BIM Acronyms - Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask About BIM
BIM Acronyms Can Be Confusing 🤔

Have you ever felt a little overwhelmed by all of the BIM acronyms? Don’t worry; you’re not alone! Here I will cover 50 of the most common BIM acronyms and explain their meaning.

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, read on for all of the BIM terminology and abbreviations explained! This is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about BIM and reduce the confusing jargon – so bookmark 📘 it now! 😍

I’ve tried to group some similar or related terms to help tell the story of BIM acronyms more clearly 👍 so it’s not in alphabetical order.

So here goes, my top 50 Building Information Modeling acronyms, what all of the letters stand for, and what they really mean:

1) BIM

example BIM model
Example BIM model from Metaphora Digital

What does BIM stand for?

The BIM acronym stands for Building Information Modelling, oh, and also, Better Information Management! 😉

What is BIM?

BIM is a process to create and manage three-dimensional models and the information related to a built asset. BIM promotes improved collaboration between design, construction, and operations professionals, and results in less rework and waste.

2) CAD

What does CAD stand for?

CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design.

What is CAD?

CAD is a method of creating two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional models of real-world products before they’re ever manufactured. CAD software is used in many industries, but in construction, it is often used in conjunction with BIM software to create models of buildings.


What does BHAG stand for?

BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

What is a BHAG?

BHAG is a term coined by business consultant Jim Collins. It refers to an ambitious goal that is often difficult to achieve.

Me writing about fifty BIM acronyms started as a BHAG 😆

While BIM could also be a BHAG in itself; I added this one so that the next ones would match their numbers nicely 😊

4) 4D BIM

4D Simulation

What does 4D BIM stand for?

The “D” stands for dimension, and 4D indicates the fourth dimension, time. So 4D BIM stands for four-dimensional Building Information Modeling or time-based BIM.

What is 4D BIM?

As the name suggests, “time-based BIM” is a type of BIM that considers changes to a building over time. 4D BIM can be reviewed in 4D software or shared as a movie file showing a simulation of a building being constructed over time. This output allows for better planning, sequencing, and coordination between different teams involved in a construction project.

5) 5D BIM

What does 5D BIM stand for?

5D BIM is the use of a Building Information Model for quantity take-off (QTO) and costing/estimating a project.

What is 5D BIM?

5D BIM is a type of BIM that includes cost data. This allows for a more accurate estimation of construction costs and can help with project budgeting. Cost data is mostly information about the cost of materials, labor, and equipment needed for a construction project.

6) 6D BIM

What does 6D BIM stand for?

The sixth dimension is debated – is it the addition of facility management (FM) data, sustainability, life-cycle data, or something else?

What is 6D BIM for FM?

6D is generally known as a workflow that uses all of the rich information provided to optimize and manage a facility. The facility management component of a BIM model can include data on energy use, maintenance, and operations.

What is 6D BIM for Sustainability?

Adding sustainability data to a BIM model can help assess a building’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. Sustainability data can include information on a building’s energy use, water use, material use, and waste. This data can be used to make decisions about a building’s design, construction, and operations.

7) 7D BIM

What does 7D BIM stand for?

If the 6th dimension is debated, the seventh dimension can be even more cloudy ☁

Let’s just say that some say that the seventh dimension is sustainability, some say it’s about facilities management, and others have different opinions 😁

What is 7D BIM?

Well, adding data about a facility or life-cycle understanding of sustainability can help assess a building’s environmental impact, carbon footprint, and more. This data could include information on a building’s energy use, water use, material use, and waste. This data can be used to make proactive decisions about a building’s design, construction, and operations.

8) nD BIM

What does nD BIM stand for?

nD BIM stands for multidimensional Building Information Modeling, or sometimes when teams are just fed up with all of the dimensions! 😆

How is nD BIM used?

nD BIM can include a combination of the dimensions of BIM (time, cost, sustainability, etc.). nD BIM can also just refer to models with more than three dimensions.

