We know that BIM is a digital method for planning, construction and operation. But what really sets it apart from 2D or even 3D?
2D planning in CAD is simply a digital version of drawing on a drawing board. We may be able to erase elements more quickly or copy them several times, but the processes are the same.
3D models add volume and surfaces to 2D plans, however, ultimately this is still a drafting process.
With BIM, we work with individual building elements that are not only presented in 3D, but also contain information. For example, an object may be tagged with the floor and room number in which it is located. It can also contain information about material specification or cost.
Plans, sections and schedules can be produced directly out of the model. In fact, plans are just an extracted view of the model data. A change in the view is immediately updated in all other representations. This helps in managing changes and is one of the first and simplest values of BIM.
Furthermore, you can browse and filter the BIM models so that you can view specific information for a specific purpose. An example could be to display all load-bearing walls, or simply to show what has changed from the last planning state to the current one.
BIM also allows for analysis and simulation of model information. For example, for static calculations, energy simulations or light and shadow studies.
All these possibilities increase efficiency and help us to evaluate and compare design options.
BIM does not replace the expertise of designers, but helps eliminate menial, repetitive work. This gives us more time to make the best decisions.