Ten Noteworthy BIM Questions Answered: from “Is BIM a software?” to “How to start using ISO 19650?”

In this Q&A discussion Wilson Ong (from the British Standards Institute) answers some important information management related questions – ranging from “What does BIM stand for?” to “Is BIM a software?” and from “Why use ISO 19650?” to “How to get started with ISO 19650?”

Watch the complete ???? recording ???? of this fascinating conversation...

1. Building Information “Modeling” or “Management”?

BIM is commonly known as Building Information Modelling – so why do some call it Building Information Management?

Wilson shares that the correct definition for BIM is actually Building Information Modelling; however, the use of the specific word “modeling” can sometimes cause BIM to seem restricted to JUST 3D modeling – this is far from the truth and tends to cause confusion.

BIM is so much more than a 3D model – teams use BIM to manage vast amounts of important project information.

A holistic approach is vital as teams explore so much more than just 3D geometry. 

Wilson says that it’s essential to focus on the words “information management”.

ISO 19650 helps teams to focus even more on the Information Management function to manage processes and continuous improvement – many teams now even refer to BIM as “Better Information Management”.

Watch this 2-minute 33-second video to understand more about what BIM is!:

You can learn more about Building Information Modeling and Information Management on the BSI site

Also read more about BIM in this fun blog post: How To Explain BIM To Your Grandma ???? 

What Is BIM?

2. What Are The Post Pandemic BIM Benefits?

What are the benefits of BIM in helping the construction industry to recover during or after the pandemic and how have these been affected by the pandemic?

We saw that the pandemic forced us to speak without face-to-face meetings and written signatures and instead communicate more digitally and use eSignature.

Teams shared fewer hard copies of documents ???? and more digital ????

Many found that digital is just a better way of working as you can automate more processes for information management and trace all cross-company actions. 

One good thing about the pandemic is that it has expedited digital adoption – using a common platform – such as a CDE (Common Data Environment) – to share and collaborate has become essential.  

3. Is BIM A Software?

No, BIM is not a software.

At a stretch, you could say that “BIM” does not even require software to be “BIM“.

Teams can “model” and “manage” information about buildings without BIM and using completely nondigital/analog methods.

However, you wouldn’t catch many people trying to push that argument very far ????

The truth is that close to 100% of the time. BIM software will be used as part of the BIM workflow.

However, you can also not “do BIM” simply by owning BIM software.

BIM Software, like Revit or Archicad, are BIM authoring tools – used to create 3D models.

BIM analysis and use tools are like Solibri and Revizto are used to view and review 3D models.

There is also a tool to simplify BIM planning and management too – that’s called Plannerly (The BIM Management Platform)! ????

Watch this video to hear more about what BIM is from That BIM Girl:

So we now know that BIM is a process that requires people to create, share, track, control and manage both geometrical and alpha-numerical information.

This mostly occurs with BIM tools however BIM is much more than just software!

So Wilson reminds us that it is important to remember that there is a distinct difference between a BIM software tool and a BIM process! 

4. Why Is There Still Some Resistance To Implement BIM?

Implementing any technology can require lots of resources, usually new and usually more costly.

When implementing something new, businesses need to see a return on their investment.

Sadly if there is not an instant return, the implementation starts to become a challenge.

Sometimes this can result in resistance to the BIM implementation.

Wilson says that most implementers fail to understand the bigger picture of BIM, and some organizations simply build a 3D model but claim that it is a complete BIM implementation – as a result, they do not see the total Return On Investment (ROI).

Many teams also fail to collaborate, remain working in silos, and create duplication of information in 2D, contradicting the 3D information.

The result is waste – NOT the higher efficiencies and cost savings anticipated.

This then translates into resistance.

So how do we overcome this resistance to BIM?

National BIM policies are essential – for example, the UK mandates BIM on UK government projects.

Unfortunately, most countries are not yet demanding BIM.

However, this will change as more governments realize the benefits of BIM.

5. Why ISO 19650 – Why Should We Implement The ISO 19650 Standard?

Miscommunication is the cause of the most waste and rework in the design and construction industry. 

To combat this waste we have seen lots of BIM standards and guidelines to help with alignment and to improve communication.

That said, none have been as complete as the “ISO 19650 series” (watch videos here).

With the adoption of ISO 19650 in multiple countries (at a government level) and support from key BIM leadership groups, ISO 19650 is becoming the global BIM standard.