Anyway, let’s stop counting the D’s and move on to something more useful! 😉


What does AEC stand for?

AEC stands for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.

What is AEC?

AEC is an acronym used to describe the three main disciplines involved in the construction of buildings. These disciplines are architecture, engineering, and construction. AEC can also sometimes refer to the type of software used by these professionals. AEC software includes CAD, BIM, and other software used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals.

What does AECO stand for?

AECO stands for Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Owner-Operated / Operations.

Yes, let’s not forget the person paying the bills! 💰

What is AECO?

Yes, there are many stakeholders involved in the construction of a building. Some might say that the owner is the most important stakeholder. But, at the end of the day, all stakeholders are essential and need to be considered when making decisions about a construction project.

10) BEP

BIM Execution Plan Example - Plannerly

What does BEP stand for?

BEP stands for BIM Execution Plan.

What is a BIM Execution Plan?

A BIM Execution Plan is a document/resource that outlines how a construction project will be executed using BIM. The BEP should include the roles and responsibilities of the team, the type of BIM software to be used, and the workflows that will be followed. The BEP is an essential document because it ensures everyone on the team is on the same page and knows what is expected of them.

11) BXP

What does BXP stand for?

BXP also stands for BIM eXecution Plan – this abbreviation is mostly used in North America.

What is a BIM eXecution Plan?

It’s exactly the same as the BIM Execution Plan above! 😊 Yes, sometimes there are multiple abbreviations for the same thing 🤪

12) PIP

What does PIP stand for?

PIP stands for Project Implementation Plan.

What is a Project Implementation Plan?

A Project Implementation Plan is a sort of BEP that outlines how a construction project will be carried out. The PIP will detail the team’s tasks and duties and the processes that will be followed.

13) CDE

What does CDE stand for?

CDE stands for Common Data Environment.

What is a Common Data Environment?

A Common Data Environment (CDE) is a central repository for all project data. The CDE can be used to store project documents, drawings, and models. The CDE is a central location for all project information and should be accessible to all project team members.

14) FM

What does FM stand for?

FM stands for Facilities Management or Facilities Maintenance.

What is Facilities Management/Maintenance?

Facilities Management and Maintenance are both critical parts of keeping a building running smoothly. Facilities Management is the process of managing the day-to-day operations of a building or facility. Facilities Maintenance is the process of maintaining a building or facility.

15) CMMS

What does CMMS stand for?

CMMS stands for Computerized Maintenance Management System.

What is a Computerized Maintenance Management System?

A CMMS is a software system that helps facility managers track maintenance tasks and schedule work orders. A CMMS can also track inventory, equipment, and personnel.

16) COBie

COBie example by Woonseong Jeong
COBie example by Woonseong Jeong

What does COBie stand for?

COBie stands for Construction Operations Building information exchange.

What is COBie?

COBie is a data exchange format used to transfer information between software systems. The COBie format is often used to exchange data between BIM software and other systems such as CMMS and ERP.

17) IFC

What does IFC stand for?

IFC stands for Industry Foundation Classes or Issued For Construction – which can be super confusing having two very different definitions within the same industry 😖

What is Industry Foundation Classes?

IFC is a data schema used to exchange information between different software systems, usually from multiple software vendors. IFC is described in the ISO 16739 standard.

What is Issued For Construction?

Issued For Construction is a designation given to a set of construction documents that are ready to be used for construction. Issued For Construction documents include drawings, specifications, and other documents needed to build a project.

18) BCF

BCF Clash Detection example
Simple BCF example

What does BCF stand for?

BCF stands for BIM Collaboration Format.

What is BIM Collaboration Format?

BIM Collaboration Format is a structured exchange format that allows different software systems to transfer information about clashes and issues between various BIM tools.

19) MVD

What does MVD stand for?

MVD stands for Model View Definition.

What is a Model View Definition?

A Model View Definition is a subset of the comprehensive IFC schema and is used to exchange information related to a specific use case or workflows like quantity takeoff or coordination. MVDs help to ensure that the receiver of information gets exactly what they need and no more.

