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BIM common terminology

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

In this blog post you will find some basic terms of Building Information Modeling, BIM terminology, usefull for anyone just starting with BIM.

Building Information Modeling

BIM is a shared digital representation of a built asset to facilitate design, construction, and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions.

Building Information Model

BIM model is the object – based 3D digital model, that contains information and data for the whole lifecycle of a built asset.


3D modeling based on objects that include non-graphical data


4D refers to the addition of time information to a 3D model


5D refers to attaching cost data to a 3D object


6D refers to the use of data- rich models for facility management

Level 0

In Level 0, 2D simple CAD objects are used to create 2D drawings, Communication is done via paper and basic prints. The is no collaboration.

Level 1

In Level 1, 3D simple 3D CAD objects are used to create 3D models and 2D drawings, Data are shared through Common Data environment. The collaboration is partial with 3D visuals and controls in modeling tools.

Level 2

In Level 2, 3D objects with information and libraries are used in a BIM environment. The collaboration is combined and at this level 4D and 5D can be developed.

Level 3

In Level 3, data is open and available for all parties in the Common Data Environment.

The collaboration is integrated with advanced simulation and integrated project delivery.

At this stage the concept of lifecycle management can be developed.

BIM object

A BIM object is a virtual representation of a real object, that includes detailed information about object’s geometry and physical characteristics.

Level of Development

The Level of Development (LOD) Specification is a reference that enables practitioners in the AEC Industry to specify and articulate with a high level of clarity, the content and reliability of Building Information Models at various stages in the design and construction process.

Asset information model, AIM

The information model that relates to the operational phase. It contains the information necessary to support asset management.

Project information model,PIM

Information Model relating to the delivery phase. The PIM model is being developed during the design and construction process of a project.

BIM Execution Plan, BEP

BEP is a plan prepared by suppliers to explain how information modeling aspects of a project will be carried out.

Common Data environment, CDE

CDE is one location for any given project or asset, for collecting, managing and sharing project data/information.


Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is a non-proprietary international data format, used to exchange non – graphical information for facilities management.


Uniclass 2015 is a unified classification for the UK industry covering all construction sectors. It contains consistent tables classifying items of all scale from a facility such as a railway down through to products such as a CCTV camera in a railway station.


IFC is an open industry Foundations classes format developed by Building Smart. It is considered the interoperability solution between different software applications.

Exchange Information Requirements, EIR

EIR requirements define the information that will be required by the employer from both their own internal team and from suppliers for the development of the project and for the operation of the completed built asset.


RACI is a compiled abbreviation to identify participants or stakeholders (on a project), as Responsible for (R), need to Authorize (A), those who can Contribute to (C) or are to be kept Informed (I) about a project activity.

Level of information need

The level of information need is a framework that enables the right level of information to be provided, to satisfy the information related purposes at each information exchange.

This list gives an idea of some basic terms used in BIM. However, the list is not comprehensive. You can also check the presentation BIM basic terminology here.

Author: Panagiotidou Nicoleta

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BIM training by BIM Design Hub introduces you to the concepts and principles of Building Information Modeling, BIM, in line with ISO 19650 and provides sufficient skills and knowledge of the BIM process, standards and guidelines that support the digitalization of the construction industry.

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