Beyond 3D – The Next 5 Dimensions of BIM

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At this point in the disciplines of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), building information modeling (BIM) is old news. The most popular BIM software, Revit (with about 70% marketshare), showed up on the scene just in time to have the Y2K mayhem overshadow it. Nevertheless, in the years that followed companies have begun to realize that there are benefits to loosening the hold on “their” data and collaborating using Revit models. After 20+ years, industry surveys report that over half of companies in the AEC space now use BIM on at least some of their projects. 

Major benefits the building industry enjoys beyond the power of using a model to see the project in 3D are based on the ability to use the information contained in the objects. Besides 3D, there are a lot of other “Ds” that BIM enables.

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  • 3DVisual.  The three-dimensional representation (width, height and depth) of your project is the ultimate planning tool. It allows your teams to check for clashes before anything is built. It enables designers to test their designs for stability and sustainability far in advance.   
  • 4DTime.  The extra dimension of time can be added to the model. Information can be added to the model to inform phasing and scheduling, i.e. lead time, length of construction and the time required for installation. Designs can be tested to show how changes will affect the schedule.
  • 5DCost.  With this added dimension, budget-related and cost information is included in the Revit model. Designs can be tested to show how changes to size, orientation and materials affect the cost of the project.
  • 6DOperations.  When you add attribute data to help with eventual facilities management, you’ve reached the sixth dimension of BIM. That information may include manufacturer specifications, maintenance requirements and warranties. 6D comes into play once the project is handed off to the owner and enables the facilities staff to plan for expenses related to operating the building.
  • 7DSustainability.  The added dimension of energy usage is especially useful when the owner is looking for environmental and energy efficient operations. The 7D design will give the owner estimates of long-term energy consumption.
  • 8DSafety.  Emergency plans can be embedded in the design so safety and security issues can be planned for ahead of time. These issues can include designing to promote occupational safety and health and prevention of potential accidents. Construction workplace injuries currently far outpace every other industry by about double. By preemptively reducing the inherent opportunity for injuries, 8D BIM can revolutionize the construction industry.

Companies that are using BIM processes have already moved into the next dimensions of construction. As they collaborate on designs for more efficiency and productivity, they also have the potential to transform the industry for increased safety, sustainability, schedule and budget accuracy, and superior long-term operations.  


Applied Software has partnered with companies just like yours for effective BIM coordination. Contact Applied Software today to discover how the Revit and BIM experts of Applied will help your team establish a BIM coordination process that runs like a well-oiled machine.

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