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BIM is described as the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle. Typically it uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction. The process produces the Building Information Model (BIM), which encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of components.
One theory claims that Professor Charles M. Eastman at Georgia Institute of Technology coined the term. This theory is based on a view that the term Building Information Model is basically the same as Building Product Model, which Professor Eastman has used extensively in his book and papers since the late 1970s. ('Product model' means 'data model' or 'information model' in engineering.)
Nevertheless, it is agreed upon that the term was popularized by Jerry Laiserin as a common name for a digital representation of the building process to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format. According to him and others, the first implementation of BIM was under the Virtual Building concept by Graphisoft's ARCHICAD, in its debut in 1982.
BIM is a process which goes far beyond switching to a new software. It requires changes to the definition of traditional architectural phases and more data sharing than most architects and engineers are used to. BIM is able to achieve such improvements by modeling representations of the actual parts and pieces being used to build a building. This is a substantial shift from the traditional computer aided drafting method of drawing with vector file based lines that combine to represent objects.
The American Institute of Architects has further defined BIM as "a model-based technology linked with a database of project information", and this reflects the general reliance on database technology as the foundation.
~ excerpts from wikipedia