The theory of evolution. BIM 3D … 7D …

“The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.” Victor Hugo

How I found the idea for this article? Simple. I’ve never been closer to the idea of BIM in terms of 4D and 5D than today. In result, I decided to write about this issue a few words, and I hope that I can pass you my enthusiasm 😉

For the good start…

McKinsey [1] has identified 5D BIM as one of five trends that will change the future of the global construction industry. McKinsey says “Combining 5D BIM and augmented-reality devices will transform construction, maintenance, and operations. To get the full benefit of BIM technology, project owners and contractors need to incorporate its use right from the design stage, and all stakeholders need to adopt standardized design and data-reporting formats compatible with BIM. In addition, owners and contractors need to dedicate resources for BIM implementation and invest in capability building.”[2]

“5D BIM is an evolving segment in the construction industry, comprehending the customary three-dimensions of a BIM with schedule as the fourth dimension and cost estimates as the fifth dimension.(…) 5D-BIM approach offers an exceptional opening to unite practices in design, cost and construction approaches. On the other hand it should be noted that 5D BIM approaches call for a significant change in the way construction companies work…”[3]

Step by step… [4]

3D (…but what’s the matter?)

 “In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling (or three-dimensional modelling) is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of an object (either inanimate or living) via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation of physical phenomena. The model can also be physically created using 3D printing devices.” [5]

BIM is (in terms of basic) integrated 3D model containing data relevant to all participants of the investment process, including investors, designers, contractors, managers and owners of the objects. It provides almost unlimited possibilities in terms of presentation and analysis of the project for ex. identifying collisions or change management. As a rule, the use of 3D models: improves the ability for the project presentation, significantly improves the communication between the participants of the investment process, reduces the amount of work (eg. In case of assuming revisions in the project or analysis and reduction of conflicts).






4D (… how much time it will take?)


„4D BIM  refers to the intelligent linking of individual 3D CAD components or assemblies with time- or schedule-related information. The use of the term 4D is intended to refer to the fourth dimension: 4D = 3D + schedule. The construction of the 4D models enables the various participants of the construction process (designers, contractors, investors)  to visualize the entire duration of a series of events and display the progress of construction activities through the lifetime of the project. This BIM-centric approach towards project management technique has a very high potential to improve the project management and delivery of construction project, of any size or complexity.” [6]

The use of BIM 4D allows you for the better control over the implementation of the investment process, among others: thanks to the ability to detect conflicts before proceeding to execute the task, efficient managing change and risk, or to support communication between the participants of the whole process. Schedule, as a rule is fully compatible with the 3D model.



5D (… How can we save our money?)

BIM 5D is nothing else as 3D model + schedule + cost estimation. BIM 5D allows individual participants of the investment process to plan their schedule of works in close relation to the object model – taking into account the conditions of the execution process  (eg. Imposed by the agreement, like date for start and finish the work, division into phases of the execution and the weather conditions like winter brake) and also the costs associated with its implementation. 5D gives you the possibility for preparing a detailed analysis of the costs , creating and analysing different scenarios of the process and also assessment of the assumptions before proceeding to execute the task (ie. Still at the design stage)


6D (… cold / heat)

6D BIM facilitates the implementation of energy analysis for buildings. Use 6D allows for more accurate and comprehensive energy analysis of the building already at an early stage of the design process. It also allows you to measure and verify the data on the stage of use of the building in such areas as real energy demand for the building. What do we gain? Based on the simulation model created on the basis of collected data we raise the relevance and quality of the projects, which translates into reduced power consumption.


7D (… When we have to do a review of the equipment?)

BIM 7D is used by managers in process of the object management on the stage of its operation. 7D allows participants of the process to extract and store data assets, such as .: the state of the object / component, technical specifications, required maintenance schedule and technical reviews, manuals or applicable warranty period. Such an approach to the facility management process not only improves the whole process, but also improves the quality of services in this area.



“The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.” Victor Hugo


To the point!

The last nine years of my professional life I spent working in a general contractor team, of which 80% in the sales department, as a person responsible for developing budgets for big contracts. Daily struggles of my whole team, including my own, made me realize that it is time for changes – not only for me but for all of us. As the person responsible for the final closing the budgets I spent many hours on carrying out my work in a way that today seems to be prehistoric. Even if we managed to win with:

  • Documentation from the Client, where was missing more than 40% of the data
  • Discrepancies between design drawings (structure, architecture and installations)
  • Bill of quantities (BOQ) which we had to send back to verify – all over the time
  • Changes, changes, changes like a never-ending story
  • All documents created based on different tools

…  and even in case of achieving success at the end of the tender stage , after  the decision to implement the project we had to start our adventure with the project again. I could work in this way for indefinitely, but that is not in my nature – I decided to change it.

Please, do not get me wrong, it’s not that we did it incorrect. We have put in our job our hearts, time and 150% of commitment, probably just like you, but let’s face it is helpful to use the new and GOOD! ideas (tools / technologies) for the project benefits but also for ourselves..

Do not be afraid of NEW.


[1] McKinsey & Company to wiodąca, globalna firma doradztwa strategicznego i operacyjnego