Published: September 25, 2023

How BIM Works in Construction


Building Information Modeling (BIM) has emerged as a transformative force in the construction industry, revolutionizing the way projects are conceived, designed, and executed. BIM's digital approach brings together cutting-edge technology and collaborative methodologies, empowering construction professionals to work smarter, faster, and with unparalleled precision.

This article provides an in-depth exploration of how BIM works in construction, unraveling the significance of BIM in the industry, understanding its key components, delving into the BIM lifecycle, and uncovering the benefits it offers to construction projects. We will also delve into the emerging trend of BIM outsourcing services, enabling construction companies to leverage specialized expertise to increase profitability and reduce risk. 

This is just one of a series of topics we are going to cover here at ICON-BIM read more in our Guide to Building Information Technology (BIM) for Project Managers. 


Importance of BIM in the Construction Industry

The implementation of BIM in the construction industry has brought about numerous benefits, including:

Improved Collaboration - BIM fosters a collaborative environment by allowing project stakeholders to work together in real-time, resulting in better decision-making and problem-solving. It is critical to have industry experts in the design, engineering, and installation work together. BIM is the avenue to achieve this before installation begins.

Enhanced Visualization - BIM provides constructible 3D models, which help project managers and stakeholders see intent versus feasibility and cost. Understanding the project's design and construction more effectively enables them to make better-informed decisions.

Cost and Time Savings - With BIM, errors and conflicts can be identified and resolved during the design stage, reducing the need for costly changes and delays during construction.

Increased Accuracy - BIM allows for more accurate measurements and material estimations, reducing waste and ensuring more efficient construction processes.

Better Facility Management - BIM models can be used for facility management purposes, providing valuable information for maintenance, renovation, and refurbishment activities throughout the building's lifecycle.


Key Components of BIM in Construction

BIM Software and Technology

There is a wide range of BIM software available to cater to different project requirements and industry-specific needs. Some of the more popular BIM software include Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD Fabrication, Navisworks, and Revizto. Each of these software solutions offers unique features and capabilities to help construction professionals create and manage their BIM models effectively. There are numerous add-ins for BIM Software. These add-ins are typically based on how BIM issues are tracked during coordination, how deliverables are created, and how pre-fabrication for MEP systems is run through your fab shop. There is a wide range of other BIM software available, but we are focusing on the software used most by MEP/F subcontractors in their BIM efforts.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Software

Selecting the appropriate BIM software for your project is crucial to ensure seamless collaboration, efficient workflows, and accurate project outcomes. When choosing BIM software, consider factors such as compatibility with other tools, ease of use, scalability, and support for industry-specific requirements. The software most used currently is Revit. The reason is it creates a collaborative environment between Architects, Engineers, and subcontractors. Subcontractors then use third-party add-ins to prefabricate their systems in their shop prior to installation. 


BIM Team Roles

A successful BIM project requires a well-structured team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Key BIM team roles include BIM manager, BIM coordinator, BIM modeler, and BIM detailer. Each of these roles has specific duties and skill sets to ensure the smooth execution of the BIM process.

The Importance of Having a Well-Structured BIM Team

A well-structured BIM team ensures that each team member contributes effectively to the project while minimizing communication gaps and redundancies. This results in a more efficient BIM process, leading to better project outcomes. 


BIM Processes and Workflows

BIM workflows are the processes and sequences of tasks that help construction professionals manage their projects using BIM. Common BIM workflows include design coordination, clash detection and resolution, quantity take-offs, 4D scheduling, and facility management.

The Value of Streamlined BIM Processes

Streamlined BIM processes help to reduce errors, improve collaboration, and minimize project risks, ultimately leading to more successful projects. One of the major outcomes of LOD 400 BIM modeling is prefabrication by subcontractors. It is far more efficient to be able to prefabricate systems prior to installation in the field. By optimizing BIM workflows, construction teams can make better-informed decisions, increase efficiency, and improve project outcomes. 


