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What Is BIM Software? It's More Than Revit.

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Updated 5/5/2020

What Is BIM Software? What Is a BIM Model?

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and is a workflow process. It’s based around models used for the planning, design, construction, and management of building and infrastructure projects. BIM software is used to model and optimize projects by planning, designing, building, and operating BIM models. BIM models are virtualizations of a project from concept to completion and on through its entire lifecycle. By using BIM, such projects can be completed more efficiently and economically, and with less environmental impact. 

What Is BIM Software?

BIM software is 3D design and modeling software that can help optimize the work of designing for architecture, construction, plant, civil, and MEP projects. It does this by: 

  • Helping make better design decisions and improve building performance

  • Digitizing the construction site and connecting information from construction through handover

  • Managing the design and construction of piping, structures, and processes

  • Improving predictability, productivity, and profitability of workflows

  • Supporting project delivery success with improved design quality and collaboration

The process of BIM software includes the following four steps:

  1. Planning: Using real-world data and reality capture together to generate BIM models.

  2. Designing: Performing conceptual design, analysis, detailing, and documentation for informing logistics and schedules.

  3. Building: Sharing plans and designs with trades and contractors to increase efficiency.

  4. Operating: Carrying data from BIM to operations and maintenance to be used later for renovations or deconstructions.

What Is a BIM Model?

BIM models are made up of intelligent objects that, when changed, stay updated throughout the design no matter who is working with them. BIM models can be used to analyze or explore design options, visualizations, and documentations.

To create a computer-generated BIM model, BIM software combines many layers of information for various infrastructure systems into a master model. In other words, a BIM model is the virtualization of a project. It’s “building” a large-scale project from the ground up and representing it throughout the project’s lifecycle.  

What Is Revit?

Revit is not BIM, but was built for BIM. Revit and other applications made for BIM help designers design, simulate, visualize, and collaborate in order to capitalize on the advantages of the interconnected data within a BIM model.

Revit is a single application built for Building Information Modeling with features for:

  • Architectural design

  • MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing)

  • Structural engineering

  • Construction

The key word in BIM is “Information.” BIM is centered on BIM models made up of objects. Revit creates these objects which consist of data that designers can see in different views:

  • 2D drawings

  • 3D models

  • Schedules (lists)

When one piece of data changes in one view, it is updated in all other views automatically by Revit because each view is displaying the same data. Objects can also be related to other objects. So, to repeat, if one object changes, any related objects reflect those changes as well.

Does Revit Do Everything?

No, Revit doesn’t do everything. There is still a place for CAD software like AutoCAD (which designers use for detailing and documenting). Visualization software, like 3ds Max and Photoshop, is used for highly-detailed design visualizations. Other analysis applications can perform advanced simulations to improve design efficiency as well.

The BIM models Revit creates can integrate into the workflows of designers using these applications to further enhance the effectiveness of the design team, on to construction. 

Where Can I Learn More About BIM?

An AEC industry research article sums up the benefits of BIM implementation in projects. It says:

“...BIM improves project task quality, provides better quality product, creates possibility of sharing information, and improves work efficiency.” 

Because of these benefits, many engineering and architectural firms are relying on BIM now more than ever before. That’s exactly why it is important to understand BIM, to know “what is BIM software,” and to know “what is a BIM model.” With that information and those skills at your fingertips, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.  

BIM tutorials and Revit tutorials by Pluralsight can teach you industry-proven techniques to take full advantage of BIM methodology, which will help you create your best designs faster, more cost-effective, and more efficiently than ever.