The Importance of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to the Plumbing Industry

Using BIM files from reputable manufacturers will speed up design processes, provide readily available data, and keep your jobsite organized.

by Jim LeStage, CSI, CDT

Advancements in technology have been changing the construction industry for decades, and building information modeling (BIM) is one of those advances that has taken an important role in the jobs of many plumbing engineers and designers. Hand-drawn, laborious designs and schematics have now moved to computers and digital 3D models.

With the use of BIM, a digital platform is provided with building design information useable in all stages of the construction project, connecting teams across jobs like never before. On top of that, it is easy to use. BIM product files are easily accessible online through most manufacturers’ websites, allowing you to quickly download them and implement them in your designs.

Key Benefits of Using BIM

Using BIM for your future projects can help you with job efficiencies in three key ways.

Speeds Up the Design Process

By having BIM files for a variety of products stored in one database or design palette, you can speed up your design process. Whatever is needed to complete the design of your plumbing system will already be saved in your palette and is simply a click away. You also don’t need to spend time creating the electronic 3D files of the product you would like to include in your design since they’re already available.

Readily Available Data

As you are designing a plumbing system, if you need quick facts on a certain product, further data is available through metadata tags linked within the BIM files. The tags can lead a designer to a manufacturer’s product page, detailing all of the information required to complete a job. With quick access to data, you can quickly share product and design information with those at the jobsite.

Keeps the Jobsite Organized

Once the project plans have been approved, it’s simple to create a tick sheet or parts list where every component is cataloged. This gives those working on the jobsite an at-a-glance look at what is needed to complete installations in a more efficient manner. In addition, once the building is completed, the owner can use the list to track parts that may need to be updated in a few years or fixed in certain situations.

Items to Consider

The bottom line is that BIM is very helpful in completing jobs efficiently, and you’ll want to make sure to look for these three things when considering a manufacturer’s BIM files:

  1. Files are kept up to date, so you have exact plans available for the job that result in no errors while constructing.
  2. Files work for the design programs you are using, so there’s no delay in selecting the right product and designing your plumbing system.
  3. Files are readily available for download on their site, showcasing the manufacturer’s desire to help their customers in creating efficiencies in any way possible.

Plumbing brands, such as HoldRite, keep their pipe supports, firestop systems, and DWV solutions updated and readily available for plumbing professionals (see the example to the right). Files can typically be found in resources and downloads sections or directly on product pages.

Looking for BIM files from reputable manufacturers will make your job easier by speeding up design processes, providing readily available data, and keeping your jobsite organized.

About the Author

Jim LeStage, CSI, CDT, is the Specification Sales Manager at RWC—a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. To learn more about RWC and its family of brands, visit

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the American Society of Plumbing Engineers.


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