What’s the difference between BIM, Revit and Digital Twin?

Natasha Buswell, Revit TechnicianApril 26, 2023

Even within our industry there’s a lot of confusion around the definitions and uses of Building Information Modelling (BIM), Revit and Digital Twins. The lines between them can be a little blurry, and quite often it’s presumed that BIM and a Revit model are the same thing. They’re not. They each serve their own purpose. Let’s explore in a bit more detail, starting with BIM.
What’s the difference between BIM, Revit and Digital Twin?

BIM is a process and methodology that creates a multidimensional database from coordinated reliable information. It’s used by AECs (architects, engineers and contractors) as a central point of building reference in a visual and quantitative 3D model of an asset. It facilitates the coordination and collaboration required by parties contributing to a building project, to help them manage it through the design, planning and construction phases. It can also then be used for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the building once construction and fit-out is complete. 

Benefits of BIM

One of the big benefits of BIM is that all the relevant information required for the design, planning and construction of a building is contained in one central cloud-based place. This saves both time and money, maximises efficiency, quality control and accuracy for materials ordering and scheduling. 

What is Revit?

Central to the BIM process is the use of 3D models, which can be created by various tools, one of which, and probably the most leading software tool is Revit. Revit is a software package used to create dimensionally accurate, digital models used to design, document, visualise and deliver architecture, engineering and construction projects. It was acquired by Autodesk to power the BIM process. Think of Revit as the vehicle and BIM as the act of driving.

Revit uses model building components to analyse and simulate systems and structures. It allows everyone working on a building project to collaborate within shared models and import, export and link data at every phase. Revit’s high-impact detailed 3D models offer an enhanced level of collaboration and communication between project contributors, as well as with the client. 


How does BIM differ from a digital twin?

If you think of BIM as a static physical information model that’s updated when new information is uploaded, then a digital twin goes a step further. It’s a virtual replica of a real-world physical asset or physical process created using real-time data gathered by smart components, that enables virtual interaction. A digital twin can be a product of the BIM process. 

Think of a digital twin as a bridge between the physical world and the digital world. Smart components that use sensors to gather real time data are integrated into the physical environment that is being monitored/analysed/assessed. The components are connected to a cloud-based system that receives and processes all the data from the sensors. The simulation of a physical asset, such as a building, provides information about the current state of the building and the impacts of variants, such as occupants, temperature etc.

We hope this has helped to clarify the difference between Revit, BIM and Digital Twins. All three can function independently or be part of a full spectrum of information management for building design and construction. Survey Solutions offers in-house Revit modelling, BIM services, including scan to BIM and the creation of Digital Twins to commercial architects, general contractors, design build contractors, MEP engineers, civil engineers, structural engineers, MEP subcontractors, and HVAC subcontractors.

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