20) IDSxml

What does IDSxml stand for?

IDS stands for Information Delivery Specification and XML stands for Extensible Markup Language.

What is an Information Delivery Specification XML?

An Information Delivery Specification is a machine-readable specification that defines Exchange Requirements. It uses the IFC schema classifications and properties. It is used to describe Level of Information Need. IDSxml is being developed by buildingSMART along with software vendors like Plannerly. One example of implementation is transferring a BIM specification from Plannerly’s Scope module to another model checking software like Solibri.

21) DPoW

What does DPoW stand for?

DPoW stands for Digital Plan of Work.

What is a Digital Plan of Work?

A Digital Plan of Work is a digital plan that outlines a project team’s tasks, roles, and responsibilities. The DPoW should ensure that all team members are on the same page and know when they are required to deliver their work.

22) PLQ

What does PLQ stand for?

PLQ stands for Plain Language Questions.

What are Plain Language Questions concerning BIM?

Plain Language Questions are questions that can be answered without technical jargon. PLQs are used to help non-technical team members understand a complex BIM concept and provide more valuable input to resources like the EIR (Exchange Information Requirements).

23) ISO 19650

ISO 19650 Training
ISO 19650 Training

What does ISO 19650 stand for?

ISO 19650 is the International Organization for Standardization’s standard for information management in construction.

The title of the standard is “Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM) — Information management using building information modelling”.

What is ISO 19650?

The ISO 19650 standard is a collection of information management standards that define the concepts and principles and processes that should be followed throughout the design and construction workflow.

Learn more about ISO 19650 here

24) OIR

What does OIR stand for?

OIR stands for Organizational Information Requirements.

What are Organizational Information Requirements?

Organizational Information Requirements explain the information required by an organization in order to fulfill its strategic business goals. OIRs contribute to Project Information Requirements (PIR) and help encapsulate the Asset Information Requirements (AIR). They can then be managed in tools like Plannerly and used to create a data model for information exchange between companies and software systems.

25) PIR

What does PIR stand for?

PIR stands for Project Information Requirements.

What are Project Information Requirements?

The Project Information Requirements are the client’s documented critical information needs for a specific project’s life cycle. This is data that a project team must gather and store to complete a task. Project Information Requirements assist in developing Exchange Information Requirements, which specify what information must be transmitted, when, and by whom on the project.

26) AIR

What does AIR stand for?

AIR stands for Asset Information Requirements.

What are Asset Information Requirements?

Asset Information Requirements (AIR) specify the managerial, commercial, and technical aspects that must be considered about an asset in order to manage it effectively. AIRs should be defined in response to trigger events during building operations. Information about an asset’s location, condition, and performance could be relevant. The data collected should help solve the challenges experienced when operating a building.

27) EIR

What does EIR stand for?

EIR stands for Exchange Information Requirements.

What are Exchange Information Requirements?

The Exchange Information Requirements provide a comprehensive description of the project’s managerial, commercial and technical aspects regarding the production of information on the project. EIR can provide conditions surrounding which data should be exchanged between firms and at what stage. The EIR forms part of the tender process and will be followed by a supplier response including a Pre-Appointment BIM Execution Plan (BEP).

28) Pre/Post BEP

What is a Pre/Post Contract/Appointment BEP?

A BIM Execution Plan, as introduced above, can be both a response to the client’s (Appointing Party) EIR and part of the final appointment/contract documents.

Pre-Contract / Pre-Appointment BEP

A Pre-Contract BEP is a BIM Execution Plan that is created before a contract has been awarded. It is used to assess a contractor’s ability to deliver a project using BIM.

Post-Contract BEP / Post-Appointment BEP

A Post-Contract BEP is a BIM Execution Plan created as the contract is awarded. It outlines the clear responsibilities of the project team and sets expectations for how BIM will be used throughout the project. Teams use tools like Plannerly to keep the BEP document both contracted and live.

29) TIDP

What does TIDP stand for?

TIDP stands for Task Information Delivery Plan.

