BIM is one of the latest tools that is revolutionizing the construction industry. As with any new tool, there are learning curves and the best recommendation is to find an expert in the industry to assist you. As the Owner’s Representative, it is important for you to understand how to properly implement BIM on a project. There are BIM experts out in the market. You can find guidelines on implementing BIM on a project on the internet. One of the most widely recognized is BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners, A Building SMART Alliance Project Version 2.0 – June 2013 by Penn State. This guide presents many details of what will be required in implementing BIM on a project.
Before we get into a brief discussion on BIM (it will only be brief as I am not an expert), I want to relate a sad story of BIM used in the wrong way. I often work for Owners in assisting them in resolving issues on troubled projects. One multi-million dollar project I assisted with, the Owner detailed in their Contract with the Designer to prepare a BIM model to be provided to the Contractor. There was not a lot of detail on how that model was to be provided nor was there oversight review of the model during the design phase. The designer, a large multi-national firm, had a team on the project that did not use BIM to develop their designs, but instead used 2D CAD with the intention to give the 2D CAD model to a firm in the Philippines to develop a BIM model. They got the model back from the firm in the Philippines and sent it to the Owner who then turned it over to the Contractor. There were multiple issues in the model. When the Contractor ran clash detection, steel was protruding from the exterior walls. This forced the designer to completely redesign their structural design while the project was being built. The Contractor took over the model which resulted in daily meetings between the Contractor, Designer and Owner to review segments and plan changes. The steel on the project had been bought out and the changes in the design resulted in major cost impacts to the project. The end result was a dispute. This was a completely wrong way to implement BIM on the project. Hence, from experience, bring an expert in BIM aboard to set out the BIM Project Execution Plan and have it detailed in your Design Contracts and ensure you follow up regularly with the status of the model as the design progress.
Some of the Penn State recommendations were – “A BIM Project Execution Plan template should reflect the requirements you documented in the BIM Contract Requirements and the issues, goals, and processes identified within the Strategic and Organizational Planning Guides. As identified in the Contract Addendum discussion, the BIM Addendum focuses on standard facility goals and BIM objectives of the organization, while a BIM Project Execution Plan will contain the project-specific BIM requirements, processes, and information workflows. Developing a template BIM Project Execution Plan not only helps inform potential bidders of the typical expectations of the owner, but it significantly reduces the time and effort required by the owner’s BIM Champion for each project. The template is not intended as the final BIM Plan the team will conform to, but an outline of the plan, similar to the way a milestone schedule is the outline for a critical path construction schedule. Once the project specific BIM plan is established by the project team, it should be included in the contract documents so that procedures, responsibilities, processes, level of development, and deliverables are clear. This section is not intended to walk the reader through the details of developing a BIM Project Execution Plan; The BIM Project Execution Planning Guide provides a much more detailed explanation for the creation of a project specific plan, as well as provides the base template. The goal of this section is to use the BIM Project Execution Plan Template and customize it so that it can be applied to the majority of projects created by your organization
BIM Standard Goals and Objectives the first step in developing a standard BIM Project Execution Plan Template is to determine the standard goals and objectives of the organization for which the template is being developed. These goals and objectives should have been identified in the Strategic BIM Planning step. Most organizations have areas that they choose to focus which align with their strategic plan. Whether the emphasis is on energy efficiency, cost, speed, or quality, BIM can be used to supplement those goals. The key in this situation is to leverage the Roadmap to define the appropriate standard BIM Goals and uses to incorporate into the template. Then as the use of BIM within your organization evolves and progresses along the planned organizational implementation, the Standard Goals and Uses can evolve with the stages identified in the Roadmap.
After the typical project goals and BIM objectives are established, they can be added to a table in the BIM Project Execution Plan template. It is important to note, that not every goal may not apply to every project, and once the specifics for a new project are determined, there may be specific project goals that need to be added or adjusted, as decided in the project BIM kickoff meeting. Standard BIM Uses The project goals and BIM objectives list provides a good starting point for determining the standard project BIM Uses for your organization. An owner should only focus on requiring the BIM Uses which provide them with a benefit, and not force the project team to change their internal processes if there is no added value to the owner or the facility. In many situations, designers and contractors may provide additional BIM Uses because it is the most cost effective solution for their internal processes. It is often useful to discuss the potential benefit/costs of each BIM Use with industry partners in design, construction, and operations to determine the implications of each requirement. BIM can improve projects through many Uses, but it exploring additional analysis and simulation of the model which does not support the focus of a project is not the best use of resources, and if implemented may impede the design and construction process or increase project cost. The balance between trying to gain the full benefit of the BIM Uses available for a project, and trying to resist over-expenditure on non-value adding BIM Uses is a fine line. The BIM Project Execution Plan template should include the core BIM Uses and goals which are expected to add value on nearly every project you pursue. The key in customizing the Plan for each project is to have the appropriate Implementation Team or BIM Champion involvement to help keep that focus, but to be open to opportunities to advance the BIM Uses on the Roadmap when opportunities present themselves. One simple but valuable step to facilitate this discussion with the project team is to hold a BIM Kickoff meeting with the project team members after selection as the contract is being finalized. The kickoff meeting serves as an opportunity for you to explain the background and intent of the BIM Goals and requested uses. A re-visiting of the template BIM Project Execution Plan can then be used to develop the full project plan. The required BIM Uses can be negotiated with the project teams to determine if some uses can easily be added with little to no cost, along with others which may be quite onerous to the project team with little value to defined goals.”
It is vital to have an experienced BIM expert put together an Execution Plan at the start of your project.