The fast-growing Building Information Modeling community is moving toward a common language with a new standard designed to improve the consistency and precision of Building Information Models (BIMs).
The “Level of Development Specification,” reportedly a first-of-its kind standard, was published Aug. 22, following a period of review by industry experts.
The standard defines how detailed and complete models need to be at different stages of the design and construction process—information important to architects, engineers and construction professionals. The standard does not prescribe Levels of Development (LOD), but leaves the specification of the model progression to the user.
Clarifying Content and Reliability
The LOD standard is designed as 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 (BIMs) at various stages in the design and construction process," according to the developers.
James Vandezande, principal at HOK, says the standard "levels expectations between different team members" when it comes to Building Information Models.
Building Information Modeling describes a process of designing a building or structure collaboratively, using one system of computer models, rather than separate sets of drawings. BIM is used in both the architectural and civil engineering sectors.
BIMForum developed the 125-page standard under an agreement with the American Institute of Architects, according to an announcement by the Associated General Contractors of America.
BIMForum is a professional organization working to accelerate the adoption of BIM in the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.
"The key to eliminating confusion is setting common expectations for everyone involved in a project," said James Vandezande, AIA, principal at HOK, who served on the BIMForum committee that crafted the new standard.
“This specification is a tool that levels expectations between different team members about the information contained in the models.”
Dmitri Alferieff, director of the BIMForum, said the new specifications would allow model authors to precisely define what elements of a project are most reliable and allow other users to understand both the value and limits of models they receive.
Process of Publishing
A team of 16 contractors, engineers and architects began drafting the standard in early 2011. Officials with the BIMForum published a draft version of the specification in April 2013 and invited comments from the construction community.
Nearly 100 people provided input throughout the comment period, which ended in June. The drafting committee refined the specification and published the final version Aug. 22.
BIMForum says the document—available for free download here—can be used as a reference standard in Building Information Modeling agreements and execution plans.