BIM is one of today’s big architectural buzz terms, like sustainability or infrastructure, so it’s worth defining it precisely before determining its uses and impact. One way is to define what it is not: BIM is not hand drawing, and BIM is not computer drafting (CAD). BIM is part of an evolution from drawing on paper to drafting on the computer (image below), but it breaks from those conventions where plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, and other 2- and 3-dimensionsion drawings were created through the articulation of lines.
BIM, as a Building Information Model (the distinction between Model and Modeling will be apparent soon) is a 3-dimensional digital representation of a building from which the plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, spreadsheets, and other output useful to the realization of a design are created. Or as Rubina R. Siddiqui of Nemetschek Vectorworks put it in her presentation: “BIM is a digital representation of a building that can be queried for information” (her emphasis). This ability arises from modeling with objects or systems (walls, doors, windows that “know” what they are and where they are in the model) rather than lines, and because these objects contain data.