The “I” in BIM


For many people in the construction industry, Building Information Modeling (BIM) represents a 3D model.

Sometimes this model is used for presentations in which an architectural rendering conveys a sense of what the building may look like. Other times, it is a combination of models, utilized to coordinate various systems from different trades. But if a Building Information Model (BIM) is only used for 3D purposes, then the true value of what it could accomplish is lost. In fact, the most important letter in BIM isn’t the ‘B’ or the ‘M’, but rather the one right in the middle – the ‘I’.

Sir Francis Beacon once said, “Knowledge is power”, but this could easily be translated to be ‘Information is Power.’ Inside and outside the confines of a BIM model, our clients and team members on our projects are starting to realize this power. Massaro utilizes this in both coordinating the building through clash detection as well as out in the field through our iPads.

Are the drawings not clear on which type of light fixture is supposed to be installed in a certain area? By having accurate data entered throughout the model development, a worker can quickly select the fixture in question in the BIM model and view what type it is supposed to be. Maybe it is not the drawings but something just doesn’t look right in the field – That worker pulls up the model and realizes, before it becomes a bigger issue, that the wrong sized duct has been installed in a location and will cause conflicts with the other systems. Time is saved and efficiency gained from having this information right at the fingertips of the worker.

This information isn’t even at its most powerful during design or construction – it is at its most power after construction, during facilities management. Massaro has been working hand in hand with Penn State University to allow this information to be transferred seamlessly to their FM software. A maintenance person can now come out to a building after receiving a complaint and begin to decipher the problem by scanning barcodes that were placed on equipment and synced with the model information during construction to pull up all relevant data related to the issue in that room. With the information at their fingertips, the issue can be solved in 30 minutes rather than spending a full day sorting through the pieces of a maintenance puzzle.

All in all these two scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to information in a 3D model. The possibilities for this life cycle data management are near endless and will only continue to push BIM and the construction industry further into the future.

In what ways are you using BIM to increase efficiency?


Article by Ryan Cole, BIM Project Engineer

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