BIM for everyone

In this article, we will focus on a simpler explanation of BIM. I discuss how to simplify BIM to make it a popular tool used by private investors, small architectural firms, or large corporations. I emphasize the weaknesses in understanding BIM and cite the example of the Virtual Construction Site as another way of interpreting BIM.

This post was written by BIM Corner’s Guest Author, Magdalena Niemiec.

Table of contents

How is BIM perceived by society?

Have you ever wondered how to explain to a family member what BIM is? How can our loved ones understand what we are dealing with? Or maybe the topic of BIM is so extensive that it’s hard to grasp it with imagination? Although professionals know this methodology perfectly, it’s worth looking at how BIM is perceived by external people.

“What do you think BIM means?” – In a survey conducted among friends and acquaintances from the construction industry, answers ranged from spinning a 3D model, to Revit (among architects), checking collisions, and even “digital twins”. A small portion of the respondents indicated automation and data. The results showed that although the concepts revolve around the main goal of BIM, they are not always precisely defined. The answers prompted me to reflect on how society perceives BIM and why it is so hard to visualize the concept of BIM.

From an architect’s point of view, I often try to reach the client visually. Through sketches, visualizations, or animations, I wonder how to explain a thought or an abstract concept in the simplest way possible. I strive to create something tangible, real, or something that has form, volume in people’s minds.

In the article “Everything You Should Know About Basics of BIM Technology” by Konrad Fugas – BIM Corner Expert, you will find out what BIM is in precise terms. Among other things, BIM consists of many elements and has three expansions: Building Information Modeling, Building Information Model, or Building Information Management. The triple meaning, additionally linked with the abstract concept of “information”, discourages the recipient right from the start. The lack of specifics and quick association with the final goal means that we are not interested in the topic, and consequently, we do not delve into it.

Benefits of simplifying BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an advanced method of designing and managing information in construction, offering numerous benefits. However, its complexity often poses a challenge to those outside the industry. Simplifying and widely applying BIM brings significant benefits:

  1. Enhanced Project Understanding: Simplified BIM helps investors, building owners, and end-users better understand building plans and visualizations. This aids in precise construction monitoring and streamlines communication and decision-making between the investor, architect, and construction manager.
  2. Facilitated Collaboration: The simplified form of BIM fosters better collaboration among all parties involved in the construction process, including architects, engineers, contractors, and clients. This increases understanding and transparency of the process, leading to time savings, minimization of errors, and associated costs.
  3. Improved Decision-Making Process: Thanks to simplified BIM, clients and users can participate more actively in the decision-making process, leading to more thoughtful decisions and greater satisfaction with the final product.
  4. Accessibility for Small Firms and Projects: Simplifying BIM makes this technology more accessible to smaller firms and projects that do not have the resources to handle more complex BIM systems.
  5. Education and Engagement: Simplifying BIM contributes to educating the public about modern technologies in construction, increasing awareness about sustainable building and energy efficiency.
  6. Improved Safety and Efficiency: Simplified BIM supports better planning and management of construction, leading to increased safety and efficiency on the construction site.

This all leads to time savings, minimization of construction costs, fuller pockets for investors, and their satisfaction!

Real-Life Example:
Often, the substantial benefits of BIM are overlooked.
An Investor built a guesthouse with 12 rooms. On the plans, everything fit without any problem. However, only during construction, after pouring the foundations, it was discovered that there was a measurement error and, in reality, there wasn’t enough space for 2 rooms on each floor. As a result, instead of 6 double rooms, only 3 were built, leading to significant losses in annual profits. The question is: How much would you give to avoid a simple human error that greatly impacts the market value of the property?

Another example is a situation where the plan shows that a sofa and dining table fit comfortably, but after moving in, it becomes apparent that such an arrangement is not feasible. How important is the space you are planning to finance for 20 years and live in?

The final question: How much health, additional stress, and money have construction defects cost you, such as incorrect dimensioning or delays due to industry collisions?

Let’s also remember that construction projects can take years, and simplifying the definition of BIM is key to increasing its understanding and acceptance in society. Instead of focusing on complex technical aspects, BIM can be explained as a virtual construction site that combines all information about the project. In the end, we obtain a digital twin, but this concept alone does not define the entire BIM process. It’s like creating an interactive model that evolves with every change in the project and serves as a central source of information for all interested parties. Thanks to BIM, processes of planning, designing, construction, and property management become more integrated, efficient, and easier to understand for everyone involved. In this way, BIM is no longer seen as a complicated technology available only to experts, but becomes a useful tool supporting the entire life cycle of the building and the span of the construction.

BIM Manager and the association game as an example

In the picture next to this, four exemplary professions have been presented, each assigned a function and a goal. It’s easy to visualize what a doctor, a judge, an architect, and a programmer do, and what goal we aim to achieve by using their services. These are popular professions, so the association comes very quickly. The same will happen when we try to associate other professions we encounter daily or those that are public trust professions. However, with a BIM Manager or BIM Coordinator, there is a problem due to the multitasking nature of these roles. If we ask ourselves what a BIM manager does, the answer might be: “manages information in a 3D model.” So, what is the purpose of such management? It is certainly not just spinning a 3D model or merely informing about changes. Since it’s difficult to describe and explain this, it’s also challenging to make a private client interested in such a service.

The purpose of BIM: the virtual construction site

So, how should one describe BIM to someone who is hearing this term for the first time? My suggestion is as follows: BIM is not just the final model or “digital twin”, i.e., a virtual copy of your construction object, but a process that extends over time. Its purpose is to transfer the construction process to the virtual world, reducing the stress and costs associated with the real construction site, and ultimately obtaining a model that can be used in the operation of the building.