The BIM Lifecycle in Construction

The BIM lifecycle in construction is a digital process that spans the entire project journey. Generally, there are 5 stages seen in the process.

BIM Implementation and Planning

The BIM lifecycle begins with proper planning and implementation, which involves establishing project goals, assembling a skilled BIM team, and selecting the appropriate BIM software and technology. This stage is critical for setting the foundation for a successful BIM project. 

Design and Modeling

In a plan spec type of project, once contract documents are in place, the BIM process moves to the modeling stage. Here, architects, engineers, and other construction professionals work together to create detailed models of the building, incorporating various disciplines such as structural, MEP, and Fire Protection systems. These models serve as a comprehensive digital representation of the project, enabling better decision-making and improved design quality. Throughout this process, RFIs are written, design issues are solved, and cost savings are realized by solving problems before construction. This helps avoid the risk of schedule overruns and change orders from subcontractors based on systems being partially installed that are now in conflict with another trade, structure, or owner's design intent. The main purpose at this stage is constructability. During the design stage engineers and architects are looking at capturing owners' intent blended with the project budget, but the end result of the design may not be fully constructible. That's where BIM providers with field experience bring tremendous value. 

Coordination and Clash Detection

After the design and modeling phase, the BIM lifecycle advances to coordination and clash detection. In this stage, the various discipline-specific models are integrated into a single, federated model. Clash detection tools, typically AutoDesk Navisworks, produce reports of clashes between different building trades, structural, and architectural elements. This early identification of issues helps prevent costly rework during construction. Tracking issues generated from clash detection efforts isn't always a well-oiled machine. It has gotten better over the decades and there are various tools to help track and assign issues to specific members of the team. The best way to look at this effort is to have a well-defined plan on how issues are going to be delegated to the team and tracked through to completion. Without having a plan and tools in place to accomplish this goal, coordination balloons out of control, and the team ends up with a huge mess on their hands. ICON-BIM is more than willing to help define a clear path to success for your coordination efforts. Give us a call and we can talk about our experience. 

Construction and Fabrication

With a coordinated clash-free BIM model, the construction and fabrication phases can proceed more efficiently. BIM enables accurate quantity take-offs, streamlined procurement, and the use of prefabrication, which can reduce waste, save time, and improve overall project quality. BIM also supports 4D scheduling, which allows for better construction sequencing for project managers. This is where the rubber meets the road. Many times the steps prior to fab and install aren't seen as an asset, but more as a liability. Then when it comes to install the fab doesn't fit. This has given rise to the notion of BIM doesn't work and is not worth the time, money, or effort. If this was truly the case, the contractors who have experienced such large growth over the past few decades wouldn't be so heavily invested in BIM and Prefab. That's where getting a BIM Service Provider who understands the importance of these efforts helps when your current team reaches capacity. 

Facility Management and Operation

The BIM lifecycle extends beyond construction completion, as the BIM model serves as a valuable asset for facility management and operation. The model provides facility managers with a detailed understanding of the building's systems, helping them to efficiently manage maintenance, repairs, and renovations throughout the building's lifecycle. One great tool we have seen is the use of a QR code on the inside of a door jam. Facilities can then scan the QR code and be taken to that area in the model so they can see everything above the ceiling in that room. No need to get a ladder and pop ceiling tiles or open access doors to find a valve or VAV that needs service. Many people are unaware of this feature in Navis works, but it does exist and can be a great asset to owners. 


Benefits of BIM in Construction

The benefits of BIM in Construction are far-reaching. By integrating BIM into your construction process, you can see improvements in nearly every aspect of your project. Let’s look at some of the most common benefits.

Improved Collaboration and Communication

One of the most significant advantages of BIM is its ability to foster collaboration and improve communication among project stakeholders. BIM allows architects, engineers, contractors, and owners to work on a single, shared model, ensuring that everyone has access to the most up-to-date project information. This collaborative approach results in better coordination, fewer misunderstandings, and a smoother project workflow. For more insights on effective BIM team management.

