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The BIM Explainer


Not long ago I read and really liked Randall Monroe’s Book Thing Explainer, and for years I have read his page. It was interesting because it explained things only using the most used ten hundred words; so I have done the same by writing this piece about Building Information Modelling (BIM). This is because that BIM is a quite simple, but it has been made hard by people creating new words, confusing others, and even bending the truth. To prove that BIM can be easy, I wanted to show how simply it can be explained so I had the idea to only use the ten hundred most used words like Randall’s Book. To do this I needed to think hard about what to write to make sure I explained it well without any big words, I even found a page to help me.

When we build, things can go wrong. Parts of the build may be the wrong size, put in the wrong place, or even the wrong part; around the world this has been happening often. This is because when we build we do enough work to help us, but not always enough to help others do their work. So when others try to use our work it might seem be confusing, have bits missing, or just be wrong.

Our leaders saw this problem and wanted to help fix it. They wrote papers and told us we were not building as well as we could saying we fought too much, but we didn’t listen (Latham, 1994). Later, they told us we could build better by working together, and again, we didn’t listen (Egan, 1998). In 2009 the banks broke and people didn’t have the money to build, our leaders told us now that there is no money we needed to build better, yet again we didn’t listen (Wolstenhome, 2010). As we never listened to our leaders they had to think of a way to make us listen, so they told us to work together or they won’t want us working for them and told us we had to use something called BIM from 2016 (Government Construction Strategy, 2011).


Our leaders chose BIM because they saw how working together and planning out how to plan, make, send, and use other people’s information can help us build better ( New papers were made explaining how to share information such as PAS1192-2:2013. It explains first that the owner needs to says what information he wants, how he wants it, what he wants to use it for, and what he needs back to make good building choices now and when he looks after the finished build [Employer’s Information Requirements, Plain Language Questions]. Then different build leaders write back and tell the owner how they are going to build, who they want to use to help them, and how they will make sure to give the owner the information they has asked for [Pre-Contract BIM Execution Plan]. The owner then picks a build leader to win.

After he has won the job, the build leader then sits with his team to plan the job, they agree who will do what parts [Responsibility Matrix] how they will do it [Standards, Methods, and Procedures], and when they will do it [Project Milestones] as part of their agreed plan to create and hand over this information [Post-Contract BIM Execution Plan]. The build leader does this by making sure that each team he picks to help can follow how they will make the information [Supply Chain Assessments] so that he knows he has the right team for the build. The build leader and teams then plan what things to draw, write and make so that everyone has what they need when it is their turn to start their work [Master Information Delivery Plan]. As they draw the build, each team shares what they’ve drawn so that no two bits cross [Agreed Origin and Orientation, Clash Avoidance]. The teams do this by putting their work in one shared place for everyone to use and follow the plan to call their information the right names to help find them easier [Common Data Environment]. The build leader also checks with the owner at the end of each big bit of work to make sure what they are building is right for the owner and that they have all the information they need about the build [Employer Decision Points, Supplier’s Information Exchange].

By planning out what information is made and when, the build leader can be sure that no information is missing during the build [Project Delivery Management]. Also, by planning how to form this information the build leader can be sure that the information is right and can be used by the build team and owner [Project Information Management]. Finally, by planning how to share information, the build leader can make sure that information has been checked so that all of the work fits together [Check, Review, Approve Process].

So by following these steps and making sure the team can make the information the owner wants, there is a better chance that the parts of the build won’t be the wrong size, put in the wrong place, or be the wrong part. That means that when they finish the build there is less of a chance that the money will be a problem, or that it’ll take more time to finish; and best of all, the build finishes with a happy owner.

I hope this has helped show how simple BIM can be. If you want to know more about BIM and some of the help you can get, please visit our page


This post was originally published on LinkedIn.