What are BIM levels? Roadmap of BIM development

A House By The Sea / Pitsou Kedem Architects

What are the different BIM levels

BIM levels designate the level of maturity of BIM usage. This scale does not distinguish BIM from CAD. It start from the use of CAD and add more BIM specific feature as the levels increase.
That mean you are already practicing BIM -though you did not know- and probably as high as level 1!

Level 0: Only 2D CAD

Only 2D drafting
2D CAD softwares like Autocad are used and output in paper or electronic prints (pdf…).

Level 1: 2D + 3D CAD

2D drafting for the whole project and final documents
3D CAD for concept work.
This is the level at which many organisations are currently operating.

Level 2: 3D as the main source / No single file - database

The 3D model is used by every teams involved in the project (architects, ingeniors, construction companies…).

There is some collaborative working based on the model. But with no single 3D / BIM model stored in a centralized way. The model of each part need to be synced with the others and federated to have a global view of the project.

Export operations are crucial to combine the BIM models. Exchange formats allow to import BIM models from different softwares.

There are 2 standard exchange formats : the IFC (Industry Fondation Classes) more popular in Europe and COBIE (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) initiated in the USA.

Every drafting softwares (Autocad, Archicad, Vector works…) should be able to import and export in a BIM standard format acurately.

Level 3: Shared centralized repository for one project

Collaboration between all project team are using a unique centralized repository. The project is always uptodate. Teams make a checkout of the model and push their changes backed to the online repository (like in web development with git). It prevent conflict and loss of information.

The main reasons that prevent AEC industry from adopting this architecture right now is :

  • copyright issues : who change what and who can change what > could be solved by a permission system and historisisation of changes
  • liability issues : Who endorse the responsability of the changes > could be solved by shared-risk procurement routes

Level 4: + Time management : Works planning …

Level 5: + Cost Management : Construction economy …

Level 6: + Facilities management : Be able to maintained the project after its completion…