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What is the Difference Between Building Information Modeling (BIM) vs Digital Twins


A Digital Twin of a built environment and BIM (Building Information Modeling) software have several fundamental similarities. BIM focuses on the design and construction of a building. A Digital Twin is a simulation of how humans interact with their surroundings.

Digital twins have quickly established themselves as the go-to method for developing reliable data models of all components of a building or city at various phases of its lifecycle. But what’s the difference between a digital twin and BIM software (Building Information Modeling)?

The AEC industry has likely struggled to distinguish between these two critical technologies. The misconception stems primarily from BIM software’s emphasis on digitally represented physical space and Digital Twin’s early categorization as a digital replica of a physical object or location. The main distinction is in how each technology is implemented. Building maintenance and operations are best served by Digital twins whereas construction and design are better addressed by BIM. 

Digital Twins are rapidly gaining traction as a reliable data model for all components of a building at various stages of its life cycle. Observant viewers will see some striking parallels between what is today known as a Digital Twin of a built environment and BIM, or building information modeling software.

Are you confused about the difference between BIM and Digital Twin? Do these terms look pretty similar to you? Let’s take a look.

What is Building Information Modeling?

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and as the name implies, the core of BIM is INFORMATION. BIM is an intelligent model-based process/methodology for creating 3D building design models that incorporate all of the information required for a building’s construction. It allows for easier coordination and collaboration among the project’s many teams. AEC experts can design, construct, and operate buildings and infrastructures more effectively. 

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the integrated process built on coordinated reliable information used to create coordinated digital design information and documentation, predict performance appearance and cost, deliver projects faster more economically, and with reduced environmental impact.

The cost-saving benefits of having a central point of building reference in a 3D digital model are now being explained by leading BIM software providers to the AEC (architects, engineers, and contractors) industry. BIM allows collaboration and much easier design recalibration in progressing projects.

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What is a Digital Twins?

A digital representation of physical assets, processes, systems, as well as their dynamics, is referred to as a “Digital Twin”. The term “digital twin” refers to a technology that connects the physical and virtual worlds. It improves decision-making by enabling learning, reasoning, and dynamic evolution using real-time data and other sources.

This twin model collects data and uses physics-based simulations to produce a data-rich model that works exactly like its real-world counterpart. All design assumptions are replaced with real data in the digital twin technique, resulting in a real-time operational model of the structure. People, processes, and behaviors will be crucial data sources as the Digital Twin evolves.

The creation of a digital twin from the data gives project stakeholders a competitive advantage by allowing them to make quick and informed decisions based on real-time data that is accessible at any time and from any location. A digital twin is becoming more generally accepted and used on building projects, according to a growing trend in the industry.

BIM vs Digital Twins

Although BIM and Digital Twin technology are both designed to improve process visibility, cooperation, and productivity, they differ in key ways.

I. Definition

BIM –BIM (Building information modeling) methodology involves the generation & management of digital representations of aesthetic & functional attributes of places.

Digital Twins – The term “Digital Twin” refers to a digital representation of physical assets, processes, and systems, as well as their dynamics.

II. Function

BIM – BIM is designed to facilitate collaboration & visualization during the design & construction phases and also serve as a digital database when the project is completed.

Digital Twins – Digital Twins are intended for the building’s operations and maintenance.

III. Characteristics 


Digital Twins

BIM focuses on Buildings, Information and Tools.

Digital twin focuses on People, processes, and behaviors.

Maintains a database of the components’ functional and physical attributes. Maintains a database of real-time activities.

Risk assessment and project management.

Prevents hazardous situations and losses by predicting potential failures.
BIM is not designed for real-time operational responses. BIM advocates reactive measures. Digital twin focuses on real-time data, giving you an extensive picture of the structure in real-time, and thereby supporting proactive measures.
Accuracy and completeness can only be comprehended, hence no prediction can be made. Anticipates information such as weather forecasts, energy demand, and so on.

BIM to Digital Twins

The distinguishing factor between Digital Twin and BIM is that Digital Twin focuses on people’s interactions with built environments, whereas BIM is utilized for design and construction visualization rather than operations and maintenance.

Digitalization is the key to the construction industry’s future success. BIM is the most essential information input for any Digital Twin. Even during the design and construction phases of an asset’s life cycle, Digital Twin will undoubtedly supersede BIM software.

Read Related >> BIM to Digital Twins: Evolving towards Smart Construction in the AEC Industry

Infinite raw data and information can be stored in hardware, software, and cloud applications. In the future, BIM would grow much more advanced. As we continue to develop things with people and flexibility in mind, the BIM must evolve in terms of people’s behavior and space design that supports their wellness.

Adopting BIM is the first step toward creating a Digital Twin. A digital twin is a real-life version that is created as part of the BIM process to generate a virtual model. This artificial twin can then evolve in real-time with the use of real-time data. Though BIM and Digital Twin are different in nature, they are both proving to be a boon for the AEC industry, allowing structures to become smart and dynamic from conception to operation.

At Indovance Inc. we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free.  We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions pairing our enormous engineering talent pool with cutting-edge technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. 

Having two decades of experience in the AEC industry has made us realize that providing Outsourcing services is more than quality and cost. It is an overall experience that we want our clients to relish. INDOVANCE works as your extended virtual arm, aligning with your culture & processes, and firmly believes in the concept of ONENESS for mutual Growth. 

We deliver a full range of BIM modeling projects. We work on parametric family creation, model creation for all LOD (Level of Detail), 4D, 5D and 6D support and model phasing, as well. We also provide complete support for CAD to BIM, point cloud to BIM conversions, and PDF to BIM conversions.

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on  +1-919-238-4044 


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