There’s a special irony in our industry: we take pride in our ability to think, plan, and execute construction projects at great levels of detail. Yet, with BIM projects, we can engage in surprisingly little planning.
We know how to organize our work to avoid mistakes and oversights. But when it comes to project planning, we often give little thought or effort to planning the execution of a design process. How often are BIM Managers told “there’s a project kicking off next week. It’s going to be in Revit. Can you have it set up and ready to go by the beginning of next week?”
Really?! We put so much effort into creating our deliverables, yet at the beginning of our projects, we often skip over the BIM conversation that could outline for all stakeholders a clear path for a successful BIM implementation.
We hold conversations about schedules, budgets, contractor qualifications, (cloud) technology, liabilities, and much more. So why can’t we have these same conversations so that BIM projects have a well-defined execution plan, adequate resources and budget, and that all potential liabilities are covered? We need to have them!
Taking BIM to the Next Level
Without a BIM conversation prior to project kick-off, we end-up with “bolt-on BIM” or “bootstrap BIM.” This can put the BIM Manager in a precarious position because there has not been enough consideration or budget for BIM. The manager can struggle to perform even basic tasks, such as model coordination and information management.
So the time for having these BIM plan conversations with stakeholders is BEFORE the start of a project! This will give each stakeholder a better understanding of what it takes to successfully execute a BIM project -- beyond technology infrastructure issues. They will get a clear view of employer information requirements to plan new processes or applications in order to meet them. And only then can project staff fully comprehend what additional responsibilities are involved and who will be performing them.
BIM Project Planning Diagram adopted from Succar et al. (2013 )
Tying it All Together
A BIM execution plan calls for a series of meetings and processes to set up the right collaborative environment. This gives the BIM Manager a chance to address technology, infrastructure or training needs before kick-off rather than on the fly, or at the expense of the project’s output or schedule. It also requires, of course, working knowledge of technology and processes to help project team members with a variety of issues, such as project budgeting.
Here’s a partial list of items that can be addressed before project kick-off:
- Employer Information Requirements (EIRs)
- BIM execution plans associated with technology, processes and policy
- Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP)
- BIM scope and information deliverables
- Level of Details (LoD’s) and the required schedule to meet them
- Supply chain pre-contract
- Team structure based on current staff skills and new training requirements
- Collaboration and QA/QC protocols and responsibilities
- Technology and infrastructure requirements (such a cloud, workstations and servers)
- Security requirements
- Information and data management/exchange protocols
- BIM budget for supporting additional meetings and processes
Remember that combining proper BIM planning with part-time billable project work can also become burdensome – particularly when you don’t have the appropriate budget.
So a strong BIM Manager should articulate early BIM planning needs to upper and executive managers and obtain the necessary commitments to achieve success and meet BIM project requirements.
This blog is part of a series that discusses some of the key considerations for planning a successful enterprise level BIM implementation and is part of the white paper "the 5 pillars of a successful BIM implementation". You can download the white paper here. Original post can be found here.