Mastering Level of Detail/Development (LOD) in Construction: Building Success One Detail at a Time

The Devil is in the Detail – Explore the World of LOD.

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We caught up with BIM & Digital Integration Consultant, Seamus Duffin, to shed light on a common industry acronym. Here is what he had to say about “LOD”.

Firstly, what is LOD?

Level of Design and Level of Development are both abbreviated with ‘LOD’.

      1. Level of Detail (LOD):

    Level of Detail refers to the level of detail in a BIM model, reflecting the completeness and complexity of the visual geometry. 

        1. Level of Development (LOD):

      Level of Development measures the reliability and accuracy of the information in a BIM model or component, evaluating its elements’ level of detail and completeness, including geometry, attributes, and non-graphical data.

      LOD measures the completeness and accuracy of a BIM (Building Information Model) model. There are five different LODs used in BIM models, each representing different phases of a construction project. This Model development should be used to make informed decisions and aid in developing the project’s life cycle. 

      Why is it important?

      This framework helps stakeholders assess data reliability and practicality in a model by using LOD. LOD is important for stakeholders as it allows for: 

      Clear Communication

      Informed Decision Making

      Risk Assessment


      Cost Estimation

      Facility Management

      By understanding the LOD of a model, stakeholders can effectively communicate, collaborate, and make decisions based on appropriate levels of detail. LOD ensures that stakeholders have the right level of information at each stage, leading to successful project outcomes.

      Who does LOD apply to and why does it affect them?

      The LOD concept is implemented at both the project and element levels. Each LOD level serves a distinct purpose toward achieving the end goal. Your position about the project will dictate the importance of this information and the specific requirements for each LOD level.

      LOD is crucial for owners or clients as they have a vested interest in the project’s success. It helps owners assess the reliability of the information, estimate costs, plan resources, and ensure the project meets their expectations.

      Facility Managers:
      Facility managers are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the completed building. LOD 500 models provide accurate as-built information that helps facility managers efficiently manage the building, for component location, system requirements and overall construction purposes.

      Architects and Designers:
      LOD is essential for architects and designers as they are responsible for conceptualizing and designing the project. The different levels of LOD enable them to communicate their design intent effectively and coordinate with other disciplines.

      Multi-Discipline Engineers:
      All Discipline specialized Engineers rely on LOD for designing and coordinating their respective systems. This provides them with the necessary level of detail to accurately design and analyze building components and systems. It helps them ensure proper integration, coordination, and clash detection between each discipline.

      It allows them to understand the level of detail required for constructing different building components and systems accurately. Contractors can use LOD to generate accurate cost estimates, plan resources, coordinate construction sequencing, and resolve clashes or conflicts during the construction process.

      Subcontractors and Suppliers:
      Knowing the LOD requirements helps subcontractors and suppliers provide accurate information and components for construction. By aligning their deliverables with stakeholders’ expectations. Suppliers can provide a usable model that contains all relative graphical and non-information. This can then be used at the right stage of the project. 

      What are the different stages of LOD?

      Stage 1 – LOD 100 (Pre-Design/Conceptual)

      At LOD 100, the model represents the basic conceptual design. It typically includes approximate massing, shape, and general component placement.

      The model at this stage of the project is often represented using simple geometry and lacks any specific design or object-specific information.


      Stage 2 – LOD 200 (Schematic Design)

      During the schematic design stage, the model becomes more refined. It includes the general size, shape, and location of the different building components within the project. This may include generic representations of different systems within the project and some basic architectural elements.

      However, the model will still be lacking specific details and exact dimensions.


      Stage 3 – LOD 300 (Design Development)

      At LOD 300 the model contains a high level of detail. It represents the individual components of the building and includes specific information such as size, shape, location, and orientation. The model may also include manufacturer-specific elements relating to the different systems used within the project.

      LOD 300 models are suitable for coordination, clash detection, and quantity takeoffs.


      Stage 4 – LOD 350 (Construction Documentation)

      The LOD 350 is an intermediate stage of a model’s development. It serves as a valuable reference for contractors during the construction process.

      The detailed information in the model aids in accurately creating and documenting construction requirements and ultimately contributing to a smoother and more efficient construction process.


      Stage 5 – LOD 400 (Construction Stage)

      This stage represents the final product and specific information required for construction, fabrication, and assembly during the manufacturing stages. The model includes accurate detailing, precise dimensions, specific system information, construction sequencing, cost estimating, and coordination purposes for onsite installation. 


      Stage 6 – LOD 500 (As-Built)

      LOD 500 represents the model at the as-built phase of the constructed project. It includes accurate and precise information regarding the placement, size, and configuration of all building elements after installation. This model is used for facility management, maintenance, and operation purposes. 

      Level 6

      How Pentagon can help:

          • LOD Implementation
                • Implementing LOD standards and guidelines within their organization.

            • LOD Planning, Assessing & Strategies
                  • Help clients develop LOD strategies tailored to their specific project requirements.

              • Coordination and Clash Detection
                    • Pentagon can help clients coordinate models and detect clashes between building components and systems, saving time and money during construction.

                • Project Management Support
                      • Provide project management support by integrating LOD requirements into project workflows. Help clients establish effective processes for managing and tracking LOD-related information, deliverables, and milestones.

                  • Integration with Facility Management with High Fidelity Data
                        • Assist in integrating LOD data into facility management systems and processes. This aids in Eliminating Information Bottlenecks and data silos; ensuring the relative High-Fidelity Data is accessible when necessary.  

                    • Quality Assurance
                          • Offer quality assurance services to ensure compliance with LOD standards and guidelines.

                      • Training and Education
                            • We offer various training deliverables demanding your requirements to educate your organization and teams on LOD concepts, standards, and best practices. Providing bespoke training and guidance for your organization on using BIM software tools effectively to achieve the desired LOD levels.

                      Feel free to ask the team any questions related to the topics above or any other queries you may have:

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