Building Information Modeling (BIM)

New Residential

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) forms a digital representation of a residential building’s physical and functional characteristics and calculates information about the building that can be used by all building stakeholders to make decisions about the design, construction, maintenance, and operations of a building throughout its life-cycle.[1] Combining graphical information, such as plans and elevations, and nongraphical information, such as costs, specifications, schedules and maintenance requirements, into a BIM model results in a single source of information.[2] Large-scale builders, managing large amounts of data, often use BIM as are an increasing number of mid-size and small residential builders.[3]

Figure 1 – Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the US General Service Administration. (Source: GSA)

Figure 1 – Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the US General Service Administration. (Source: GSA)

How to Implement Building Information Modeling

Designate a ‘Project BIM Manager’ or a lead design and a lead construction ‘Project BIM Manager’ with knowledge and experience working with BIM and selected software. Provide ongoing BIM training to all building stakeholders responsible for inputting, extracting, modifying, and analyzing the data (see Integrated Design Process and Energy Modeling).

The National Institute of Building Science’s, The National Building Information Modeling Guide for Owners (NBGO), guides building owners on how to incorporate BIM into internal policies and contract documents.[4]


BIM coordinates information sharing among building stakeholders across multiple project phases that result in more informed decision making and eliminates the re-gathering and re-formatting of building information.[5] BIM also serves as a “clash detection tool,” by identifying potential design, construction, and operational inconsistencies, and cuts costs and reduces waste by avoiding rework.[6]


The cost of implementing BIM varies widely, depending on the project team’s expertise using BIM, the complexity of the project, and other building process considerations. Costs include training, software, and organizational changes required to implement BIM technology.[7] Lower building costs and efficient construction timelines often associated with BIM projects can help offset upfront costs.[8]


BIM enhances the resiliency of the built environment and construction industry in the “pre-disaster phase and post-disaster phases.”[9] In the design phase, BIM can conduct scenario forecasting to predict the performance of a facility during emergencies, such as fire, flood, evacuation, and others.[10] BIM can also enhance the post-disaster phase, for example, by providing building information to first responders and allowing them to direct building occupants to the nearest exit.[11]

[1] Computer Integrated Construction Research Program. 2011. “BIM Project Execution Planning Guide – Version 2.1. Pennsylvania State University.” (accessed April 17, 2018).

[2] National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). 2012. National BIM Guide for Owners (accessed March 7, 2018)

[3] Jeff Marcus. “NAHB: More builders, architects are betting on BIM.” Construction Dive.  Dec 15, 2016 (accessed March 20, 2018).

[4] National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). 2012. “National BIM Guide for Owners.” (accessed March 7, 2018)

[5] National Institute of Building Sciences – Whole Building Design Guide – Building Information Modeling (BIM) (accessed June 21, 2018).

[6] Jonathan Boone. 2017. “Building Information Modeling becomes everyday business.” US Army Corps of Engineer Research and Development Center, Information Technology Laboratory. (accessed June 21, 2018).

[7] Dippold, Cory. “Effective Implementation of BIM.” November 26, 2008. Engineering News-Record. (accessed March 6, 2018).

[8] National Institute of Building Sciences. Journal of Building Information Modeling. (accessed March 7, 2018).

[9] Sertyesilisik, Begum. 2017. Building Information Modeling as a Tool for Enhancing Disaster Resilience of the Construction Industry.  Technical University of Ostrava, Safety Engineering Series. 12(1): 9-18. (accessed March 7, 2018)

[10] Kreider, Ralph G., and Messner, John I. 2013. “The Uses of BIM: Classifying and Selecting BIM Uses.” Version 0.9, September, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA. (accessed April 16, 2018).

[11] Sertyesilisik, Begum. 2017.