If AutoCAD has CAD blocks and symbols, what does Revit (or any other BIM software) have? BIM objects. Handy pieces of information models, BIM objects ensure faster, data-rich modelling and building information management. If you are only now getting acquainted with this useful element of BIM, make sure to read till the end.
Your Definitive Guide to Understanding BIM Objects
Thet Hnin Su Aung
Writer at Oneistox
● 7.5 mins read
What is BIM?
Considered the future of construction, BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a methodology for creating, managing and sharing digital built asset data at a multidisciplinary level throughout all project stages. BIM is no longer considered new technology, but many new modelling and information management features in the construction industry have stemmed from it. The aim is simple – to streamline the AEC workflows that are otherwise complex and time-consuming.
And that is also why we now have BIM objects.
What is a BIM object?
A BIM object is a 3D model of a product created in BIM software, containing detailed information about the product, along with the precise geometry of the product representing the physical characteristics. BIM objects can come in varying file formats that can be used in different BIM software such as Revit, ArchiCAD and Vectorworks etc. It includes IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) formats, open exchange and vendor-neutral platform, to provide interoperability across multiple platforms for different stakeholders.
How is a BIM object created?
Creating BIM objects (Source: https://www.nationalbimlibrary.com)
BIM objects are rich in information as they’re a part of the project BIM model. But what information and why?
Along with geometrical information like dimensions, BIM objects are constructed with technical details that can show the functionality of the product in the real world. Think information from product data sheets. Such data becomes graphical data, including but not limited to, dimension, materials, colours and manufacturer’s information.
A BIM object can only prove its usefulness by having accurate and relevant information embedded in it. Only then it is a digital representation of, not only how the product looks, but also how it works.
How are they related to BIM models?
BIM objects are an essential part of the project BIM model. We can also say they are also BIM models, not of the building but of products. Being BIM models themselves, making a change to the BIM object will automatically get reflected in the main model at any project stage.
How do you use BIM objects?
Different BIM object choices for furniture (Source: https://www.bimobject.com/en-us/collections)
Producing a BIM model of the project can be a painstakingly tedious process with so many details and even more information involved. BIM objects are used to coordinate the design process, usually starting with a generic BIM object as a placeholder. They are similar to CAD blocks we all are used to. The only difference is that the BIM objects are in 3D with metadata or product information. The intelligence of these models provides execution of specific tasks and coordination while also demonstrating the history of the design model.
Type of BIM objects
Generally, BIM objects are categorized in several ways: layered objects vs component objects and generic vs specific objects.
Layered vs Component BIM Objects
The layered objects do not have a fixed geometry and are adjustable since they come in layers, as the name suggests. Walls, roofs and ceilings are examples of layered objects. And then there are component objects which are products with set geometrical shapes and measurements such as doors and furniture.
Generic vs Specific BIM Objects
There are also two other types which may overlap in some elements with the first two. Generic objects are typically used as placeholders in early design stages to indicate material or furniture and be replaced with a more specific object later on.
These specific objects are also known as manufacturer objects, BIM objects with all relevant information depicting products from manufacturers.
What are the benefits of using BIM objects?
BIM projects, being the direct 3D model representation of products, provide information on these products accessible to all project participants. It ensures the right project information circulation throughout the project stages. Using BIM objects can help project stakeholders reach informed decisions and go for the right design option. Moreover, BIM objects created by product manufacturers are even more reliable and are useful for cost estimation and analyses.
Another advantage of using BIM objects is efficient clash detection. As they are modelled using real-world dimensions, it becomes easy to detect clashes in the main BIM model and correct them to prevent further errors.
For manufacturers, it also gives better exposure to their products. Only by knowing a product inside out, the designers will also feel inclined to use them in the real world instead of finding other alternatives (which will involve finding necessary information all over again).
The need for BIM objects (Source: https://www.thenbs.com/)
Where can you find and download BIM objects?
BIM objects can be downloaded from various online library sites, most of which are created according to industry standards. These libraries work closely with manufacturers to create accurate representations of the product as BIM products. Some manufacturers may also set up libraries of their own to compile their products’ BIM objects.
Below is a list of BIM object libraries with NBS National BIM library and Bimobject being two of the largest sites where BIM objects are available with free access. Several software options are available and you can save the BIM objects to the BIM library to use.
• ACCA Software BIM object library
BIM objects are created to aid the BIM workflows with accessible and manageable data for all project stakeholders. We can expect to find more manufacturers creating BIM objects of their products and BIM professionals to utilise them to their fullest potential.
Interested in learning the BIM process to improve your project workflows? Look no further! Check out Oneistox’s BIM Professional Course and get started right away. Learn with students and professionals from around the world, led by industry experts working in top international firms.
We have more insights on BIM on our Resources page. So make sure to check it out!
Thet Hnin Su Aung
Thet Hnin graduated in architecture and is a passionate language lover. She is enthusiastic to combine her passions in both architecture and writing to tell stories, especially those that our built environment has to offer.
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