Roles in BIM

Roles in BIM

Date: December 29, 2021 Authors: Emin Beganović, Aiša Čanić

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a tool with an intelligent 3D method that represents a single digital model of a building with all of its functional and physical properties. The digital model of a building provides information for all roles that are included in the construction process. 

BIM streamlines the flow of information between all disciplines and roles providing the opportunity for higher quality design and construction as well as greater insights for owners and project stakeholders. The information is where the real power of BIM lies, so let’s see what does the stream of information means and how does it influence each role in the construction process.


Interoperability refers to the capacity to interchange data between programs, which helps to streamline workflows and automate them in some cases. Various design and construction tasks are supported by multiple programs with overlapping data needs. Interoperability has typically depended on file-based exchange formats that are confined to geometry, such as DXF (Drawing eXchange Format) and IGES (Initial Graphic Exchange Specification).

The AEC industry is identifying what kind of data is essential for various roles, what’s crucial for efficient workflows, and how to document the necessary information. The vast majority of applications rely on non-editable geometry, while just a handful require the creation or modification of geometry data. We are finding that interoperability can be achieved in the majority of circumstances.

Building design and construction is a collaborative effort, and that is why we looked closely into BIM roles.

BIM for Owners and Facility Managers 

BIM allows project participants to collaborate more effectively, avoiding mistakes and field adjustments resulting in a more efficient and reliable delivery process that saves time and money. By adopting BIM to speed the delivery of higher quality and better performing buildings, owners may achieve substantial project benefits. 

A building information model can be used by owners to:

  • Design assessment and building performance 

At every stage of a project, owners must be able to oversee and evaluate the scope of the design according to their requirements. This frequently includes spatial analysis during conceptual design. This is followed by evaluations to see whether the design meets the functional requirements. This is mostly still a manual approach today, with owners relying on designers to talk them through the project using sketches, photos, or produced animations. However, requirements change often, and even with well-defined requirements, it can be difficult for an owner to confirm that all of them have been satisfied.

  • Reduce the financial risk

Unreliable estimates put owners at risk and unnecessarily raise the total cost of the project. BIM will have a higher impact on cost estimation if it is used sooner in the design process. This is significant since the capacity to impact cost is greatest early in the process, during the idea and feasibility stages. The goal of using BIM-based cost estimate methodologies is to improve overall cost reliability associated with the project using the BIM model to obtain earlier and more reliable cost estimates and improved collaboration of the project team.

  • Shorten project schedule 

Manufacturing companies have well-defined time-to-market needs, and they must investigate technologies and techniques that will allow them to provide facilities sooner, better, and less costly. BIM gives project owners and teams the tools they need to partially automate design, simulate processes, and use offsite production. These developments, which were originally aimed at manufacturing or process facilities, are now available to the commercial facility industry and its service providers as well. In addition, by integrating building models to coordinate and prefabricate design, field labor time is decreased.

  • Optimize facility management and maintenance 

Exporting important as-built building and equipment information is used to launch the systems that will be used throughout the facility’s lifespan. Product quality, in terms of leaks, malfunctions, and unnecessary maintenance, are all important components. On the other hand, sustainability is something that is achieved easier through the usage of BIM. Many owners are considering the energy efficiency of their buildings and the overall environmental effect of their projects as a result of the green building trend. Sustainable construction is smart business practice and can increase a facility’s marketability. Due to the depth of object information required to undertake energy or other environmental evaluations, building models have significant benefits over typical 2D models.

BIM for Architects and Engineers

Usage of BIM is a paradigm change for any architect and engineer. BIM redistributes effort by partially automating the details of construction-level architectural models, putting greater focus on conceptual design. Easy methods for ensuring consistency across all drawings and reports, automating spatial interference checking, providing a strong foundation for interfacing analysis/simulation/cost applications, and improving visualization/communication at all scales and phases of the project are all direct benefits.

We will take a look at the function and process of design from three different perspectives, each of which applies to various projects to varying extents depending on their amount of information development.

  • Conceptual design 

It takes into account all aspects of the project, including its function, costs, construction techniques and materials, environmental consequences, construction practices, cultural and aesthetic concerns, and so on. Is the foundational part of any facility, and it is the most creative aspect of the design process. In terms of massing, structure, general spatial arrangement, approach to environmental conditioning, and reaction to site and other local constraints, concept design establishes the fundamental framework of the design that will be refined in the following stages. 

  • BIM for design and analysis 

May be conceived of as processes that quantify the variations in physical characteristics that can be predicted in real construction. Many functional aspects of a building’s performance are examined, including structural integrity, temperature regulation, ventilation and air circulation, lighting, pedestrian movement, acoustics, energy distribution and consumption, water system, and waste disposal, all of which are subjected to varying loads. The design team’s specialists do these simulations and evaluations, which are based on extensive analytical models with expert input requirements.

