The acronym BIM may represent (inter alia) Building Information Modelling, Building Information Model, and Building Information Management. While all three are related, they have different meanings. Building Information Management is about methodologies for managing the production, distribution and quality of construction information for efficiency and collaboration. Acronym BIM has rarely been assigned for Building Information Management in contemporary discourse (probably due to possible confusion). Building Information Model is the product of modelling, and they are often referred to as BIM Models. Thus, it is clear that the consensus is that BIM means Building Information Modelling. This video by Graphisoft is a good explanation on BIM (view it in full screen) given in layman's terms.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a building creating a shared knowledge resource for information about it forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest conception to demolition [read nbs]. BIM supports the continuous and immediate availability of project design scope, schedule, and cost information that is high quality, reliable, integrated, and fully coordinated. For each of the three major phases in a building lifecycle, BIM offers access to critical information such as:

  • design, schedule, and budget information (in the design phase)
  • quality, schedule, and cost information (in the construction phase)
  • performance, utilization, and financial information (in the management phase)

BIM’s ability to keep this information up to date and accessible in an integrated digital environment gives architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, builders, and owners a clear overall vision of their projects, as well as the ability to make better decisions faster.

BIM is not a software application. Instead it is an IT solution for integration of software applications and IT tools to design a building in a common platform, a platform which is independent of the software we use. Contrast to the conventional ICT developments in the field of construction, BIM is based on a strong information schema which makes the building design fully machine readable. This enables automation of various design, construction management, quantity surveying and procurement processes; and minimizing of design and construction errors.

For better understanding of What BIM is, the Development of BIM is worth reading.