When researching your options for Building Information Modeling, or BIM, you may find yourself puzzled by what seems like a dictionary’s worth of technical jargon and acronyms. It’s understandable to be confused by these, as many are specific not only to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries but are specific to BIM strategy. In today’s blog, we’ll be giving an introduction to a few of the words we consider the most important to understanding BIM construction.


The first concept that should be understood when considering BIM is “BIM levels”. BIM levels are a way to categorize the different levels of BIM compliance that a given project may be operating under. These levels are labeled simple, from zero to three. At level 0, a project has no BIM integration. A level 0 project uses only 2D computer-aided design (CAD) drafting, with little collaboration and all communication done personally or with paper. At BIM level 1, a project combines 3D CAD and 2D drafting techniques to increase efficiency. Each contractor and stakeholder uses their own documents but shares them with a common data environment. At level 2, these aspects are intensified to increase the accuracy of communication and improve collaboration. At level 3, all data is available on one BIM platform for all stakeholders to access.

Another aspect of BIM that is separated using numbers is the dimensions that BIM operates in. The most common of these are 3D, 4D, and 5D, but some projects can require up to 7 dimensions of BIM visualization. 3D will be familiar to most people, as it is simply a three dimensional model of the intended project. Adding a timeline to this model adds another dimension, leading to a 4D model. These often include scheduling information and estimated durations of each step. Cost is the next most commonly used dimension. 5D building information modeling overlays the estimated budget for the project onto the model, allowing for more accurate cost projection and analysis. Visit our Blog page to see more about the dimensions of BIM.


BIM coordination is a broader term that reflects the general concept of Clash Detection within a BIM project. BIM coordination allows for all contractors and stakeholders to cooperate throughout the timeline of the project. From the beginning of the project, this allows for better analysis of where each aspect will intersect and may clash. Detecting these clashes before they become a larger problem is crucial for saving money and time.

RAG reports and RACI indicators are two abbreviated phrases that can be confusing at first glance, but are simple once broken down. RAG stands for Red, Amber, Green, and indicates the current status of an element in a construction project. Red means that the labeled element has not begun or does not meet requirements. Amber indicates that an element does not meet requirements but has been assigned a plan. Green indicates that the element has been completed or meets requirements.

RACI indicators are just as simple once described plainly. The letters indicate the status of stakeholders of a project in the following manner:

  • R is for those Responsible for the project.
  • A is a person or people whose approval is needed to Authorize.
  • C means a person who can Contribute to a project.
  • I indicates people who must be kept Informed about the project.

Interested in seeing what BIM and Smarcon can do for your construction project? Visit our Projects page to see our accomplishments, and contact Smarcon today to learn more.