What are the BIM levels?

BIM Levels: Explained

Where are you working now and where could you aim in terms of BIM levels in your landscape?

levels of bim

LEVEL 0 BIM:  This effectively means no collaboration. Basic 2D CAD drafting and distribution by paper or electronic prints.

LEVEL 1 BIM: This is a mix of 3D CAD for concepts and 2D drafting of production information. CAD standards are managed to BS 1192:2007, and electronic sharing of data is carried out from a common data environment (CDE), often managed by the contractor. Most organisations are currently operating at Level 1 but there is no collaboration between different disciplines – each publishes and maintains its own data so there will be replication in different formats.

LEVEL 2 BIM: Operating at this level is distinguished by collaborative working with all parties responsible for their own 3D  models.  Information is sourced from other models with collaboration by reference, federation or direct information exchange.

Software platforms should be capable of reading/writing to IFC (Industry Foundation Class) – the internationally agreed file format for BIM information exchange.  The specific file formats will be defined on a project-by-project basis in the Employers Information Requirements (EIR).  The Landscape Institute BIM Working Group (UK) is working to ensure landscape content is sufficiently represented in IFC.

Level 2 BIM has been set as a minimum target by the UK government for all work on public-sector work by 2016.

Level 2 is now defined in the UK by components referred to as the Pillars of BIM. Organisations starting their BIM implementation should familiarise themselves with these before they embark on their BIM journey.

Pillars of BIM
Pillar of BIM Further Information Free Download
PAS 1192-2:2013 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of assets using building information modelling Download from BSI
PAS 1192-3:2014 Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using building information modelling Download from BSI
BS 1192-4:2014 Collaborative production of information. Part 4: Fulfilling employers information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice Download from BSI
PAS 1192-5:2015 Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management Download from BSI
Building Information Model Protocol 1st Edition 2013 View at Construction Industry Council
Government Soft Landings GSL View at BIM Task Group
Digital Plan of Works DPoW Visit the NBS
Classification Uniclass 2015 Visit the NBS


Level 3 BIM:  This level represents full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model which is held in a centralised repository.  All parties can access and modify that same model, removing the risk of conflicting information. This is known as ‘Open BIM’, and the UK government’s target date for public-sector working is 2019.

Digital Built BritainDigital Built Britain (DBB), is the phrase coined to describe level 3 building information modelling (BIM). It was launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable on 26 February 2015 with the publication of
Digital Built Britain, Level 3 Building Information Modelling – Strategic Plan.

Level 3 BIM is:

  • Whole life and functional (business) management capability
  • Interoperable simple to use technology
  • Integrated to big data for wider analytics
  • Secure by design
  • Paperless transparent contracts and payment systems
  • Data provenance to protect suppliers from IP and copyright fraud
  • Moving from file-based methods to full object-based techniques


Level 3 BIM denotes the next level of maturity beyond level 2 BIM which will be mandated on centrally-procured public projects from 2016. There are no dates set for the adoption of Level 3.

The report suggests that over the next decade BIM will combine with the internet of things, advanced data analytics and the digital economy, allowing us to plan more effectively, build it at a lower cost and operate more efficiently.


Digital Built Britain: “How we intend taking the next steps in defining advanced standards, creating new commercial models and identifying technologies to transform our approach to social infrastructure development and construction.”

Digital Built Britain:  “The jump between Level 2 and 3 is “big”, the reason we have committed to Level 3 at this time is because we know how much work there will be in creating the technical standards and commercial controls to be ready for an early adopter programme towards the end of the decade.”