Building Information Modeling (BIM)

  BIM model of the Faculty Building of Civil Engineering at RWTH Aachen University Copyright: © gia

BIM model of the Faculty Building for Civil Engineering at RWTH Aachen University


Building Information Modelling (BIM) describes a novel method of digital construction that will become the defining process of construction planning and execution in the future. The goal of BIM is the holistic digital modelling of all properties of a structure, which is applied by all involved actors and disciplines throughout the entire life cycle to support the construction processes. The universal application of BIM results in a kind of digital building database that enables collaborative planning between the trades, but can also sustainably support the completion and operation of the building.

In addition to the structural properties of a building, the technical, functional and commercial aspects are also mapped by BIM, with the aim of integrating all relevant construction processes. The basis of this integrated digital building information modelling is provided by digital, component-oriented three-dimensional models.


The gia's research work relates to the further development of the BIM approach and the underlying semantic models as well as the application of BIM.

BIM is currently understood primarily as a central method for the digital planning of a building. For new planning, the object instances are formed by selecting from the component libraries and adding the specific descriptive (possibly using enumerator sets), relational and geometric information. In many cases, however, existing buildings are also the subject of planning ("building in the existing fabric") and must therefore first be recorded for the application of BIM ("as-built documentation"). The recording is primarily carried out using surveying-based measurement methods. These include, on the one hand, the single-point-based methods of electronic manual surveying and tacheometry and, on the other hand, areal data acquisition using photogrammetry and/or laser scanning.

A current research topic at gia is the optimised acquisition and modelling of geometry and semantics of existing buildings for BIM. The decisive factor in data acquisition for BIM is that the measurement methodology used is

  1. is specifically adapted to the purpose and the data model,
  2. the measured values can be transferred directly into the model geometry of the BIM with a high degree of automation, and
  3. as much semantic information as possible is captured.

Further information on the use of surveying methods for BIM modelling, but also for other purposes, can be found in the research area 3D building recording.

  BIM and Mixed Reality with smartphone Copyright: © gia BIM and Mixed Reality

Another field of research is the usability of BIM models for augmenting the real world. BIM models and other information are geo-referenced and superimposed on real image data from mobile devices (for example smartphones). The overlaying of reality by virtual models allows, for example, the visualisation of elements hidden by walls, such as pipelines or power lines, the positional insertion of additional, descriptive information on visible or hidden building elements or the insertion of planned BIM-modelled buildings on site as an overlay on the landscape background. Further information on this can be found in the Mixed Reality research area.


As part of the master's thesis "Mobile Augmented Reality in Construction - Investigating the Potential of Mobile BIM-based AR Systems in Construction", a mobile BIM-enabled application was developed based on Google Project Tango.

  BIM and smartphone-supported indoor positioning Copyright: © RWTH Aachen BIM and smartphone-supported indoor positioning (main building of RWTH Aachen University)

Closely related to this is the use of BIM in smartphone-supported indoor positioning, in other words the automatic localisation of people or objects within buildings or built-up areas. The position is determined in relation to or in the reference system of the building, which must be available in a georeferenced digital building model. The internal building structure contained in the BIM building model is also used as one of several possible additional supporting information. Further information can be found under the research area smartphone positioning.