Our work

Building Information Modelling - BIM 

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a transition from a document-driven sector to a data-driven industry. TNO has a long and rich history in the field of Building Information Modelling. Our tools, data standards and expertise in actual use have been the basis for many sustainable improvements in the sector.
A 3D representatie of a BIM dataset

The term BIM often refers to different terms. This mainly concerns the distinction between, on the one hand, a dataset (including all kinds of additional information) of a specific structure. In other words: a dataset that is modelled with a software package to represent a specific building. On the other hand, it concerns the use or reuse of the generic, reusable, open ICT standards when exchanging information about specific buildings. Furthermore, the abbreviation BIM is often used for Building Information Modelling (which describes the process of working with the datasets) or Building Information Management where the emphasis is on the management of the data. 

TNO was at the cradle of BIM and is still an international leader in the field of data, technology and application. 

Quality with data 

Nowadays a computer is used to work with objects that have certain properties and relationships with each other. The geometry is often 'just one' property of such an object and can be done in 3D, but also 2D. It is also possible to add the name of a supplier, for example, but also cost figures, planning and so on. In this way, a building can be described in detail in a computer. Adding or linking information to the objects creates a rich model that can be used and reused for various applications (such as design, execution, management, etc.). We call this a BIM, but in fact it is nothing more than data about a structure. 

Various studies and experiences in practice have shown that working with BIM data improves the quality of the structure. Ultimately, this will make buildings more sustainable, of better quality and cheaper to use. 

Role of TNO 

We are closely involved in all major standardisation initiatives in the BIM world. Our tools such as BIMserver.org, the BIM protocol generator, BIM Quality blocks and the BIM Quickscan are used worldwide and have pushed the development of the sector in the right direction. 

BIM is ultimately the driver for better collaboration, better processes and better structures based on better data. 

TNO has various roles in the BIM landscape. We actively lead the development and application of new technologies; build reference implementations, prototype tools and software; and provide advice and consultancy on the use of BIM technology in companies and organisations. 

The objective and independent role of TNO makes it possible to provide truly sustainable advice. Data management is a strategically important activity for almost every organisation. Decisions must therefore be taken with a view to the long term. TNO is the obvious partner to prevent a data lock-in in the long run. 

Because of our objectivity, we are also typically called on in conflict situations. When did a contractor actually comply with the BIM requirements? Thanks to our deep knowledge of the technology and the application, the combination between theory and practice, we can quickly give an independent opinion on this. 


Our mission to create innovations that sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of companies and the welfare of society has led us to launch a number of products in the market. 

  • BIM Dictionary: explanation of different terms and abbreviations in the BIM world. The only objective overview of what's going on; 
  • BIMserver.org: most commonly used software tool for openBIM standard IFC; 
  • BIM Quickscan: measure your BIM level and gain insight into possible improvements; 
  • BIM Bots: The ecosystem of distributed web services that make it possible to contribute automated knowledge while working with BIM data. 


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