What is a Task Information Delivery Plan?

A Task Information Delivery Plan is a document that sets out what information will be delivered by the task teams throughout the project. The TIDP establishes the tasks, format, date, and responsible team. The TIDP provides a clear line of responsibility for information delivery and sets expectations for all team members. It is used in conjunction with the BIM Execution Plan in a tool like Plannerly.

30) MIDP

What does MIDP stand for?

MIDP stands for Master Information Delivery Plan.

What is a Master Information Delivery Plan?

The TIDPs are organized into a Master Information Delivery Plan, which is the sum of all TIDPs. It’s the project’s central list of all work to be completed by each team. The MIDP is the primary plan for managing communication during project execution.

31) PIM

What does PIM stand for?

PIM stands for Project Information Model.

What is a Project Information Model?

The Project Information Model (PIM) is a collection of all project teams’ BIM models. It must be stored on the CDE and provide a long-term archive for any future audits.

32) AIM

What does AIM stand for?

AIM stands for Asset Information Model.

What is an Asset Information Model?

The Asset Information Model (AIM) contains all the elements and information required to manage an asset over its lifetime. The AIM includes data on the asset’s location, condition, and performance. It will be used to generate work orders for maintenance and repair, as well as to plan for replacement or upgrade of assets.

33) IDM

What does IDM stand for?

IDM stands for Information Delivery Manual.

What is an Information Delivery Manual?

An Information Delivery Manual (IDM) is a document that explains how different parts of a project will share information with each other. The IDM includes templates, workflows, and definitions of terms. Having an IDM makes sure everyone understands how the information will be exchanged and what the rules are.

34) GUID

What does GUID stand for?

GUID stands for Globally Unique IDentifier.

What is a Globally Unique IDentifier?

A Globally Unique IDentifier (GUID) is a number used to identify an object. GUIDs are used in software to uniquely identify objects, such as database records or files. GUIDs are typically 16 bytes long and represented as 32 hexadecimal digits. A GUID example might look something like this: 79d91gse-4rr7-5293-f89d-24332g73h3kp-0101rq0n

35) HVAC

What does HVAC stand for?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

What are Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is a system that controls the temperature, humidity, and air quality in a space. HVAC systems are used in both residential and commercial buildings. The three main components of an HVAC system are the furnace, air conditioner, and ventilation system.

36) MEP

What does MEP stand for?

MEP stands for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing.

What are Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing?

MEP is a term used to describe the three main systems in a building: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. These systems are responsible for heating, cooling, lighting, water supply, and waste removal. MEP work is typically done by specialized contractors and is one of the most essential parts of clash detection during BIM coordination workflows.

37) IPD

What does IPD stand for?

IPD stands for Integrated Project Delivery.

What is Integrated Project Delivery?

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a method that uses a team of experts to work together on all aspects of a project. IPD teams typically include the owner, architect, engineer, and contractor. This delivery method improves communication and collaboration between all parties involved in a project.

38) LOA

What does LOA stand for?

LOA stands for Level of Accuracy.

What is Level of Accuracy?

The Level of Accuracy (LOA) is a measured or represented accuracy. For BIM, it is a measure of how well a model matches the actual building. The LOA is expressed as a number scale from LOA 10 to LOA 50. An LOA 10 means that the BIM model is within 100mm or 5″ whereas an LOA 50 means that the BIM model is within 1mm or 1/16th of an inch. The higher the LOA, the more accurate the BIM model.

39) LOD

What does LOD stand for?

LOD stands for Level Of Detail/Development/Definition – yes, Level of Development, Level of Detail, and Level of Definition! Three answers! 😖

What is Level of Detail/Development/Definition?

Commonly, LOD is a numbered scale used to describe the amount of detail in a BIM model. In the USA, the scale goes from LOD 100 to LOD 500.

There is a lot of controversy around the use of LOD as its definitions can vary in each country. Generally, the higher the number, the more detailed the model.

