5 BIM Use Cases In Planning Phase 

The AEC industry has slowly begun implementing BIM publicly. However, many private organisations have also begun deploying BIM at each construction phase due to its many advantages. This includes using it in the pre-construction planning phase, which is vital for determining the total costs of a project and making sure that there is consensus across all stakeholders before construction proceeds.

Accordingly, BIM assists project teams with communication, cost estimation, clash detection, viewing the project model and object details. Ultimately, it supports building variants throughout the planning phase to project completion. 

Below are the 5 most common BIM use cases in the planning phase that help build the foundation for success.

Worker of AEC for BIM use cases

1. BIM Coordination

BIM coordination is the most common among BIM use cases and it refers to multiple stakeholders contributing to the building model in the construction planning phase and beyond. 

This includes architects designing a 3D model and sub-contractors adding costs and time estimates for materials, installations and labour. Engineers and BIM coordinators can also generate reports and run analyses and input them into the project model.

Furthermore, BIM coordination entails sending project updates to stakeholders involved in the project. This can range from announcing a change in shift schedules for builders to plan updates and delays. 

Consistent communication saves time and helps projects run more smoothly. It enables project transparency so everyone knows what is going on at all times, which helps teams avoid any potential clashes or problems.

Additionally, BIM allows stakeholders to create an interdisciplinary model which has several benefits. 

Firstly, the project team can decide on model verification rules and implement them in one place. Accordingly, they can ensure that all software used for modelling is compatible with IFC export in the interdisciplinary model. 

Secondly, bimspot allows its users to upload their models in a common environment. Here they can test compatibility and errors. This vastly improves the planning phase. 

By using BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) from bimspot’s Requirement Fulfillment, project coordinators can send out specific tasks to team members. This ensures everyone knows what they are responsible for and what they should be working on. 

2. Collision Detection

Clash or collision detection refers to automated checks that can identify clashes during the construction planning phase. 

Generally, there are three kinds of clashes on a construction project: 

  • Hard clash refers to when two objects overlap 
  • Soft clash refers to proximity tolerances between geometric objects (e.g. a parking bay may be too close to a water feature) 
  • Workflow clashes include clashes with working schedules and equipment procurement. (Contractors can manually identify clashes, but it requires comparing documents. This takes time and can lead to errors). 

Collision Detection allows stakeholders to set specific rules for objects in the model. It can notify users when objects overlap so that planners can resolve any issues before building begins. 

Lastly, bimspot allows its users to perform Quality Checks and Model Checks with custom rulesets. This way, planners can check all systems instantly to ensure there are no errors or clashes. As a result, plans are more accurate, resulting in higher model quality. 


People working on a computer for BIM use cases

3. Cost Estimation & Calculation

Another BIM use case during the planning phase includes cost estimation and calculation. 

This is invaluable seeing as construction projects employ subcontractors, procure costly equipment, and have a set-out budget.

BIM cost estimation can give reliable, highly accurate estimates on materials and labour quantities. This is because the model provides a visual representation of the scope of the quantities needed for the project. 

Furthermore, BIM cost estimation can provide accurate quantity take-offs throughout the various phases of construction. 

When adding costs to the interdisciplinary 4D model, stakeholders can quickly generate quantity costs to assist in decision making. 

Moreover, 4D BIM models can generate cost estimation reports for project owners and allow them to make informed decisions about material purchases within their budgets.  

4. Visualization As A BIM Use Case

3D visualization in BIM has many benefits for all project stakeholders and is maybe the most known of BIM use cases. 

Architects can create a digital 3D model that they can adjust and improve during the planning phase. 

Engineers can add specific variables to the model to avoid any design conflicts before construction.

Further, project investors can have access to a real-time 3D model of the completed project. This allows them to have a full visual representation of their investment and do virtual walkthroughs. 

Accordingly, it can help stakeholders get a comprehensive idea of what the completed project will look like. In turn, they can adjust areas they aren’t satisfied with or find alternative materials or solutions to help save costs if necessary. 

Having a 3D model also improves communication between project team members. They can easily share the model with subcontractors and give them an overview of the work. 

Additionally, if the BIM coordinator adds time to the model (4D BIM), they can update the project team on the project’s progress via the 4D model. 

Investors can also view the progress remotely.

Lastly, bimspot has a viewer where users can visualize the 3D model and check the project’s details and see more information about objects. 

5. Building Variants

In the planning phase of a construction project, multiple stakeholders create design variants that attempt to meet the project’s requirements. As a result, each stakeholder can help to solve problems in the design with their expertise. 

This leads to multiple variants of the project. To reach an agreement on the progress of the project, stakeholders use the Level of Development (LOD). They assess each variant according to its maturity towards project completion using LOD.

BIM can enhance these processes with the IFC format. Here stakeholders can work in a common environment but still track their own building variants using the 4D model and BIM tools.

To illustrate, bimspot offers its users the ability to create KPIs for each variant in the project. This means that stakeholders can track which variants perform the best and find the best solution. 

Supervisor and worker on a building field for BIM use cases

Conclusions about BIM Use Cases

The planning phase in construction presents many BIM use cases. 

It allows AEC experts to create a visual 3D model of the project. With this model, they can utilise automated clash detection and add time as a variable (4D). This means that coordinators can submit work requests directly on the model and stakeholders can make cost estimations using Quantity Take-offs.

BIM also enhances coordination among the project team members. They can receive updates and also determine which building variants respond best. 

Ultimately, using BIM in the planning phase enhances accuracy and coordination while eliminating any avoidable errors and clashes. As such, it can contribute heavily to project success.