The reality of manufacturers’ BIM content

There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not BIM content should be generic or specific. I have written extensively about this in the past.

The argument from the generic camp is that in the early stages of design you may not know exactly what component you will be using.


At _space group, via our various companies, our focus is always to consider ways to improve the constructed product. We believe that procurement has a huge impact on the inefficiency of the design process. A particular procurement approach for example may reduce cost but have a far greater impact on value. The argument for generic components in a model is that a cheaper or different component may be specified later in the process.


We believe that the specifier should focus on making detailed decisions as soon as possible as this will assist with coordination and predictability.


We now have real examples of the benefits of using specific components early in the design process. When reviewing a recent school design at stage 3, it was clear there was considerable detail in the model. A range of BIMstore components had been used including Zehender radiators, contour Casings and orange box furniture. The window blinds were even included from solar contracts.


This very detailed prototype was produced quickly and accurately. It was a true representation of the space and the components within it. The effort to achieve this level of detail was minimal with pre-set components obtained from the BIMstore library.


The real benefit was demonstrated when the model was shared with the head teacher. As we were able to show him the space in 3D, he had the confidence of knowing what his school would look like. Most importantly he was able to confirm he was happy with the proposals and that they needed no further detail. This confidence allows the design team to progress efficiently and confidently.


It may be that for procurement reasons that one of these components is changed during detailed design, however now it will be clear what the implications are, which can be communicated with the end user.


As we continue to be able to demonstrate the power and benefits to design development of using manufactured content, I hope the argument of generic content will disappear.