I have not attempted to cite all the authorities and sources consulted in preparation of this workbook and the companion book BIG BIM 4.1. To do so would require more space than is available. The list would include federal government agencies, AIA chapters, customers, libraries, institutions, and many individuals.

My most special thanks and all my love to Beth. Without her support, none of this would be possible.

My thanks to my friend and colleague Kimon Onuma, FAIA, president of Onuma Inc. of Pasadena, CA for his insight and support with examples and concepts throughout this book. Mr. Onuma has long been a thought leader in the BIM world. His conception of the Object Genome, organizing the objects that underpin BIM technology, helped many understand the complexity and power of the process. Mr. Onuma won the 2007 American Institute of Architects BIM award for the US Coast Guard Web-Enabled BIM Projects and the 2007 FIATECH CETI Award for the Sector Command Planning System for the US Coast Guard. Design Atlantic Ltd worked on both projects with Onuma. Mr. Onuma’s groundbreaking contributions to the future of information in the built world will affect us all for many years to come.

My thanks and sincere appreciation to the group of national and international experts that took their time to review and comment on the material in BIG BIM 4.1, and this workbook—In Ireland: Professor Alan Hore, Alan Redmond, Paul Sexton, Ralph Montague, and Shawn O’Keeffe; In Germany: Professor Alexander Malkwitz, Oliver Lindner, and Volker Krieger; In the USA: Chip Veise, Deke Smith, Devin Jernigan, Josh Plager, Kevin Connolly, Michael Chipley, Michael Scarmack, Paul Adams, Peter Cholakis, Thomas Dalbert, Yong Ku Kim, Forrest Huff, Hugh Livingston, Jared Banks, and John Roach; In the UK: David Churcher; In Spain: Professor Farid Mokhtar Noriega, and; In the Netherlands: Joost Wijnen. Be assured that they contributed to this being a great book and that I am fully to blame for any errors.


This BIG-BIM 4.0 Proofs of Concept site is packed with activities and guidance designed to educate and expose you to proven projects and processes that others have completed. These are the current best-practices in BIG-BIM. They point you to next-practices, guide your discovery process and allow you to experience and learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Understanding how others have used the tools and processes will help you calculate your potential benefits from the use of BIG Building Information.

Critical Capabilities

For many, BIG-BIM requires a leap of logic. One crosses the chasm by becoming educating in the principles of connected systems. With education, you find answers to questions, such as: How can something so complex and all-encompassing be easier to use than the familiar tools? How is BIG-BIM even possible? Especially when some technology experts tell me it’s a pipe dream? Or, something that will happen at some undefined future date?

BIG-BIM 4.1 gives you the field proven information you need to answer such questions, and to decide for yourself. The BIG-BIM ecosystem needs a central hub to manage the data coming and going to, and from tools of many types—a BIG-BIM Server. The hub for BIG-BIM ecosystems must address two critical issues:

  1. BIG-BIM should not impose hardware or software restrictions on users. Nor should BIG-BIM be limited to those with advanced training. Work takes place and is moderated using Internet-accessible, non-dedicated virtual servers, or cloud computing. Users access the system using any device capable of accessing the Internet. Desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones using any operating system are options.
  2. BIG-BIM should foster rules-based planning, connecting authoritative data of all kinds in new and unexpected ways. Smart costing systems, finding connections among disparate datasets, analysis of Big Data, and simulations to find optimal solutions take place quickly. The system must transparently provide access to the core data, and allow everyone that needs to use the data to visualize, manipulate, and maintain the information to achieve benefit in each use case without relying on the help of experts.

Without such critical capabilities, BIM will not deliver the things that people need in a BIG-BIM ecosystem. 

These issues are addressed at length in BIG BIM 4.1 | Building Information Ecosystems. The book is recommended reading for anyone learning about BIG-BIM.

NextGen Standard of Care

OMG Finith has done it again! His first book BIG BIM–little bim was a seminal book for the facilities industry. This time in a 400-page book with 29 case studies and hands-on exercises and tools he has combined the next book I would have written, along with documenting what is in the incredible mind of Kimon Onuma, along with about every other great thinker in the industry. For those of you who may be thinking that we have milked all we can out of BIM, this book is a must read and will set you straight in understanding that we have not even scratched the surface. For those of you still trying to figure out what BIM is and think it is a piece of software or just an expansion on CAD if you don’t read this book you will have missed an enormous opportunity. This book truly documents what the standard of care will become in the facilities industry over the next decade. Thank you Finith for all your efforts in the transformation of the facilities industry.

—Dana Kennish “Deke” Smith, FAIA, father of the U.S. National CAD Standard and, the first executive director of the buildingSMART alliance, where he worked to establish the US National BIM Standard to help improve international adoption of the powerful BIM toolset.