Are Classification Codes Necessary for Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

A growing trend in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Owner-Operated (AECO) industry are classification codes, which are becoming a core feature and reference point in BIM, or Building Information Modeling. Why? Their proven benefits, which range from fewer errors to improved cost predictability. That’s why classification codes are becoming necessary for BIM, especially with the introduction of the United Kingdom’s official classification system, Uniclass 2015.

What Are BIM Classification Codes?

The idea behind BIM classification codes is simple — to provide every business party with a universal reference or standardized system for what an object is and what that object does, and make that global reference readable by people, machines and computers. The result is a system that streamlines the design process for a structure in a virtual environment by eliminating confusion over design elements and their role.

How Do BIM Classification Codes Benefit the Industry?

Because of their potential value, more than 50 percent of infrastructure projects use BIM classification codes, which offer the following advantages:

  • Decreased errors: A significant issue when developing and constructing a structure are errors, which can lead to higher project costs and delays. These can be human- or computer-related errors, though estimates by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) place most of the blame on computers, citing more than $15 billion in additional costs due to them. Through BIM, as well as a set of classifications, however, users have seen a noticeable decrease in the number of mistakes.
  • Improved cost predictability: Another challenge solved by BIM classification codes is cost predictability. It’s not uncommon for parties to underestimate the price of a project, as well as exceed its budget, due to design errors discovered during construction. With an established system of classification codes, more than 20 percent of infrastructure project members noticed an improvement in cost predictability.
  • Optimized scheduling: By lowering the number of errors and increasing understanding, many projects experience a boost in their construction schedule. This improvement can lead to several benefits, including the structure becoming available sooner, which can influence how fast investors receive a return on their investment.

What Is the Future of Building Information Modeling Classifications?

Looking to the future of BIM, it’s clear that BIM classifications are here to stay. Their weakness, however, is the lack of a universal classification system, which would unify all business parties, from the architects to the facility owners, by recommending a global paradigm for defining and categorizing items for international endeavors.

Movements by the U.K. with Uniclass 2015, as well as the National BIM Standard (NBIMS), emphasize that in the future, Building Information Modeling classifications will:

  • Deliver a secure resource for reviewing and analyzing a project’s intention and requirements, both before and after construction.
  • Provide a transparent overview and detailed analysis of a structure’s features and needs across language and cultural barriers.
  • Offer a comprehensive look at a facility’s design before construction and make any necessary modifications.
  • Produce a compilation of 3D images, performance tables and visual diagrams to educate parties and ensure understanding before construction.

As a result, we can expect an optimized design and construction process that’s more productive with BIM classifications.

Trust BuildingPoint SouthEast for BIM

At BuildingPoint SouthEast, we offer several solutions and services that eliminate the all-too-common gap between design and construction teams. Our BIM and Virtual Design Construction (VDC) services provide complete support for the BIM spectrum, helping your team lead a successful design for all project types, from educational and healthcare to industrial and residential.

Learn more about our BIM and VDC services by contacting us today.

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