Is Too Much Information Killing Your BIM Strategy?

BIM is an ideal platform for manufacturers to keep the data clean. While there has been a substantial focus in the building construction sector on the necessity for BIM integration from supply chain delivery partners, the designers are equally dependent on product manufacturers to be BIM Level 2 compliant.
Two things extremely vital for manufacturers are, providing the right kind and level of information for input into BIM models and providing the BIM object (product) in a compatible 3D image file for easy incorporation into the visualization. It’s also necessary to see to it that these two utmost important requirements align completely; enabling the concerned designers/ consultants to give their inputs required about the shape, dimension, materials etc.
However, this doesn’t always happen in reality. Manufacturers tend to overdo the content. Of all the crimes they can commit, over detailing is the deadliest sin. The usual notion is that manufacturers want their content to look “real”. Now, to bring the aesthetic part of the product they put all sorts of the information thinking this will help the product look as it is. And since a lot of time and resources are invested in these, it’s the last thing a designer would want to remove from the model. But the real problem lies in figuring out how relevant is this content and why doesn’t is always work in favor of manufactures.

Content is often more on work of Art

Manufacturers invest a lot for the products to be modelled; but eventually dump them in the library with a ray of hope that it might create some additional value or demand. Alas, this doesn’t work. A manufacturer needs to understand from the designer’s/specifier’s perspective as well. For instance, you are working on a commercial building project; your goal should be to model visible elements only, instead of going in too much detailing of the steel members. What happens is, the more information you pile up the more your file size increases. And God forbid, if you have multiple products in the same building, and you end up doing it to every of your product, imagine the additional load you will be generating. It will make BIM unmanageable and a designer might just skip a beat.

Your Dream may be someone’s  Nightmare

Being a manufacturer, you would obviously want your content to be loaded with all specs, since it’s your baby, and you know it, in and out. But, quite often it’s just an ornament for design purpose, barely needed. That said, it might not be needed in design and may certainly not be needed even at handover. The overview of high geometric and data details must be well thought-out , early on projects as there are risks for its insertion, as it may not be valuable, or be excessive to authenticate and in some cases will be absolutely useless.

So, your BIM modeler may end up choosing a generic content over your over-spiced content, as they anyway don’t benefit; whether  they specify yours or not. Remember, it’s also a hindrance if you and the designers are not on the same page when it comes to making your content available on all platforms.

How do you make your way out of this?
Make sure your products depict the real-world product. It should be standardized against IFC and COBie sets and later be worked on. Understanding industry is quite a help. Industry asks for consistency & standards between generic objects and the ones provided by manufacturers. Monitor how your customer can use the means to find the required needs. Linking your object to important sources can come handy anytime. Your object might not contain all the data construction professional needs, so it’s advisable to link it to catalogues, manuals and other such literature. Instead of presenting all the features in the geometry, additional details can be comprised in the product data (not geometry) or linked to an external location (e.g. a data sheet on a website/cloud) that can provide greater amount of information. This will minimize the file size as well.


Understand that BIM content is not ‘technical data’ as you assumed it beforehand. The problem is that most manufacturers fail to understand BIM and the way their content is used in the BIM process. For manufacturers it is vital to understand the need of existing client, than the whole market. Your client may lead you to know and understand the market in a better way. BIM is a wonderful opportunity for manufacturers to establish themselves more strongly, provided used as an intellect tool.