BIM in Design, Construction and Operations

Chicago Old Post Office
BIM Snap Shot of the Old Post Office in Chicago, IL

Welcome to our introductory BIM series, where we discuss the many dimensions of building information modeling. Stay tuned for our second BIM series, where we will dive deeper into the topic and explore crucial aspects of BIM in the A/E/C/O industry. To learn more about BIM, please see the list of resources at the end of this article.

It’s been exciting to experience the advancement in A/E/C/O tools and technology over the last couple of years. Now that building information modeling (BIM) is becoming a crucial part of the design process, understanding how BIM applies to your work is a necessity. To help with this, we have compiled the top uses of BIM in the design, construction and operation phases.


Existing Conditions Modeling: 3D as-built documentation of all existing disciplines from reality capture as a baseline for design.

  • Set up your project team for success with accurate information.

Cost Estimating and Scheduling: Extracting data from the BIM to facilitate the general contractors’ estimating and scheduling efforts. BIM provides:

  • the ability to retrieve information from the model to formulate accurate estimates
  • opportunities to show how a schedule is built in real time using a plugin that allows you to build the model based on your team’s schedule


Design Collaboration/3D Coordination: We are moving toward a 3D model–based approach that provides accountability and accuracy. While the 2D design process can be messy, BIM allows:

  • optimal design process
  • real-time fluid design coordination
  • design testing


3D Coordination: Multidisciplinary coordination to help facilitate construction layout techniques. Everything can happen in real time in the field, thanks to BIM, which offers:

  • a more efficient process in site layout
  • on-demand clash detection
  • ability for contractors to take this information and create a BIM lookahead schedule


Building System Analysis/Maintenance Scheduling: Owners can receive the BIM on Day One of project turnover to implement a facilities maintenance approach, enabling:

  • reduced building operation costs
  • facilities maintenance
  • tracking and determining of true depreciation of real estate assets
  • capital improvement
  • move management

This article outlined the primary uses of BIM in each phase of the design and construction process based on our clients’ experiences. The diagram below discuses many other uses of BIM.

BIM Image from Penn State
Image from Penn State

How does BIM apply to your work? Let us know in the comments.

To speed up your existing conditions BIM production and improve accuracy, give us a call at 415.524.0516 or email us at

BIM Resources

  • BIM Forum – Platform for BIM education, technology and applications
  • CD-BIM – BIM certification, training and education
  • USIBD – A leading resource for developing standards in building documentation
  • Epic Scan – Information on existing conditions BIM, 3D documentation and laser scanning
  • Enovity – Research report on facility management and building operations

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