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What is a BIM?

What is BIM?


What is BIM and Why Adopt It?


Large scale construction is complex, it is the interaction of multiple contributors each developing different parts of a project at different stages and from different perspectives. To manage this, clients have traditionally engaged designers, builders and building operators linearly. However, with the development of cloud computing power to host large volumes of data, it has become possible for all construction information to be hosted together in a multi-dimensional environment. This “Common Data Environment”, where contributors can communicate and collaborate on the same information, in real time, has allowed for non-linear or more circular processes to develop. With access to “live” information, often communicated visually, contributors can make better informed decisions. This central repository of building information with increasingly circular workflows, combined with the growing number of tools to visualise, quantify, and automate parts of design, coordination, and data analysis, is called BIM.

BIM and Risk Reduction


When applied, BIM is an excellent tool for the reduction and mitigation of risk. Some common examples of risk mitigated using BIM include:


  • Construction Coordination Risk – reduced site-based coordination reducing chance of construction cost overrun, wasted materials and manhours

  • RFIs Risk- reduced administration and time impact on shop drawings process 

  • Seismic coordination Risk – reduced impact of seismic design on service design layouts

  • Site Management Risk – visualised site traffic flow, plant /equipment routes  

  • Health & safety Risk – access zones, access & egress, lifting methodology 

  • Carbon & Environmental Risks - carbon impact assessment, carbon planning, impact reduction, tracking soil contamination 

  • Community and Cultural Risk– improved community engagement

BIM has translated into overall efficiency gains in the construction process of between 7% and 20%. Since the UK Government established its BIM Task Group in 2011 it has experienced an 18% improvement in the productivity on its projects.  Specific improvements occur through:

  • Improved visualization

  • Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information

  • Conflict detection and analysis at design phase

  • Increased coordination of construction documents

  • Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required for estimation and tendering

  • Increased speed of delivery

  • Reduced costs

Further reading

BIM in New Zealand

BIM in New Zealand

According to the 2021 EBOSS BIM in New Zealand Survey, there has been a 36 percentage point increase in industry BIM use since 2014. In 2014, 34% of the industry control group's projects used BIM; this has increased to 70% in 2021. Sub-contractor use of BIM on the other hand has increased by 26 percentage points in just the last two years, from 34% in 2019 to 56% in 2021.

With government initiatives in the US and Europe supporting BIM adoption, and the New Zealand government making BIM the centerpiece of its Productivity Partnership, the full migration toward BIM adoption in New Zealand has arrived. 


​“BIM or Building Information Modelling promises to be a game changer in lifting the productivity of New Zealand’s building and construction sector.”

- Hon. Maurice Williamson, NZ Minister for Building and Construction

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