Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process that involves the production and management of digital representations - ie 3D models - of the physical and functional characteristics of places - physical infrastructure such as buildings. BIM information is stored in files that can be exchanged between various stakeholders to support decision-making about a place. BIM software is used by individuals, businesses and government agencies that are responsible for the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of physical infrastructure. BIM provides a resource of shared information about facilities, forming a reliable basis for decisions that need to be taken during their life-cycle, from the earliest conception all the way to demolition.
Traditional building design was reliant upon two-dimensional drawings such as plans, elevations and sections. BIM not only enables buildings to be modelled in the three primary spatial dimensions of height, width and depth; it also enables time and cost information to be included in project plans. BIM is therefore more than just 3D modelling: it encompasses time and cost information, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, and the quantities and properties of building components.
Using BIM, a 3D model of a facility can be passed from the design team to contractors and subcontractors, who can add time and cost information to the 3D model. The information can then be passed onto the owner or operator of the facility. Each professional stakeholder adds information relating to their own discipline to the single shared model. This reduces the information loss that traditionally occurred when a new team takes ownership of a project and provides more extensive information to owners of complex structures.
BIM information can be transferred from one stakeholder to another in a variety of formats - some proprietary and some non-proprietary. Powerproject BIM handles information that has been saved in the non-proprietary IFC format.