The concept of building information modeling has existed since the 1970s, although we certainly didn’t recognize it then. That’s when the first software tools developed for modeling buildings started to emerge. Those early applications and the computers needed to run them were expensive, so adoption wasn’t widespread.
BIM gradually evolved, though still far from what we recognize today as BIM, as software allowed things like time, cost, manufacturers’ details, and maintenance information to be included in the building model.
In the late 1980s computer-aided design programs emerged for personal computers and academics began citing the term ‘building model’ in papers. We believe the term ‘building information model’ appeared first in the early 1990s.
But it was another decade before the industry began refining and defining the term and building information modeling became a real concept. In 2002, Autodesk released a white paper called “Building Information Modeling” and that helped solidify the concept of a digital representation of the building process.
Of course, the last two decades have seen the concept refined and various technologies have helped it evolve far beyond what we ever imagined.
And now it’s time to look to the future of BIM as contributing writer Jonathan Ng does in our cover story. He argues we haven’t seen the best of BIM yet, and where we’re going is as impressive as where we’ve been.
Enjoy the issue.
– Jeff Thoreson