ISO 19650 is the first truly unified approach to information management which is now being implemented around the world.

ISO 19650 provides a common framework to create efficiencies and standardization in terminology across all asset classes. 

To reinforce the importance of ISO 19650 in the USA the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) is combining forces with the Center for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to adapt the UK program and materials (with the excellent work from the UK BIM Alliance!) as a guide to developing a U.S. national roadmap aligned with the international standard for ISO 19650. 

Read more about this US+UK ISO 19650 collaboration here.

6. How do we get started with ISO 19650?

For teams starting their journey towards adopting ISO 19650, we recommend these steps:

  1. Purchase the ISO 19650 standard
  2. Seek help from a knowledgeable BIM consultant
  3. Start some online BIM management training
  4. Study the ISO 19650 Appointment process
  5. Use the ISO 19650 Templates (for OIR, PIR, AIR, EIR, BEP, and more)

7. Is BIM just for big government projects?

Most BIM case studies indeed focus on megaprojects, but that doesn’t mean that BIM is just for big government projects.

If you are starting to use BIM, it’s also just not sensible to jump straight into multi-billion dollar projects to test BIM.

We recommend that teams select a small or medium-sized BIM pilot project to test new BIM processes and methods.

Then taking the lessons learned and slowly scaling up. 

So no – BIM is not just for megaprojects, and our advice is to start small first.

In this video clip Clive shares an example of a small surface water chamber project that showed huge ROI using BIM – watch it here: BIM benefits for small projects

Conclusion: BIM is for any project size.

8. What tools Are Used To Implement ISO 19650?

With many processes and parties that need to communicate and agree on requirements, information flow can sometimes become a challenge.

Traditional tools like word processing software and spreadsheets can be used to create PDFs with multiple email responses, manual tender comparison, and paper signatures – but this is so 1990 ????  

If teams are searching for a file in an email, how do you know you have the latest information?

Managing ISO 19650 requirements, contracts, and verification in a single dedicated platform like Plannerly reduces the administration burden, improves efficiency, and reduces errors – we think that’s a great idea ????

9. How Can We Achieve better BIM practice?

Sometimes teams focus too much on the 3D modeling aspect – it looks great but we need to also understand much more.

From how to name the information containers to, to status codes, to combining the tools, people, local/national policies and international standards – this will all help promote improved ways of working in AEC.

ISO 19650 can help teams define clear agreements but we must start with a very clear purpose.

Teams must consider what the owner really cares about in order to run their business better.

Having a clear purpose before starting to create models will help prevent the creation of a lot of content that has no customer.

Remember, if you don’t have a customer for your work you are not really doing any work.

These better BIM practices will help to prevent huge amounts of time wasted.

10. Where can we get training for ISO 19650?

There are many things to learn about ISO 19650

Resources to learn ISO 19650 – universities 

Professional training from BSI – neutral course about concepts and principles about interpreting the ISO 19650 standards.

BSI qualification program – BIM project information practitioner – professional – then certified professional

Showing evidence

Start with the ISO 19650 templates in the Plannerly platform.

The templates immediately provide you the framework to get started rapidly and in compliance with ISO 19650.

BSI recommends using ISO 19650 templates inside Plannerly

Use the free ISO 19650 templates



BIM is all about better information management and ISO 19650 provides an opportunity for massive industry standardization and efficiency.

ISO 19650 is a very strategic framework that helps the Appointing Party to define their requirements in the OIR, PIR, AIR and summary of these as EIR (Exchange Information Requirements).

We can provide great opportunities but you should start by beginning with the end in mind – ISO 19650 helps us define requirements around a purpose.

What does the client want as an end result – Green/LEED certification/Net Zero/Open on time/lowest cost/highest quality?

We must remember that BIM is not just for big projects

It is important to work together – we have a common platform to help create these agreements and follow ISO 19650 to ensure that the requirements are clearly defined, contracted, managed and verified. 

Just chat with us if you would like to learn more!

The discussion also included many links to ISO 19650 Resources, Webinars, and BIM Best Practices!

Here are some of those:

???? US and UK ISO 19650 / BIM collaboration ????

???? Seven useful ISO 19650 resources ????

???? The ISO 19650 Webinar Series (recordings) ????

New BIM Management videos, templates and tips are added to this BIM BLOG WEEKLY!

???? bookmark the BIM BLOG page now! 

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