Virtual vs real construction site

In general, BIM is a methodology that manages the construction investment process and combines many different departments and issues, such as: guidelines, rules, standards, implementation plan (BEP), PSPG, data, parameters, information, technology – software and systems supporting professionals from various engineering departments.

The following table shows the relationship between the real and virtual construction sites:


First and foremost, people! Professionals always have a significant impact on the quality of a given service. On the construction site, the construction manager directs the work, while on the virtual construction site, the management of all 3D models is carried out at the level of the BIM team: BIM Manager or BIM Coordinator – depending on the company and duties. A similar analogy can be drawn between the construction team and 3D Experts – engineers who model 3D models in their industry.

Both the virtual and real construction sites require the involvement of highly specialized people: BIM Managers, coordinators, and engineers on the virtual construction site, and construction managers, architects, and construction crews on the real construction site. All these professionals must have analytical abilities, teamwork skills, and project management capability to ensure that all aspects of construction are appropriately planned and executed.

Virtual Construction Site (BIM):

  • BIM Managers and Coordinators
  • Data analysis and simulation specialists
  • Designers and engineers using BIM software

Real Construction Site:

  • Construction managers
  • Civil engineers
  • Construction workers, equipment operators


The virtual construction site follows BIM, BEP, and PSPG norms, while the real construction site adheres to construction standards and safety and assembly instructions. Both environments are regulated by a set of guidelines and standards that ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of processes.

Virtual Construction Site (BIM):

  • 3D modeling standards
  • Data exchange protocols
  • Guidelines for simulation and analysis

Real Construction Site:

  • Occupational safety and hygiene standards
  • Construction regulations and local regulations
  • Quality standards and execution control


The virtual construction site uses 3D modeling and coordination software, as well as powerful computers, while the real construction site uses project documentation, construction logs, and construction machinery, such as cranes. Both virtual technologies and physical equipment are used to optimize construction processes and increase their efficiency.

Virtual Construction Site (BIM):

  • BIM software (e.g., Revit, AutoCAD)
  • Simulation and analysis tools
  • Data management and collaboration platforms

Real Construction Site:

  • Construction devices and machinery
  • Measuring and control tools
  • Communication technologies (radio stations, phones)

Data, Parameters, Information

The virtual construction site relies on forecasted schedules, automation, materials, and estimated costs, while the real construction site focuses on the sequence of works, smart home technology, materials, and actual costs.
In both cases, information is key to tracking project progress, managing costs, and optimizing material usage. Data precision affects the quality and timeliness of project execution. In both construction environments, virtual and real, managing complex projects using specialized skills and technologies is crucial. Although the tools and approaches may differ, the ultimate goals remain the same: to build safe, durable, and functional structures in an efficient and economical way.

Virtual Construction Site (BIM):

  • Digital 3D models of construction objects and installations
  • Energy and structural simulations
  • Data on materials, costs, schedules

Real Construction Site:

  • Actual dimensions and placement of structural elements
  • Progress reports
  • Technical and execution documentation

Features and benefits of the virtual construction site:

Management – Managed by the BIM Manager, who coordinates the modeling of information about the building object and integrates various aspects of the project.

  • Ensuring data consistency and optimizing design processes.
  • Better coordination between different teams and more efficient planning.

Planning and Simulation – Use of advanced tools for simulation and 3D modeling.

  • Ability to perform accurate simulations and analyze the impact of various factors on the project.
  • Better understanding of the project before starting work, which can reduce the risk of errors and costs.

Information Management – Digital information management, integration of data in the BIM model.

  • Centralization and easy access to current project data.
  • Increased efficiency in communication and reduction of errors caused by outdated data.

Technology Implementation – Intensive use of digital technology and software.

  • Ability to analyze multiple scenarios and optimize the project.
  • Innovation and efficiency in planning, potential reduction of costs, and implementation time.


The article “New Year, New Easy BIM – For Everyone!” represents our next step in popularizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) among various groups: from private investors, through small architectural firms, to large corporations. We have attempted to simplify and visualize the concept of BIM to make it more understandable to a wider audience, including those outside the industry. We focus on education and simplicity of communication to make BIM a widely accepted and used tool in the construction industry and beyond.

That’s why we propose a different interpretation of BIM: as a “Virtual Construction Site”, which is a more pictorial representation of this methodology. In this way, BIM ceases to be a complex set of technologies available only to specialists and becomes a useful tool supporting the entire lifecycle of a building.

In conclusion, the virtual construction site, represented by BIM, focuses on the use of digital technologies for modeling, analysis, and planning. It provides accurate simulations and models that can be used to optimize the project and the construction process. We emphasize that BIM integrates guidelines, rules, standards, and various engineering departments, which is crucial for managing the construction investment process. On the other hand, the real construction site focuses on the physical realization of the project, requiring direct supervision, physical labor, and compliance with safety regulations and construction standards. Although these two spheres are different, they are complementary and together create a comprehensive construction process.

Magdalena Niemiec
Magdalena NiemiecAuthor of the article
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Magdalena Niemiec is an architect who graduated from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice and completed postgraduate studies in BIM at AGH in Krakow. She works at Fluor S.A. in Gliwice as an architect in the "Advanced Technologies and Life Sciences" industry. For several years, she has been intensively creating, automating, and coordinating projects in Revit and Navisworks programs. In her career, she also had a two-year episode as a Graphic Designer, where she was involved in 3D modeling, programming, and animations for virtual reality using the Unreal Engine program.

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After reading this guide you will learn:

  • How BIM is used on the biggest projects in Norway
  • What were the challenges for the design team and how were they solved
  • What were the challenges on the construction site and what was our approach to them

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