The real LOD story.

Well, it’s an interesting one! 😉

LOD History

About 15 years ago our small team (then at Graphisoft) “invented” a scale of LOD 100 through LOD 500.

That LOD scale helped describe the geometry needed to run our 4D + 5D software (now called Vico Office, by Trimble).

Defining LOD and BIM Progression

Over the next 15 years that LOD concept was adopted in various ways across our design and construction industry (image below from Marzia Bolpagni).

LOD Standards Around The World

LOD BIM Planning Goals and Concerns

Although it was cool to see it adopted – it made us worry a bit.

Here’s why…

Our original LOD goal (then Level of Detail) focussed on specifying model geometry.

It did not include many of the other extremely important aspects for planning different BIM uses.

BIM Uses

For complete BIM planning there are actually many aspects.

Here are some BIM planning considerations:

  1. Geometry – how complex does the graphical detail need to be?
  2. Reliability – how much can you depend on the geometry?
  3. Accuracy – to what tolerance is the measurement or representation?
  4. Information – what data/parameters/attributes are important?
  5. Ex/Inclusions – what special project conditions are there?

Not to mention the additional:

  • Specifications
  • Responsibilities
  • Attachments
  • Notes
  • Classification
  • Checklists

WHY do we need this requirement and WHO is going to use the output?

Can LOD Really Help Plan All Of These?!?

BIM LOD Options

With so many different requirements it becomes a challenge to effectively capture all of these combinations using a single scale of just 5 numbers (LOD 100 – LOD 500).


The UK even looked at adding a second scale: LOI (Level Of Information)

However the challenge in creating more special LoX scales is that teams then need to reference new dictionaries in order to communicate.

Marzia Bolpagni shares this with us:

As illustrated in my article “The Many Faces of LOD”, despite what most think, LOD is a complex and controversial topic. We need to move away from numbering scales (e.g. 100-500, 1-7 etc) that are open to interpretation. What we really need are requirements that we can automatically verify and validate: only then we are creating something smart!

This is vital – our industry requires more flexible, but structured, requirements that can be automatically checked.

OK, now here’s the advert 😉

The good news: there’s now a BIM planning tool to specify any combination of the definitions above …with or without the LOD Numbers! 🙂

Are you ready to simplify your BIM workflow?

Find out more?

BIM Execution Plan


Visual LOD Matrix

BIM Scope

BIM Management

BIM Track

Create your Free BIM Execution Plan now:

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