The fields of construction, architecture, and engineering are constantly improving due to advances in technology, tools, or techniques, and building information modeling, or “BIM” is one of today’s most promising new techniques. In today’s blog we’ll be discussing how BIM can affect more specific areas of these industries, with a focus on plumbing. Interested in learning more? Visit Smarcon’s BIM News page to see other articles!

Before examining how BIM can be an asset to plumbers, let’s define what building information modeling is: BIM can be simply explained as a process used during construction that uses a three-dimensional model shared by all workers that changes in real-time. This simultaneous collaboration is what makes BIM so revolutionary. All the information that is entered into that shared model is collected in a database, so accessing and changing that information is much more efficient. So how can these changes improve the workflow of plumbers?


Three-dimensional models have long been the standard in construction, but 3D models created using BIM techniques are a significant step up from a traditional 3D model. A three-dimensional model made with BIM is naturally more useful because every tradesperson and person involved in the construction of the building is inputting their information into the same model. This allows plumbers to more accurately understand what the final structure may look like, and can help them route pipes without issue. This model also makes it simple for plumbers to view the model from an isometric perspective. The customization options offered by software commonly used in BIM models make it simple for plumbers to differentiate pipes by assigning them colors to clearly see the different lines for water, waste lines, medical gas pipes, and other common pipes.


Models made using BIM have a much higher capacity for information than non-BIM models. This density of information makes it possible to clearly label or color pipes and add parameters to each pipe like gallon-per-minute flow. This has an obvious effect on the efficiency and visibility of this important information but it also smooths out any possible code compliance issues. For example, the two most common codes used are the Uniform Plumbing Code and the International Plumbing Code, which generally have different classifications for the same equipment. With a BIM model, a plumber can label each element with parameters that fit both the UPC and IPC that can easily be filtered for ease of use.

To see how BIM has improved Smarcon’s constructions, visit our Projects page, or contact us today to discuss how we can help improve your project.