BIM: The Importance of Communication

Master thesis by Maria Herroros, December 2016

Winner of Innovation Competition “Sprirekassen” by Bikubenfonden, Feb. 2017.


Building Information Modeling (BIM) methods started to be implemented in the Architectural Engineering Construction sector (AEC) in order to make the industry more efficient, innovative and with better quality on the project delivery, reducing costs.  BIM replaces the traditional way of communication, 2D drawings, by using 3D models, where all data is gather in one place and all parties of the project can access to it. However, the transition of work methodology is a slow implementation process due the use of new tools and the need of skilled people, while the industry is not completely prepared yet.  Communication, is essential when using BIM method to achieve good results, avoiding misunderstandings, hence, BIM is a collaborative sharing process.

During different stages of a building project, there are minimum requirements that must be accomplished in the deliveries. When talking about BIM, it is meant to the level of development (LOD) of building model elements and BIM model level. The LOD specifies how accurate the model element is, and what information should contain. This concept is still confusing for most of the departments, and needs a deeper comprehension in the beginning of every project, also when there is a collaboration with international colleagues, who use other country standards. These issues could be accomplished by using effective communication tools.

The objective of this thesis is to build a solution, which will improve BIM communication between project disciplines, helping to understand LOD´s among project stages and cross countries. The solution is built according to the company demands, Arup engineers, focusing on the Mechanical Electrical Plumbing (MEP) department that divided between Copenhagen and London office, and data exchange between them in a case study project.

The method is created through a development process, which is documented in this report. The process consists in a first evaluation of the company´s needs and improvements required in the MEP department. Based on findings, a tool is created to improve information exchange between engineers, speed up workflow and achieve requirements, requested to deliver in every project stage. The tool is called BIMapping.  BIMapping is created as a web-based page, hence, all information is digitized and gathered in one place.

BIMapping, is presented in the main page interface. This main page is a single entry to all knowledge included, and represents a mapping on the standardization levels. The main page is divided into three main sections, which guides the user through the whole project process and gives a deep information of LOD and BIM levels, required at every point of the project for building services.

The solution is reviewed and tested by BIM experts, who contribute with their feedbacks to the development of BIMapping and future studies.

The tool should not be seen as a final solution, but as a startup initiative which was welcomed and appreciated by BIM experts, as a good element to be implemented in BIM project process.


Building certification picture

Sustainable building certification – Renovation or demolition? – Charlotte Schou

Project name: Sustainable building certification:  Inspiration, definition and documentation for a decision process between renovation versus demolition.

Project student: Charlotte Schou

Project status: March – August 2013

Publication: Specialerapport_FINAL

Course type: Master project

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller, DTU Civil Engineering & Peter Weitzmann, Cowi

Summary: The aim of the project is to define a method for deciding between renovation or demolishing of existing buildings. To have a well-defined set of criteria to build the decision on, sustainability certification schema are applied and supplied with characteristics of renovation that is not included in the certification schema. The method will be applied on real world case. The goal is to develop an method that visualized the many different aspects of the decision topology for a building owner to decide on. Hence communication of a wide range of different data will be one objective.

Vision talk: Decision support based on visualization of complex data, the application of advanced modelling and simulation tools to generate necessary information for the decision process and application of open standards are aspects from the overall vision that are addressed in this work.

Next step: The tool must be generalized and probably transformed into a web-application or even a mobile app. (Have you got the skills, than let’s hear from you).

Interface picture from report

User friendly visualization of urban and building specific data – Lærke Philipsen & Mads Harding Møller

Project name: User friendly visualization of urban and building specific data

Project student: Lærke Philipsen & Mads Harding Møller

Publication: Brugervenlig visualisering af byplans- og bygningsspecifik data (Danish, educational)

Course type: Special project, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The idea of the project is basically to visualize complex data for decision making. Similar to the Google Map idea, you visualize e.g. energy data at any level of zoom. You can show data on maps (GIS) in 2D, zooming in still visualizing in 2D. When zooming even further, you will see the streets visualized in 3D with data represented on the relevant surfaces (e.g. solar energy potentials, potential for green roofs and much more). When zooming even further, you enter the building and get very detailed data visualization on surfaces but also on the plan sketch of the buildings.

The report gives a lot of pointers to ideas for visualizations. The result is a proof of concept in paper form (see report above).

Vision talk: Visualization is very important for supporting decision making. If we are to decide the changes that are demanded to reach a sustainable future, the decision making process involves very complex data that is easier to be understood, when communicated visually. Hence this project gives a first idea of what can be done.

Next step: To implement the solution in a digital prototype.

Copenhagen did it! See the report on the implementation by 3D bymodeller til screening for potentialet for solceller og grønne tage and look at it yourself at .

Google did it! See the Google Indoor “Maps” solution that has different names “Plan” “Indoor maps” …

The interest for further implementations of the ideas is broad. We are looking for students to follow up including BIM, GIS and other technologies, visualizations and app implementations.