For example, an LOD 200 element might just show the overall shape of a door, while an LOD 400 element would show all the small details, such as door handles, panels, hinges, and details required to fabricate the door.

40) LOG

What does LOG stand for?

LOG stands for Level of Geometry.

What is Level of Geometry?

Level of Geometry (LOG) is also a scale that focuses on the amount of geometric detail in a BIM model. There are many versions of LOG, so be careful to specify/clarify exactly what the requirements are!

41) LOI

What does LOI stand for?

LOI stands for Level of Information.

What is Level of Information?

The Level of Information (LOI) scale measures how much non-geometric data is in a BIM model. This data can include material properties, thermal properties, weight, etc. Using a single LOI number to specify a long list of requirements can be confusing because some requirements might not actually be needed. It is usually better to define the actual requirements more clearly using the Level of Information Need framework.

42) LOIN

What does LOIN stand for?

The standard forbids abbreviating this term, but many people still do it.

So to help you out when you hear LOIN in reference to BIM (and not your Sunday dinner 🥩), LOIN refers to the Level of Information Need.

What is Level of Information Need?

Level of Information Need (LOIN) is a framework to help define the amount and types of data required for a particular purpose. The requirements are defined by 1) Geometry, 2) Information, and 3) Documentation. The Plannerly scope module provides the exact framework required to follow the Level of Information Need principles.

43) MPS

What does MPS stand for?

MPS stands for Model Progression Specification.

What is Model Progression Specification?

A Model Progression Specification (MPS) defines how a BIM model should be developed over time. It is usually expressed as a series of milestones, each with its own Level of Detail/Development/Definition. For example, an MPS might state that the model should be at LOD 200 by the end of the design phase, LOD 300 by the end of construction documents, and LOD 400 by the end of construction.

44) AR

AR Example from City Front
AR Example from City Front

What does AR stand for?

AR stands for Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images on the real world. It is often used for training and maintenance purposes, such as overlaying BIM models with instructions on top of a real object.

45) MR

Mixed Reality Example from Trimble Hololens
Mixed Reality Example from Trimble Hololens

What does MR stand for?

MR stands for Mixed Reality.

What is Mixed Reality?

Mixed reality (MR) is a technology that combines the best of both worlds: it superimposes computer-generated images on the real world but also allows interaction between the two. For example, you could use MR to overlay a BIM model on top of a construction site and then use your hands to move objects around in the model.

46) VR

What does VR stand for?

VR stands for Virtual Reality.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment that looks and feels like the real world. It is often used for entertainment purposes, such as video games and movies. However, it can also be used for training, such as simulating a construction site before work begins.

47) RFP

What does RFP stand for?

RFP stands for Request For Proposal.

What is a Request For Proposal?

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document that companies use to solicit bids from potential suppliers. It usually includes a detailed description of the project, as well as the company’s requirements for price, quality, and delivery.

48) RFI

What does RFI stand for?

RFI stands for Request For Information.

What is Request For Information?

A Request for Information (RFI) is a document used to request more information from an owner, architect, or engineer. It is often used during the design phase to clarify the requirements of a project.

49) RVT

What does RVT stand for?

RVT stands for the Revit file extension.

What is Revit?

Revit is a software program for building information modeling (BIM). It was developed by Autodesk and is used by architects, engineers, and construction professionals to design, plan, and construct buildings.

50) VDC

What does VDC stand for?

VDC stands for Virtual Design and Construction.

What is Virtual Design and Construction?

Virtual design and construction (VDC) is the use of BIM to plan, design, and construct buildings. It allows architects, engineers, and contractors to work together in a virtual environment to plan projects, identify potential problems, and find solutions.


So there you have it: my top 50 BIM acronyms!

Now you know what they all mean, so you can impress your friends and colleagues with your expert BIM knowledge 🧠

These are just a few of the most common BIM acronyms you’ll encounter when reading about or working with BIM. Do you have any favorite BIM acronyms that I didn’t include?

Did you find my post helpful enough to bookmark 📘 and maybe share with others? 😍


I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.

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