There are many definitions of Building Information Modelling (BIM), but it is simply the means by which everyone can understand a building through the use of a digital model. Modelling an asset in digital form enables those who interact with the building to optimize their actions, resulting in a greater whole life value for the asset.

Through BIM the UK construction industry is undergoing its very own digital revolution. BIM is a way of working; it is information modelling and information management in a team environment, all team members should be working to the same standards as one another. BIM creates value from the combined efforts of people, process and technology.

Watch our ‘what is BIM’ video

A variety of speakers give their explanation of BIM:

How can BIM help you?

BIM brings together all of the information about every component of a building, in one place. It makes it possible for anyone to access that information for any purpose, e.g. to integrate different aspects of the design more effectively. In this way, the risk of mistakes or discrepancies is reduced, and abortive costs minimized.

BIM data can be used to illustrate the entire building life-cycle, from cradle to cradle, from inception and design to demolition and materials reuse. Spaces, systems, products and sequences can be shown in relative scale to each other and, in turn, relative to the entire project. And by signalling conflict detection BIM prevents errors creeping in at the various stages of development/ construction.

Watch a video of BIM in action

Discover the benefits to incorporating information rich Building Information Modelling through the case study project, ‘NBS Lakeside Restaurant’:

What is a BIM object?

bim-object-spinA BIM object is a combination of many things:

  • Information content that defines a product
  • Product properties, such as thermal performance
  • Geometry representing the product’s physical characteristics
  • Visualisation data giving the object a recognisable appearance
  • Functional data, such as detection zones, that enables the object to be positioned and behave in the same manner as the product itself.

The future of BIM

The future of the construction industry is digital, and BIM is the future of design and long term facility management; it is government led and driven by technology and clear processes; and it is implementing change across all industries. As hardware, software and cloud applications herald greater capability to handle increasing amounts of raw data and information, use of BIM will become even more pronounced than it is in current projects.

The UK Government’s Construction 2025: Industrial Strategy for Construction is targeting lower costs, faster delivery, lower emissions and improvements in exports to position the UK at the forefront of international construction. The UK Government’s Construction Strategy 2011 is a framework for a range of work streams, all of which contribute to the 2025 strategy. This framework forms the basis of the government’s BIM hypothesis:

Government as a client can derive significant improvements in cost, value and carbon performance through the use of open shareable asset information.

Key BIM resources

There are numerous sources of information for getting started with BIM. In addition to the many organisations offering seminars and training, the following can also assist:

NBS National BIM Library externallink
NBS BIM Toolkit externallink
BuildingSMART UK externallink 
BIM Task Group externallink
BIM Diary externallink
Twitter - @BIMdiary externallink
BIM Show Live externallink
Twitter - @BIM_UBM externallink
Think BIM externallink
Twitter - @thinkbim externallink
The Construction Project Information Committee (CPIC) externallink
Construction Industry Council (CIC) and Regional BIM Hubs externallink externallink
Twitter - @BIMHubs externallink, @CICtweet externallink, @CICCEO (Graham Watts) externallink, @BIM2050 externallink
Software User Group Events externallink externallink


Further reading from


Recommended reading from RIBA Bookshops 

RIBA Bookshops externallink offer an unrivalled range of the best architecture, design and construction books from around the world.


 BIM in Small Practices    BIM for Construction Health and Safety    BIM Demystified
BIM in Small Practices:
Illustrated Case Studies

Robert Klashka,
June 2014 
BIM for Construction
Health and Safety

Roland Finch and
Stefan Mordue,
April 2014
  BIM Demystified
(2nd edition)

Steve Race,
RIBA Publishing,
November 2013
Building Information Modeling for Dummies    BIM Management Handbook    
Building Information
Modeling for Dummies

Stefan Mordue,
Paul Swaddle
and David Philp,
John Wiley,
November 2015
  BIM Management

David Shepherd,
November 2015