Difference Between Digital Twin and BIM (With Table)

At a first sight, both things might sound similar at a first glance. Architecture is going through a huge transformation since the advent of computer systems. Advances in digital layout equipment, inter-connectedness, and laptop-controlled fabrication are converging to transform each phase of the layout and build manner. BIM is a young technology. There has been confusion in the long term that how does Digital Twin differentiates from BIM. BIM is prescriptive and Digital Twins are descriptive. In this article, key differences are highlighted between the Digital Twin and BIM.

Digital Twin vs BIM

The difference between Digital Twin and BIM is that Digital Twin focuses on the interaction of people with built environments whereas BIM is used for visualization in design and construction rather than operations and maintenance.

The Digital Twin is generally the representation of a building as digital data. Digital Twin gives detailed information about the current state of build subsystems. The next evolution of the Digital Twin will require people, processes, and behaviors as important data sources.  The applications of Digital Industry lies mostly in manufacturing industry. The examples are:

  1. Product Development
  2. Design Customisation
  3. Aerospace
  4. Automotive

BIM is the digital replica of design and construction. It makes easier for the team and the stakeholders to visualize how the building will look like. It shows the detail as per levels like Level 1 BIM, Level 2 BIM and many more. The examples which proves what BIM can do are:

  1. Crossrail
  2. Istanbul New Airport
  3. Baku National Stadium

Comparison Table Between Digital Twin and BIM

Parameters of ComparisonDigital TwinBIM
DefinitionDigital representation of a building with interaction of people.Digital view of Design and construction.
BenefitsPredicts potential failures and prevents serious accidents and damages.Project management and risk analysis
Simulation of operationsReal time operational responseNo real time synchronization
Prediction of dataPredicts data about weather forecast, energy demand, etc.No prediction can be made only accuracy and completeness can be understood.

What is Digital Twin? 

Digital Twin builds a digital representation of the building before the actual construction which generally helps the stakeholders to visualize the whole project and helps the team members to make better design decisions. This technology has proliferated with the rise of new technologies. This technology is also termed “Cyber-physical integration”. The digital twin is to gather data and uses physics simulations to create a live model which will be a replica of the real world. This can be used in many several ways from fault detection to maintenance planning. It provides one on one representation of a building in use, replacing assumption with definite values, and responds in real-time. This aims to provide the data in a more precise, effective, and smarter way.

The three main pillars of Digital Twin are:

  1. Physical Entity
  2. Digital Thread
  3. Virtual Model

Digital Twin is useful even after project completion for building modifications, operation, and facility maintenance. The beneficiaries of the digital twin are facility managers, architects, engineers, developers, builders, and owners.

This technology enables the team to visualize the real-time performance of the building which helps them to optimize the efficiency of the building. This technology saves a lot of time, costs, and expensive shutdowns. The data extracted is highly accurate for it to conduct clash detection, costing, and construction simulation.

What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling.  It was “Building Descriptive System” before it became BIM. This allows all the professionals to plan, design, and construct the structure of the building within one 3D model. BIM is to replicate the physical asset along with its properties as per the level of detail. BIM is a 3D model process that generates the design documentation for construction. This is generally used in the industry to elaborate the design options and to create visualizations that help the stakeholders to understand how the building will look like.

BIM objects that create BIM models have geometry and store data. If there are changes in BIM software then it updates the model to reflect the changes. BIM gathers all the information about each component of the building and makes it possible to access the information for any purpose. The process of BIM involves planning, designing, building and operating.  

B for Building

It refers to designing a building using one coherent system of computer models. BIM just does not refer to buildings but all sectors related to construction including roads, railways, bridges, etc.

I for Information

Information is the main element of BIM. It changes the information regarding the entire life cycle of a project.

M for Modelling

This process of construction is organized and controlled more effectively.

Main Differences Between Digital Twin and BIM

  1. BIM is used only for collaboration and visualization during design and construction rather than operations and maintenance.
  2. BIM is not used for creating a live model of an operational building but helps to create a collaborative design which focuses on physical and functional aspects of the building.
  3. BIM is not designed for real-time operational response.
  4. Digital Twin keeps updated about the current state of build subsystems.
  5. People, process and behaviors are important data sources for Digital Twin.  

Conclusion

BIM is the key data input required for any Digital Twin. The future of the construction industry resides in digitalization. In the future, Digital Twin will surely supersede BIM software even at the design and build phase of an asset’s life. Hardware, software, and cloud applications can hold infinite raw data and information. BIM will become even more advanced in the future. As we keep on building things with people and flexibility in mind, the BIM has to undergo evolution in terms of people’s behavior and space design that accommodates their wellness. We are not shaping the device however we need to take care that it forms the towns we stay in.

References 

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-GjrBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP7&dq=BIM&ots=PgjKgZ9iop&sig=C_b_57uj05DfVvie4iML-RyOoGs
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8477101/
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