Enhanced Visualization and Decision-Making

BIM's data-rich 3D models offer a superior visualization of the project compared to traditional 2D drawings. This enhanced visualization allows project managers and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions throughout the project lifecycle. With BIM, design options can be evaluated and analyzed in real-time, making it easier to optimize designs and identify potential issues before construction begins. This is particularly important when showing owners what the end result of construction will be. 

Reduced Errors and Rework

By facilitating the early detection and resolution of conflicts and errors during the design and coordination stages, BIM significantly reduces the likelihood of costly rework and delays during construction. This proactive approach to error management ensures a smoother construction process and a higher-quality end product. It is much more efficient to change things during coordination as opposed to during construction. 

Cost Savings and Sustainability

BIM's ability to optimize designs, streamline procurement, and enable prefabrication leads to tangible cost savings throughout the project lifecycle. Additionally, BIM supports sustainable construction practices by promoting energy-efficient designs and reducing waste. By minimizing material waste and maximizing resource efficiency, BIM projects often have a smaller environmental footprint compared to traditional construction methods.


BIM Outsourcing Services in Construction

BIM outsourcing services provide construction professionals with the expertise and resources needed to successfully implement BIM on their projects. These services can range from BIM consulting and project planning to modeling, coordination, and facility management. By partnering with a BIM service provider, construction teams can leverage specialized knowledge and skills to ensure the successful completion of their projects.

Reasons to Consider Outsourcing BIM Services

There are several reasons why a project manager at an MEP contractor might consider outsourcing BIM services:

Access to Expert Knowledge and Skills - BIM service providers possess a deep understanding of BIM processes, software, and best practices, ensuring that your project benefits from their expertise.

Scalability - Outsourcing BIM services allows construction teams to scale their BIM capabilities up or down as needed, without the need to hire and train additional in-house staff.

Cost Savings - Partnering with a BIM service provider can lead to cost savings by reducing the need for costly rework and delays while also optimizing designs for improved efficiency.

Increased Focus on Core Competencies - Outsourcing BIM services enables project managers to focus on their core competencies, such as managing resources and coordinating with other project stakeholders.



The advent of BIM has altered the construction industry, revolutionizing how projects are planned, designed, and executed. With BIM, project managers can confidently navigate the complexities of construction, leading to better project outcomes. BIM enables greater accuracy, faster timelines, improved collaboration, and sustainability, all contributing to cost savings and increased project profitability.


At the core of BIM's success are intelligent 3D models representing a building's entire lifecycle. These models facilitate data-driven decision-making and collaboration among all stakeholders. Adopting BIM principles and forming a cohesive BIM team enhances project efficiency and success.


For those seeking cost-effective solutions, outsourcing BIM services can be beneficial. Partnering with specialized BIM service providers offers access to expertise and helps focus on core tasks for successful project delivery.


In the dynamic construction industry, BIM serves as a guiding force towards progress. Embracing this technology ensures project managers stay at the forefront of innovation, driving efficiency and excellence. As construction evolves, BIM's transformative power will continue shaping a more efficient and sustainable industry. Let us collectively embrace BIM as a cornerstone of our vision for exemplary construction projects.


Looking for a BIM Service Provider for your Next Construction Project? - Look no further than ICON BIM

When it comes to harnessing the full potential of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology for your construction projects, choosing the right BIM service provider is paramount. At ICON BIM, we stand at the forefront of BIM innovation, offering a comprehensive suite of services tailored to meet your specific project needs.


Our team of skilled, field-experienced professionals brings centuries of experience and expertise in construction, BIM implementation, 3D modeling, clash detection, and seamless collaboration. With ICON BIM as your trusted partner, you can rest assured that your projects will be guided by precision, efficiency, and excellence. Take the next step towards elevating your construction endeavors to new heights of success. Contact ICON BIM today and experience the difference that our unrivaled expertise can make in transforming your vision into reality.


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