A guide to understanding BIM standards: BIM Levels and Global BIM standards.

Level of development/ detailing
Hello, BIM enthusiasts! If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head at the mysterious acronym BIM or wondered what everyone is talking about when they mention BIM standards, then this blog post is for you! In this beginner’s guide, we’ll dive headfirst into the world of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and uncover the secrets behind those elusive BIM standards. No fancy jargon or complex technicalities here—just a down-to-earth explanation of what BIM is, why it’s so important, and how these standards play a crucial role in the construction industry. So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and let’s unravel the captivating world of BIM together!

Introduction to BIM and BIM Standards

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has revolutionized the construction industry by providing a digital representation of a building’s structural and functional elements throughout its design, construction, and operation phases. Its ability to facilitate collaboration, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs throughout a building’s entire lifecycle has made it an essential tool in modern construction projects. BIM is the future of building design and construction, and its use is only expected to grow in the coming years.

Throughout the entire building life cycle, BIM-Building Information Modeling enables architects, designers, engineers, BIM modelers, contractors, building developers, and other stakeholders to rely on a single source of truth. A construction project with effective BIM adoption has a coordinated planning, design, and construction process.

Importance of BIM Standards

In order to achieve global consistency and interoperability in BIM practices, the establishment of global BIM standards becomes imperative. These standards aim to create a unified framework that enables effective collaboration and exchange of data between different countries and businesses. By adhering to global BIM standards, professionals can ensure consistency and interoperability in their projects. These standards act as a common language for exchanging information, enabling teams from different organizations and countries to collaborate seamlessly. Following these standards, also, allows for the efficient exchange of data throughout the entire project lifecycle, promoting better coordination and reducing errors. Additionally, compliance with global BIM standards ensures that projects are future-proof and can easily integrate with emerging technologies and software solutions.

Why is it crucial for BIM professionals to know about BIM Standards?

It is essential for BIM professionals to have a comprehensive understanding of various subjects and BIM maturity levels to ensure accurate designs, smooth handover, and effective communication among teams.
BIM standards are crucial in the realm of Building Information Modeling, as they establish a structured framework for classifying information that is utilized to develop BIM models. BIM standards ensure consistent data management and facilitate effective decision-making throughout the project lifecycle. Additionally, these standards encompass the definition of various BIM Levels and LODs enabling practitioners to align their BIM practices with global standards and promote collaboration and interoperability across projects. Overall, BIM standards provide a coherent structure for classifying information, incorporating LOD, LOI, and BIM Levels, fostering standardization and efficiency in the global BIM landscape. Furthermore, the implementation of Global BIM Standards plays a crucial role in the effective coordination and seamless integration of various stakeholders involved in a project. By adhering to these standards, all parties ensure that they are utilizing a uniform system and data formats, guaranteeing compatibility between different models. This fosters enhanced collaboration among teams working on the same project, even if they are located in different parts of the world. Thanks to Global BIM Standards, organizations can transcend geographical boundaries and unlock the true potential of international teamwork in the realm of Building Information Modeling.

Global BIM standards:

There isn’t a single global standard for Building Information Modeling (BIM) that has been universally adopted by all countries and regions. However, there are several BIM standards and guidelines that are widely recognized and used internationally. These standards aim to promote consistent practices, interoperability, and effective collaboration in the construction and architecture industry. Here are some of the prominent ones:

ISO 19650 series

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed a series of standards, including ISO 19650-1 and ISO 19650-2, which provide guidelines for the organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works. These standards cover the entire lifecycle of a built asset, from inception to demolition.

COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange):

While not a complete standard like ISO, COBie is a format that’s often used to exchange facility management information between design and construction teams. It focuses on delivering a structured set of data and information that supports asset management.

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)

IFC is an open and neutral data format developed by buildingSMART, an international alliance of professionals in the construction and building industry. IFC facilitates the exchange of BIM data between different software applications and supports interoperability.

BIMForum LOD Specifications

Developed by the BIMForum, an organization within the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), these specifications define the levels of development (LOD) for BIM elements at different stages of a project. This framework provides guidance on how much detail and information should be included in a BIM model.

UK BIM Framework

The United Kingdom has been a pioneer in BIM implementation. The UK BIM Framework includes documents such as PAS 1192 series, which provides guidance on BIM workflows and information management processes.

Singapore BIM Guide

Singapore has a well-defined BIM e-submission guide that outlines requirements for BIM submissions for construction projects. It includes guidelines for LOD, BIM deliverables, and data exchange.

NBIMS-US (National BIM Standard-United States)

This standard, developed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), provides guidelines for information exchange, interoperability, and BIM best practices in the United States.

BIM LOD and other acronyms

The world of BIM is full of acronyms which sometimes may be difficult to realise……
LOD, LOI, LOMD, LOIN… what do they all stand for?

LOD: Level of Detail

With both graphical and non-graphical models available at each stage of the process, it combines the two.
The phrase “LOD”, which is popular in the USA, is entirely different from this.
There should never be any confusion between LOD and Level of Development in BIM.

LOI: Level of Information

Describes how non-graphic models are described at each stage.

LOMD (UK term): Level of Model Definition (also referred to as Level of Development within US texts)

It combines graphical “Level of Detail” with non-graphical “Level of Information.”

This concept is crucial when attempting to clear up the majority of AECO industry uncertainties.
Understanding what is truly required to produce, issue, and receive information on project progress from one stage to the next will be made easier by doing this.
As per PAS1192, LOMD = LOD + LOI

LOIN: Level of Information Need

ISO 19650-1 introduced the concept of Level of Information Need or LOIN.
This approach prioritizes the information needed for a design, rather than the object’s characteristics.

By adopting this method, one can avoid the mistake of producing and sharing an excessive quantity of irrelevant data, which is often useless.

The BIM industry has seen a recent update, with BS EN ISO 19650 taking over from PAS1192. This new standard has eliminated many of the connected buzzwords like LOMD, LOD, and LOI, in an effort to reduce the confusion brought on by so many acronyms. The term “Level of Information Need” has been introduced to replace them, aligning with ISO 19650’s goal of having a unified standard worldwide and directive to create “one world, one standard” for all BIM-related matters. Rumor has it that the European Committee for Standardization may provide further guidance on the Levels of Information needed.
Thus, it becomes evident that the implementation of BIM Standards is crucial in achieving a streamlined and efficient process of storing, searching, and sharing vital building information. With the right tools and protocols in place, BIM Standards enable users to navigate through various BIM levels with ease. By adhering to these global standards, construction professionals can maximize the potential of BIM and experience improved quality outcomes and cost savings over time. With BIM LOD, LOI, and other BIM levels properly integrated into the industry practices, stakeholders can confidently collaborate and make informed decisions at every stage of the project. Standardized guidelines that facilitate efficient collaboration and coordination among project participants. Ultimately, the adoption of BIM Standards paves the way for a more cohesive and efficient construction industry that can meet the evolving challenges of modern-day projects.
Thus, it is evident that global BIM standards play a crucial role in the development of consistent representations across the industry.


In conclusion, understanding BIM standards doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming. With this beginner’s guide, we have explored the basics of Building Information Modeling and demystified the concept of BIM standards. We have learned why BIM is essential in the construction industry and how these standards ensure seamless collaboration, improved efficiency, and greater productivity. So, whether you are a construction professional looking to stay updated with the latest industry practices or simply curious about the world of BIM, now you have a solid foundation to build upon. Embrace the possibilities that BIM offers, and let this newfound knowledge empower you in your future endeavors.
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