BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a methodology that allows architects to create digital design simulations to manage all the information related to an architectural project.
While CAD creates two or 3-dimensional drawings, BIM incorporates 4-D and 5-D. This enables users to manage information intelligently throughout the project’s lifecycle.

What are the 4 stages of BIM? - Sheet1
BIM 3D Modelling_©Autodesk

BIM is aimed at architects who wish to offer their clients a better and more realistic presentation experience and are interested in accelerating and managing the building design and construction process much better. 

BIM is increasingly important in construction projects; it also makes it possible to optimize the time and resources allocated to these tasks. However, the implementation of this methodology takes on new challenges. To take full advantage of the wide range of improvements this system offers, we need to invest in the equipment and resources needed to sustain it. Fortunately, with the early adoption of exponentially growing BIM technologies worldwide, the benefits will become increasingly clear to the few non-believers who may still be there.

What are the 4 stages of BIM? - Sheet2
BIM File Formats_© Graphisoft Help Center

Four stages are:

1. Pre-design Phase

The preconception phase is the first step toward project completion and usually involves a number of long-term decisions. One of these decisions is whether or not the BIM should be utilized in the process. Right now, it’s sporadic for companies not to take the many benefits of BIM, but it’s always a choice nonetheless. The only exception to this rule is the territory of the UK which requires the use of BIM for any construction beyond the specific scope of the project. Furthermore, the schematic model of the project is also created at this stage and produced by the architect.
This model is then presented to the project manager, with a proper explanation of the various facilities, the expected costs and the materials concerned.

2. Design Phase

The design phase is one where other parts of BIM often start getting involved, such as programming and estimation (4D and 5D), and sometimes even more. Proper implementation of BIM models would greatly improve the outcomes of these efforts. This enables hourly estimates to be accurate and less prone to errors. Keeping in mind the planning process at the time of the creation of the BIM model, it would be much easier to make estimates to provide more accurate numbers and forecasts. The existence of information in the various parts of the BIM model makes it possible to carry out this process properly.

At the age of 2D drawings, it was a very arduous task to try to keep all possibilities and elements in mind when making estimates. BIM is capable of providing models and objects that are full of information about their real-life counterparts, making it much easier to complete both the estimate and the sequencing.

3. Construction phase

When the design process is complete, it is time to start the construction process. Assuming that you have estimating and scheduling calculated at the design phase. We should already have many items with long delivery times bought preventively and that your calendar is as close to reality as possible. At this stage, your work on the ground should have already started, with people working to prepare for the foundations to be laid, among other things.

At this point in construction, BIM can still be used in a number of ways to keep the process on track, if you will. Specific software such as Navisworks can be used in the field to ensure that the planned design is fully monitored. The construction manager and the site manager work with the design team to accomplish this.

At this point, it is also possible to perform construction simulations and anticipate some of the problems before they occur and disrupt the entire construction. In addition, simulations would help you make better estimates for the project as a whole, ensuring that you finish the project on time. And another advantage of using BIM throughout the life of the project is the possibility to update the owner with the actual gateways and renderings.

4. Operations and Maintenance

The high-level digital model constructed in the design phase can be taken as the foundation for the operation and maintenance phase as well. The best practice is to use the construction data from this model and rework it to integrate plant operations and maintenance.
The requirements and structure of each organization are different and the activities performed in these phases may differ according to their requirements.

The various phases of BIM implementation offer standard procedures, which can ensure a smooth transition towards BIM technology. However, the success of the implementation of BIM would depend to a large extent on the will and capacity of the current organization. As a result, it is recommended to define a step-by-step process and execute it diligently for successful implementation.

“BIM provides a strong link between two incredibly important phases of construction – the design and the construction itself. Therefore, efficiency has improved significantly, and there is still room for growth.”



Juhi Goyal is a budding architect as well as a passionate poet. She believes that as an architect, you should be courageous enough to find something you love. She is a curious learner with the aim to improve her design skills, to maintain her creative spirit. Apart from architecture, she is a poet and has a keen interest in the exploration of new places and people.