Current BIM authoring tools have a primary strength in construction modeling. Construction papers are the principal output of this phase nowadays. However, this is changing. In the future, the legal basis for construction documents will be the building model itself. This last point of view entails the integration of design and construction. At a more basic level, this perspective applies to well-integrated design-build processes in traditional construction, enabling quick, efficient building construction following design, or perhaps in tandem with it. 

BIM for Contractors

All members of the project team benefit from an accurate building model. It enables for a more efficient and well-planned building process, saving time and money while reducing the risk of errors and conflicts. Contractors as well can acquire many benefits using BIM. Some of the benefits include:

  • Constructability analysis and clash detection

Trade and system coordination is a primary job for every contractor.

Previously clash detection was done manually using 2D drawings by placing individual system designs on a light table to find possible conflicts. Contractors, too used to employ old 2D CAD tools to overlay CAD layers to see and manually spot any conflicts. These manual methods are time-consuming, expensive, prone to mistakes, and rely on the usage of current drawings. When using BIM 3D geometry models to identify geometric things, the result is typically a high number of meaningless clashes. The clash detection tool cannot identify conflicts between items within other objects if the 3D geometries are not solids, it can only detect surface collisions. 

  • Quantity takeoff and cost estimating

As the design progresses, more detailed spatial and material parameters may be extracted directly from the building model. All BIM systems allow you to extract component counts, space area and volume, and material amounts, as well as report them in various schedules. These values are more than sufficient for generating rough cost estimates. Problems may occur when component definitions (most frequently assemblies of parts) are not adequately specified.

  • Construction analysis and planning

Bar charts were traditionally used to organize projects, but they couldn’t demonstrate how or why different operations were linked in a certain order, nor could they compute the longest (major) path to completion. Today, schedulers develop, maintain, and communicate the schedule utilizing a range of reports and displays using Critical Path Methods (CPM) scheduling software such as Microsoft Project, Primavera SureTrak, or P3. These systems display how activities are connected and enable the computation of critical path(s) and float values, which help with construction planning.

  • Integration with cost, schedule control, and other managerial functions

By using a graphic model to visually assess project progress and identify prospective or present difficulties, contractors and project stakeholders can obtain new insights. Following are some examples of how businesses are using 3D/BIM to assist with these tasks:

  1. Track variances between budget and the actual cost
  2. Project status
  3. Procurement purchasing
  4. Procurement tracking
  5. Safety management
  • Off-site fabrication

Contractors are frequently fabricating components remotely to cut on labor costs and dangers involved with the onsite installation. Many types of construction components are now manufactured and/or assembled offsite in factories before being transported to the job site. Before and throughout the manufacturing process, BIM allows contractors to immediately input BIM component information, such as 3D geometry, material specifications, finishing needs, delivery sequence, and schedule.

  • Verification, guidance, and tracking of construction activities

To guarantee that dimensions and performance specifications are satisfied, contractors must field-verify the installation of building components. When faults are discovered, the contractor must devote more time to correcting them. The building model may be used to ensure that actual construction conditions match the model’s depictions. Even if a project team builds an accurate model, human error during installation is still a possibility, and detecting these problems as they happen or as soon as possible is highly beneficial for the project.

BIM for Subcontractors and Fabricators

BIM facilitates the whole collaborative process of design creation, detailing, and integration for subcontractors and fabricators. By reducing lead times and deeper design integration, BIM has been used in several documented examples to permit larger levels of prefabrication than was previously achievable. Beyond these immediate effects on efficiency and quality, BIM allows fundamental process improvements by allowing users to handle the massive amounts of data necessary for “mass customization,” a major principle of lean manufacturing.

Subcontractors who create engineered-to-order components for buildings may benefit from BIM more than any other participant in the construction process in terms of pure economics. BIM directly complements their core business, allowing them to attain the same levels of efficiency that fabricators in other industries, including the automobile industry, have achieved via the use of computer-aided modeling for manufacture.


After assessing all of the roles in construction using BIM we can conclude that it is a human activity that, in the end, entails large-scale building process modifications. The broader picture is that BIM allows project design and construction teams to collaborate more closely earlier in the process. This will make the building delivery process more efficient, less expensive, more dependable, and less prone to mistakes and danger. By using BIM, being an architect, engineer, or other AEC sector professional at this time is exciting.

Reference: BIM Handbook, A Guide to Building Information Modeling for Owners, Managers, Designers, Engineers, and Contractors