What do fluffy kittens and vile blog posts trashing software have in common?
In days past, those of us using ArchiCAD or Revit didn’t talk about BIM. We just worked in a superior way to the flatcadders and were happy about it. In fact ArchiCAD 1.0 was released in 1984 and Revit 1.0 came in 2000. The term BIM was only coined in 2002.
Building Information Modeling. Building Information Management.
Building Information Model Management.
Most BIMnerds now write BIM, but a few still want to see BIMM.
It seems like a big trend for us BIMnerds in 2012 has been the transition to saying just BIM instead of BIM model. My earliest awareness of using the acronym BIM without adding Model afterwards (when we’re referring to a file or model and not the overall process) was from Finith Jernigan’s awesome 2007 book BIG BIM, little bim. So this isn’t exactly new, but it is much more pronounced now. I blame social media. BIM experts Case, Inc. and their fluffy kitten explosion meme is a humorous example of this. I also added my support for this correction of terminology with a post on BIM Engine that starts off with a quick quiz. In general, I agree with the correct usage and have made an effort to speak and write correctly.
While we users have become enlightened to the ‘correct’ usage of the term BIM, the software companies making our programs seem less picky. Here’s an example of both Graphisoft and Autodesk using the kitten exploding phrasing. But it’s not just the people writing copy for our beloved software companies. Here a few more examples:
Want to argue about the BIM credentials of those last four links?
Why does BIM Model keep popping up? And why isn’t it as bad as people try to make it? Take a moment to read the Wikipedia entry on RAS syndrome. I’ll quote the critical point:
A limited amount of redundancy can improve (or seem to the speaker to improve) the effectiveness of communication. The pure-logic ideal of zero redundancy is seldom maintained in natural languages, because they have evolved some kinds of redundancy checks. A phonetic example of that principle is the need for spelling alphabets in radiotelephony. Some instances of RAS syndrome can be viewed as syntactic examples of the principle. The speaker wishes to gently reinforce the meaning of an acronym or initialism, especially in pedagogical contexts (whether formal or informal). In such cases, the redundancy may help the listener by providing context and decreasing the ‘alphabet-soup’ quality of the communication.
People outside our BIM world (anyone not using BIM daily, those interested in taking the plunge into ArchiCAD, Revit, etc.) don’t know the code of our secret BIM language. They may not realize that the M in BIM means Model. It’s not going to help our overall progress to berate people for this lack of knowledge. And remember it’s also people who know more about BIM than you or I that use the term as well. So the next time your blood starts boiling over the phrase BIM model, maybe you should think about petting a kitten instead of murdering it.