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LOD | Level of Development

Level of development (LOD) is a set of specifications that gives professionals in the AEC industry the power to document, articulate, and specify the content of BIM effectively and clearly. Serving as an industry standard, LOD defines the development stages of different systems in BIM. By using LOD specifications, architects, engineers, and other professionals can clearly communicate with each other without confusion for faster execution.

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BIM Level of Development vs. Level of Detail

The Level of Development (LOD) specification serves as a crucial framework in the industry, providing professionals with a structured approach to communicate the evolution of element geometry and associated information throughout the project lifecycle. It delineates the reliability and completeness of information associated with each element, empowering team members to make informed decisions at every stage.

By employing the LOD specification, designers can meticulously define the inherent characteristics of model elements at various developmental phases, enhancing clarity and depth within the model. This ensures that stakeholders understand the extent to which they can depend on the model's elements and the level of detail provided.

LOD facilitates effective communication among designers, engineers, and other stakeholders, enabling them to articulate the usability and constraints of the model with precision. Standardizing the use of the LOD framework enhances efficiency and fosters collaborative engagement, ultimately driving better project outcomes through clear and consistent communication channels.

What is Level of Development (LOD)?

LOD is usually interpreted as a Level of Detail instead of a Level of Development. This specification uses the concept of Level of Development. There are important differences.

Level of Detail is actually what proportion of detail is enclosed within the model element. Level of Development is the degree to which the components’ specification, geometry, and attached information have been thought through – the degree to which project team members may depend on the information when using the model. In essence, the Level of Detail can be thought of as input to the element, while the Level of Development is a reliable output.

LOD and Design Phase:

The LOD doesn’t seem to be outlined deliberately by design phases. Rather, design phase completion, as well as any other milestone or deliverable, can be described through the LOD language. There are several important reasons for this approach:

1) The first reason is that there is no detailed standard available for the design phase. Earlier architects have created standards that exist within an organization. The standards differ from one organization to another, and they can even differ within a single organization according to the requirements of a project.

2) Building systems progress from concept to precise definition at different rates, so at any given time different elements will be at different points along with this progression. For example, after the Schematic Design phase, the model will include many elements at LOD 200, but will also include many at LOD 100, as well as some at LOD 300, and possibly even LOD 400.

Fundamental Definitions Associated with LOD:

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

In the current context, there are six different levels of development that are defined by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). According to AIA, LOD outlines the design requirements at each stage.

At LOD 100, which is the pre-design stage, the model consists of 2D symbols and the masses to signify an element’s existence.

At LOD 200, the elements are partially defined by outlining their approximate quantity, size, shape, and location.

By LOD 300, the elements are defined with exact BIM dimensions and their relative positions bolstering precision.

LOD 350 describes the information about an element precisely and outlines an element’s relation and connection with other components.

The LOD 400 level outlines the basic information about the construction of various elements.

By LOD 500, the model begins representing the real-life functions of elements in a real building. Here are all the levels of development with their definitions in detail. At United-BIM Inc., we aim to deliver peace of mind and value through quality, speed, and a consultative approach.

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