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BIM Acronyms Explained

By Bill Adams, Redstack

BIM is an acronym for the building information modelling process, but you’ve probably realized that within that process there are many more acronyms lurking around to confuse you!   Here’s a brief list of the more commonly used acronyms…

1 - What is BIM?
 “Building Information Modelling”, or BIM as it’s more commonly known as, is a process and a way of working, rather than a physical entity.

2 – What is IFC?
“Industry Foundation Classes”. It’s the open and neutral file format for exchanging data, and was developed by a global organization called BuildingSMART. IFC is like an international language that everyone speaks, so that – regardless of what software platform they’re using – information can be openly exchanged. Most software platforms will have an IFC export function or the ability to save data in IFC format.

3 - What is LOD - Level of Detail?
“Level of Detail” - meaning the amount of graphical or 3D data within an information model at any given point in a project

4 - What is LOD - Level of Development?
Just to confuse matters, LOD can also refer to the “Level of Development”. Level of Development is the degree to which the element’s geometry and attached information has been thought through – the degree to which project team members may rely on the information when using the model.  

5 – What is a BIM EP?
“BIM Execution Plan” (sometimes shortened to BEP). This document is shared and agreed by all parties in the project team. It sets outs how they will work together through the BIM process to deliver the requirements of the EIRs. BIM Execution Plans will typically detail: team roles and responsibilities; deliverables, and the timescales associated with them; approval procedures, and; logistics, formats and conventions for interoperable file sharing.

6 – What is MIDP?
“Master Information Delivery Plan”. This is a document that’s developed from the BIM Execution Plan, setting out what information needs to be delivered, the format is should be delivered in, the timescales and who needs to produce it.

7 – What is EIR
“Employer’s Information Requirements”. Right at the outset, Clients or Employers set out the information they will require in this document. It will state what they need at key stages of the project to make decisions, and what they’ll need at handover to operate their new asset at an optimum level. It’s important that this document is in place so project teams know what graphical and non-graphical information is needed, and when.

8 – What is PIM? / What is AIM?
“Project Information Model” / “Asset Information Model”. Within the BIM process, project teams create information models in their common data environment using both graphical and non-graphical data, clearly structured and accurately linked. That data builds in richness as the project stages progress until handover where the complete data set is passed to the asset’s owner or end-user. 
The information model is called a “Project Information Model” or PIM during the delivery phase, and an “Asset Information Model” or AIM once a project is handed over and complete.

9 – What is CDE?
“Common Data Environment”. It’s a shared digital space online that everyone in your project team has access to. It could be a server, an extranet or a cloud based system.

10 – What is COBie?
“Construction Operations Building Information Exchange” or COBie, is represented as a central spreadsheet where primarily non-graphical data can be securely stored, shared and updated throughout the construction project. This will eventually be passed on to the client to support the operations and maintenance of the building, and can also be used to verify that your data meets the requirements of the project.

Didn't find your BIM Acronym?
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Certainly this list is by no means an exhaustive list I hope it has helped you to under understand the world of “BIM”.  You’ll be speaking like a BIM expert in no time!
Happy BIMming…

More information

Learn more about Building Information Modelling at our BIM website:

Contact us today for further assistance with implementing BIM at your organisation.

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