Building Information Modelling (BIM) is having an image problem.  The perception of BIM by industry professionals seems to be squarely focused on the need for 3D modelling of built assets to unlock the many lifecycle cost reductions and planning benefits of BIM.  If this was indeed the case, then the vast majority of existing building stock will never form part of the BIM journey as more than 90% of buildings in the UK are over ten years old and live in the operational phase, and therefore exist in 2D CAD or 2D paper drawings.  This is also true of new build property, NG Bailey stated at BIM Show live on the 1st November 2011, that 60% of new build is still being designed in 2D.  So will the need for 3D modelling in BIM hold it back? Lifecycle BIM can, and has to live in 2D while the industry catches up.

My experience working with owners, occupiers and operators of built asset portfolios is that they tend to work entirely with 2D information i.e. drawings, O&M manuals and spreadsheets independent of each other. However, there is very valid option to generate a 3D model of an existing building using “point cloud” survey technology which, although more expensive than a traditional measured survey of a building, provides a very useful dataset and tool for managing major refurbishment and on-going facilities management.

It was clear to me when creating kykloud, that there is a way to benefit from the many opportunities BIM offers.  Kykloud logically sorts and structures the many different types of building data into an online asset database and then uses the data in all of the dimensions of BIM; 4D time, 5D cost and 6D lifecycle. The only missing part in this system is the 3D design model but does this mean it is not doing BIM? Actually, no.  It means it’s implementing “real world lifecycle BIM”, taking available data and using it to create BIM in a cost effective and useful way. 

Lack of 3D design doesn’t need to hold the industry back from embracing BIM.  On the contrary, BIM can make an impact on improving cost effectiveness by utilising data and presenting it in a way which works from a lifecycle perspective.  This is, of course only the beginning.  We’re only just seeing how BIM principles coupled with emerging technology will make an impact on the industry but the signs are certainly more than encouraging.  

This piece was also fetaured in Building