BIM and Architecture Terminology

BIM and Architecture Terminology

BIM and Architecture Terminology

Marketing to architects is difficult if you don’t understand their language. You may not even know what BIM is. We’re here to help. Here are some architecture and BIM terms essential to learning the craft: 

3-Part Specification

A formatting guide produced by Construction Specifications Institute that manufacturers can follow when writing specification documents. This guide comes in three parts: Part 1 – General, Part 2 – Products, and Part 3 – Execution. It helps manufacturers write quality specifications that clearly communicate the use of their products to all involved in the construction process.

AEC: Architecture, engineering and construction.

AIM: Asset information model 

A BIM model used for managing and maintaining a structure or space once construction is finished. The AIM contains all the necessary information for operating a structure or space once it’s completed.

BIM: Building information modeling 

The process of creating and using digital models of structures and spaces, usually in 3D, for architectural projects. With the BIM process, architects and other stakeholders like engineers and contractors can simultaneously access the same data for a design.

BIM Coordination (Clash Detection)

The collaboration between project team members to use the BIM model to detect conflicts in the project (e.g. a structural issue).

BIM Levels 

The amount of collaboration taking place between stakeholders in an architectural project.

BIM Objects

The components of a BIM model such as materials and products. Each BIM object has geometry and data that lets designers see how it will interact with the real world. For example, an architect can place a 3D bicycle rack (the BIM object) into their BIM model and see how the object’s size and function work with the overall structure.

BOM: Bill of Materials

A document that lists the components needed for a project.

BOQ: Bill of Quantities 

A document that lists the amount of supplies and the labor required for a project.

CDE: Common data environment 

A central location for team members to share and store information about the architectural/construction project.

Clash Rendition 

The process of creating a native BIM model that specifically detects clashes between the different BIMs made for a project.

COBie: Construction Operations Building Information Exchange 

A standard that helps streamline the process of transferring building information from the architect and construction team to the building owner. The owner uses this information to manage the building.    


A system or project in which the architect and construction teams operate under the same firm or contract.

LOD: Level of Detail 

The amount of detail and information included in a BIM model. The LOD makes the requirements of a project clear for everyone involved. There are six levels of detail as of 2021.  

MEP: Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing 

Also known as building services engineering. 


A software program that facilitates the BIM process.

Schematic design 

A basic, rough sketch or model of an architectural project. The schematic design comes early in the architectural process and only includes basic features like HVAC systems and interior/exterior finishes.

Structural engineering 

The practice of designing the shape and structure of buildings and other projects. Structural engineers design the skeleton of a structure and ensure it’s sturdy enough to withstand elements like weather and weight.


A method in which the government regulates building development and how builders can use areas of land. For example, zoning can prevent factories from operating in residential areas.

Understanding BIM terms is essential for marketing to architects

By understanding these BIM terms, you can apply better marketing to serve your architect prospects. By speaking in language architects understand, you can increase traffic to your product pages and increase architect leads.

For a complete explanation of architecture for non-architects, read our guide: What does an architect do?

How to Increase Sales by Providing BIM Objects

Learn how leading manufacturers increase sales by providing BIM objects directly to customers.

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Kelly Obbie

Social Media Coordinator at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A 2018 graduate of The Media School at Indiana University, Kelly studied journalism, public relations, English and Spanish and has experience in news writing and editing as well as social media writing and management. She also has professional and personal experience in videography and photography. She currently lives in Ohio but has lived in four states, and in her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, learning languages, and watching Disney movies.