to describe the set of information (documentation, graphical model and non-graphical data) accrued in the project construction phase (see also Asset Information Model, AIM).
  • Plain Language Questions, PLQs A set of 'plain language questions' that, for the client, intend to answer at each stage of a construction project that drive key decisions
  • Project Data Schedule A term that is often mistakenly used for the PDS, Product Data Sheet
  • Project Data Sheet, PDS A PDT that has been filled in with manufacturer's product data
  • RIBA Plan of Work revised in 2013 this organises the process of managing and designing building projects and administering building contracts into a 8 Key Work Stages
  • RFA Parametric object “families” used by Autodesk software products
  • RVT a file used by Autodesk software products for storing BIM models
  • SB/IMP (Security Breach/Incident Management Plan)
  • SIM - Site Information Modelling, BIM for site design and construction
  • Soft Landings Form of graduated handover for new and refurbished buildings where project team is contracted to watch over the building, support the occupant and fine-tune building’s systems, for up to 3 years post-completion. See also - Government Soft Landings
  • Software BIM is not a software product but there are lots of software applications that support and integrate as part of BIM
  • SPie - Specifiers' Products Information Exchange Similar to COBie formats but for products used during construction. Not widely used outside the USA
  • Trailing Edge Term used by HM Government to describe the the least technically advanced companies within the construction process. This is the target audience for the Government's BIM outreach activity
  • Uniclass Classification system used in the UK and owned by CPIC with listings here. This groups objects into numerical headers to allow things to be arranged or grouped according to a type or class applied throughout the asset life and may be used as part of the categorisation used in BIM models. This is undergoing revision as (UniClass2).
  • Unified Design Design process by which all designed aspects are considered as a whole and are of equal value. A project developed by a multi-disciplinary team working together with shared responsibilities and shared goals.
  • VDI 3805 - Verein Deutscher Ingenieure Guideline that defines an electronic product data exchange in the building services
  • VWX a file used by Vectorworks Architect or Landmark to store data including BIM models

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