The Advantages of BIM and its Future

Loft Conversions

Today I am pleased to be featuring a guest article. Graham Hewitt is managing director of Raised Floor Solutions – specialists in composite flooring offering their products throughout the UK. Graham is giving us a comprehensive look at BIM modelling, and where it is going in the future.


In April 2016 the use of Building Information Modelling in commercial construction rose by 13% in the UK. This signified a pivot from traditional 2D drawings to bring constructional design into the digital age.

BIM model

BIM model (See credits below)

What is building information modelling?

BIM is used to digitally design and create a building. It is not a technology but a process. Each instance of the construction phase can be plotted digitally, from design, planning, to the eventual start of construction itself. BIM operates in software such as Revit which offers a variety of functions including collaborative adjustments, auto-saves, and much more.

In short, BIM offers consultants and building teams the opportunity to save time and money by reducing friction within a project.

Within a BIM model there are ‘D’ elements. Each element relates to a certain data set within:

  • 4D relates to scheduling information such as when an element will be built.
  • 5D is cost estimating for each aspect of the building.
  • 6D deals with the sustainability targets within a building such as energy use.
  • 7D covers the handover process to the building owner, detailing accurate facilities management and asset management data.

Here Raised Floor Solutions delve into the advantages of BIM and what the future holds.

BIM-Dimensions (see credits below)

BIM-Dimensions (see credits below)

Collaborative work

The first and most obvious advantage we’ll cover is collaboration. BIM provides teams with a chance to work together on each and every phase of the project. It’s this collaborative opportunity that helps minimise mistakes or errors in the design, as each discipline can annotate a design with their own expertise throughout a project’s lifespan.

Track Changes

All projects go through varying iterations of design. In BIM, you can track each of those iterations so if a later design features an error, it’s simple to go back to an earlier iteration of that same design. This flexibility helps designers save time in that, unlike before with 2D drawings, they don’t have to re-draw all of their work.

BIM Software also has an autosave function baked in to ensure that corrupt files and a forgetful mind don’t ruin a project before it’s even got off the ground!


An immediate advantage of working digitally is that it offers functionality that traditional pen and paper designs could never provide. BIM software, for example, can simulate real world elements such as sunlight, wear and tear, and can populate the building. The ability to add these elements helps designers and engineers better understand how their building will react to say, high winds, ensuring a safer build and a higher quality finish.

Product manufacturers also create 3D building information models alongside their products. These models can then be downloaded and tried and tested within a building. The aim is to help the designer visualise certain flooring or wall cladding, without having to purchase test run products, which are both costly and take time to install.

Parametric Modelling

This is a key principle of BIM and one of its most prevalent advantages. It essentially means that everything within a model is connected. If you move a wall, all the elements attached to that wall will shift with it. If the volume of your floor rises, so will the quantities of material required to lay the floor, which the software will work out and present to you.

This principle holds true for models that have been created independently and then brought together in a collaborative project.


Presenting a completed design is made easier within BIM. The software shows intricate details for each section of design, including product quantity. With fly-throughs, potential retailers or building contractors can visualise the building in greater detail than ever before. The digital 3D visualisation can come to life, showing how the building would operate as a commercial retail space or a housing development.

The Drawbacks

BIM, however, isn’t without its issues. One of the loudest criticisms against BIM is that of authorship. As we see more and more consultants and teams using BIM collaboratively, we see the distinction between who has authored what, blur. Sight of where one consultant’s work on the project ends also becomes difficult to distinguish, which in turn could create issues of liability further down the line.

One other common issue often mentioned alongside BIM is its steep learning curve. Many businesses may struggle with finding time to help their team adopt a new process while managing their continuing workload.

Looking Ahead

In the coming years, it’s likely that we’ll see BIM become much more widespread and a vast improvement in industry skill-sets as a result. It’s also likely that we will see saturation in the amount of BIM software on the market and a shift towards an industry standard. VR may also play a role in BIM’s future, too. As VR technology improves it offers a wealth of new opportunities, such as the ability for designers to visualise their work like never before, interacting with the environment that they have created.


Image credits:

BIM Dimensions

BIM Model WRNS Studio

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