Intro to CIM: What is CIM?

“Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.[1]

On the above basis, it’s safe to assume that most of the time a fully developed Building Information Model will include much more information than what’s needed just for construction. Not all functional or even geometrical attributes of the building are the ones that drive construction scheduling. Usually, the driving aspect of construction is linked to physical construction elements that will be built i.e., columns, slabs, walls, etc. and their WBS. Therefore, the concept of the Construction Information Model (CIM) has emerged. 

A good CIM can be viewed as a “focused” version of the BIM, which usually encompasses only relevant information for any task. The main difference between the BIM and the CIM concept is the following:

BIM (Building Information Modelling)

CIM (Construction Information Modelling)

BIM aims to represent physical (geometrical) and functional attributes as well as capturing any information related to the building (e.g., suppliers, materials, specs etc).

CIM digitally represents the building and its elements as they will be constructed in real life. It majorly focuses on work breakdown structure (WBS), concrete pour units, etc.

For instance, a good BIM will represent the envelope physical information by successfully designing the exterior glazing probably spanning from bottom to top-level, along with all desired design detailing (e.g. exterior finish, structural support, sweeps/cuts etc).

However, for a good CIM, the envelope construction information will be successfully represented by simply designing a simple exterior wall, that is split by levels without necessarily including the design details of the BIM.

 BIM.jpg  CIM.jpg


[1]Frequently Asked Questions About the National BIM Standard-United States - National BIM Standard - United States". Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.

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