Tradition building design relied on hand-drawn technical plans. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software made this process digital and allowed 3D visualisations to be created from technical drawings.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the next step, and allows building models to be extended beyond 3D visualisation. BIM augments the spatial model, incorporating time and cost dimensions as well as details of the building's components and construction. This allows analysis of the building's quantities, structures, technical elements, and relationship with it's environment.
Every element of a building is incorporated in one model. From cavity wall insulation to kitchen fittings, light switches to boilers, each individual component is represented in a common language. When a component is created, details of it's properties are added; the amount of each material used, the material properties.
With the components imported into a drawing, the model now contains details of each component in relation to each other across each parameter, so that when one component is amended, all dependent ones will be automatically updated.
Once the building model has been populated with information it provides the potential for a common place where contractors, engineers, manufacturers, architects, and planners can work on a model simultaneously. Each professional adding discipline-specific data to the single shared model.
A more collaborative approach identifies cost-savings, lowers transaction costs, and lowers administrative cost of coordinating information. The information is in one place, reducing information losses and providing more information for building owners, throughout the entire project life-cycle.