BIM – Building Information Modelling

BIM – Building Information Modelling 

BIM is a direct result of the integration of digital transformation in the construction industry to support the complexity and scale of today’s projects. In some countries such as the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, the use of BIM has become mandatory in the construction of public buildings.  Let’s explore the Building Information Modelling, and its practical uses as AluK navigates projects involving BIM.


What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, so it appears as a 3D digital representation of a physical structure while carrying all the physical and functional information as files or data.  The BIM is an assembly of files which can be extracted, exchanged or socialized electronically.  The construction industry, as well as AluK, is utilizing BIM more and more.

How do we use it? 

In some markets where required, AluK has been working with BIM for several years now. Each entry of the BIM is a data file with height, width, depth, material, and product name but also time, cost and as-built operation.  This information will be used throughout the construction process and facilitate the exchange and overall transparency of the project. It will stay with the structure until the end. Architects can print the model with a 3D printer to visualize the digital output while the asset owner will use the data in BIM for maintenance or repairs long after the construction process is complete.

BIM has not only contributed to lowering construction costs while reducing delivery time for the finished product, but also elicited many positive effects:Statis

It is now mandatory in the UK to utilize BIM on all public projects.  Accordingly, BIM was used for the construction of a school named Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth in South Wales, which benefited greatly due to the technical difficulty of the project. AluK was specified for Block 21 which includes the Design & Technology building, and AluK delivered the entire data linked to the project and its elements such as the curtain wall, window and door systems.

YSOL Photo

Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth, South Wales, click here

Using software such as Revit allows for early detection of issues, collaborative resolution of challenges, and most importantly, achievement of design as intended by the architect.  Chris Evans, Associate, Lawray Architects has commented: “To meet the BIM level 1 requirements stipulated in the client brief, AluK provided the relevant information which included 3D modelling, clash detection, COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) compliant data on the project and some intelligence in the model for key elements such as finishes and fittings.” 

Advantages to using BIM  

Theoretically speaking, using BIM is very efficient in terms of communication between parties involved in the construction of the project, transparency about the origin of the materials used, and accuracy in the development phases.  Today, in order to mitigate the impact of the digital transformation in the construction industry, architecture students are taught how to use BIM and manage their work through it. Each year, more schools are implementing the BIM education programs and associated software so graduating students are familiar with the requirements and ready to operate in this environment on their first day on the job.

Architects now have a tool that highlights their talents.  Today, thanks to BIM, an architect can show the design of a structure to a client via VR (virtual reality), share BIM with engineers anywhere in the world in real time, change the design as needed from anywhere, display the latest portable copy of the design and immediately check the specs. Answers to questions and immediate changes are readily accessible.  The architect’s model, structural engineer’s model and the mechanical and electrical model can all be integrated together to run clash detection and ensure these different disciplines interoperate at early stages.

In 2018, AluK was solicited for the Nando’s Restaurant in Swindon, United Kingdom.

BIM Nando's
BIM model using the Revit Software
Picture of Finished Structure

For example, in another project with a complex design for the flagship restaurant Nando’s, where the building was designed with complex and irregular angles and shapes, Jordan Kingman, Project Consultant from AluK shared, “With the complex curtain wall design of irregular angles, shapes and leaning out glazing, the BIM environment allowed AluK to work closely with Stride Treglown architects to develop a sustainable design that would meet their client’s requirements. The Revit software allowed all parties to collaborate better and understand complex geometry of the varying angles both in plan and on elevation.”

Manufacturers receiving BIM files with accurate information can assemble the exact needed pieces of the puzzle, promote modular prefabrication, and save time and failure costs to the installer. BIM projects are less risky and lead to increased profits on projects.

Installers or Contractors are seeing tremendous opportunity for efficiency.  First, BIM communicates data regarding individual and aggregate requirements.  Second, BIM considers all surrounding components and creates a methodology around the installation phase, leading to better time management and less material waste.  Third, BIM allows overlying temporary progress to be compared against the permanent design, thereby communicating the evolution of the project to the end user.

Asset Owners will benefit the most because, although they are not investing in BIM on the front end, they are still receiving all the data needed to maintain and repair the structure, as well as use the data analysis to make future decisions.

Hélène Roux, the CEO of AluK, recently commented, “I support the implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) within our organization.  Most of our business units are using it, enabling efficiencies and traceability in the lifecycle of the project.  In the conception phase, BIM allows architects to correctly choose and insert the right product. In the construction phase, the manufacturer knows the exact information of the piece to be fabricated correctly the first time.

Before BIM, renovations seemed to be challenging due to the highly fragmented nature of construction in general.  It made the integration of diverse information throughout the project life cycle difficult. BIM alleviates these issues and provides the information needed to renovate, repair and replace to the end user.”

To illustrate, AluK was one of the first UK manufacturers to provide and create a comprehensive selection of BIM objects. BIM components for our window, door and curtain walling systems are currently available from the BIMStore in both Revit and IFC formats.
BIM offering at

BIM adoption is transforming the construction industry in many ways.  In an information-driven world, it is only fitting to have a BIM storing intelligent data with information that can be passed along during the entire lifecycle of a project for a myriad of purposes.  The beauty of BIM is that it applies to both new and renovated construction. BIM modernizes the construction industry with less risk, more profits, traceability, efficiency and ultimately, less waste.  Why not embrace it?




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