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What is Level of Development (LOD) in BIM?

Written by BIM Outsourcing
October 10, 2022

Have you ever asked yourself What is Level of Development (LOD) in BIM. LOD is a term used in BIM workflow, it specifies the stage of the BIM lifecycle. Level of development is a standard defining development stage of a construction project. It enable AEC professionals to communicate, document and specify the BIM content. BIM content refers to the geometrical information, organized information and other linked documents. Along with that, reliability on element is also enhanced as we move to the higher level. Design workflow progresses from vague conceptual design to precise description. Such standard is crucial to track the process.

LOD specification was first developed by American institute of architects (AIA). Along with the number of other organizations and researchers in 2008. It signifies the reliability on information associated with an element. There are total of 6 level of development where each level contains more information. LOD 500 contains the most detailed information and is the final one. The level of development that is appropriate for a project will depend on the needs of the project team. For example, a simple renovation might only need LOD 200. While a new construction project might need all 6 of them.

Understanding the different levels of development can help you choose the right level for your project and ensure that you are getting the most out of BIM.

Level of development vs. Level of Detail

AEC professional uses the acronym: LOD for level of detail as well for level of development. Both are far different from each other. Level of detail refers to the entire amount of information associated with element. It is more focused to the quantity of information rather than quality. With an underlying assumption that every information provided is relevant to the project. It only contains graphical representation of the elements without associated specification and properties.

Meanwhile, level of development reflects how much weight team members may lend to this piece of data when working with the model. The difference between these two terms would be input to something versus what you can use out of it. With a condition that you don't question its reliability. 

LOD 100 - Concept Design

Driven from its name, LOD-100 represents the information of the building on a very basic level. It is a 3D model that communicates the performance requirements and site constraints. This 3D model is block diagram. We also define few basic parameters in this stage of development. Like area of the site, height, volume, orientation and location in the concept design stage.

We represent the model element with the help of symbol or generic blocks in graphical form. These designs does not meet the condition for LOD-200. There is no geometrical representation in LOD-100 but only the symbolic representation. This symbolic representation of component is with true shape, size or precise location.

Any information derived from concept design level must be consider approximate. For example cost per square unit or tonnage of HVAC calculated at LOD-100.

LOD 200 - Schematic Design

LOD-200 is general model that contain assemblies and system with approximate parameters. These parameters include quantities of elements, size, shape, orientation and location. We represent the modelling element as generic system of object with approximate quantities. We can also append non-geometric information. Like construction material, financial data and equipment attributes etc.

Like LOD-100, any information or calculation derived from LOD-200 are approximate. But the complexity in LOD-200 is bit higher than that of LOD-100. In schematic design elements are the generic place holders.

LOD 300 - Detailed Design

In LOD-300, we develop accurate model and detailed shop drawings. Model and design with specified assemblies and precise parameters. We can attach non-geometrical information of project and with 3D model. We define project origin in detailed design and orientate each element.

.In LOD-300 modelled elements are accurate as well as well-coordinated. Moreover, they avoid any sort interference between the model components. Moreover, this development level is suitable for cost estimation and regulatory compliance check.

LOD 350 - Construction Documentation

LOD-350 has more complexity and accuracy as compare to lower levels. Its a detailed model but with a representation that how building elements interface. We ensure that the element must not clash with nearby components of the building. This interference representation can be graphical as well as in written documentation form.

Designers represent the element in graphical form or model them as a specific system. Along with other precise parameters of objects, they show orientation with adjacent elements.

In LOD-350, we model parts and systems necessary for coordination with adjacent elements. These parts include supports, connections, etc.

We can measure the parameter of elements without making any external reference. External references can be schedule of quantities, call-out view, or any other document.

LOD 400 – Fabrication & Assembly

It is the construction stage LOD and include fabrication details and installation information. It contains all LOD-350 details along with precise parameters like size, shape, etc.

LOD-400 contains fabrication assembly and details about the installation of the components. These details are great for component suppliers and building services contractors. We call also adjoin non-visual information with the model elements.

LOD 500 - As-Built

In LOD-500, we model elements as constructed assemblies for operation and maintenance purposes. As-built is a model that shows that the project as it has been build with precise properties. The properties include shape, dimension, size, orientation, location, and quantities. Along with that, we can also consider non-geometrical information like cost, material, etc.

It is the final level of development in the construction design workflow. which provides the verified representation with the highest level of complexity and detail. It is an as-build model not an indicator to progress to a higher level of model or construction.

Benefits of LOD

Level of development is a predominant standard of the entire BIM workflow. As it contains a defined level of detail plus the level of information in the model. With standards, it becomes easy for everyone to work on avoiding inconsistencies. Collaboration and communication are more streamlined and faster. This ensures efficient deployment of resources at each stage of design and construction.

By following LOD specifications, modelers and designers are able to provide guidelines & data. So builders and other professionals can ensure zero lapses in construction and maintenance. Managers can do better communication with subordinates and other teams. Requirements of each level of design can be better conveyed to others as well.

We can higher level of accuracy in BIM models by following these standards. All stakeholders, including owner and contractor can specify the LOD required in model. They also get more clarity in the final BIM deliverables.

Importance of LOD 

Without standardization and defined codes, BIM models can cause massive blunders. That results in a waste of resources, time, or both. LOD takes the design and construction team on the same page. Visualizing the model and its elements with clarity. Usually, BIM models come with a unique challenge. Furthermore, every person has his own unique perspective about completion of the project.

BIM Outsourcing, as one of the leading BIM coordination service providers offer a range of different services from BIM modelling to installation coordination as well as fire protection services. This ensures that our clients can concentrate on their core competencies while still getting a quality service

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