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Leader questions

30 Oct




The route to BIM in 10 steps | Online Features | Building

26 Mar

The route to BIM in 10 steps | Online Features | Building.

The race is on. By 2016, all centrally procured government construction projects, no matter their size, must be delivered using Building Information Modelling, or BIM. This will extend right through the supply chain, from the largest contractor to the smallest supplier, and it is hoped, will lead to the industry-wide adoption of BIM as the benefits become more widely understood. Across the industry, organisations must get up to speed over the next three years – or risk missing out on valuable opportunities.

A building information model contains not only the design of a building but data concerning the properties of its components, its construction and ongoing maintenance. The database and the way information is shared is as important as the model itself – which means that BIM doesn’t just mean a major technological change, but an overhaul of the whole design process. The transition from CAD to BIM will be much more significant than when computers replaced paper drawings, around 20 years ago. That merely automated the process, leaving it intact, while BIM is intended to transform how project teams work.

The government’s target is ambitious, but it does recognise that there are several stages along the way. The strategy paper produced by the Government Construction Client Group, reporting to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, uses the Bew-Richards maturity model, which defines three levels of BIM, based not only on the level of technology used to design a building, but on the level of collaboration within the process. Level 0 describes a paper-based process with CAD drawings; level 3 is a fully open and integrated process with models shared between the project team on a web-enabled BIM hub. That is still some way away, with a number of technological hurdles to be overcome first. For 2016, the target is level 2, in which separate disciplines create their own models, but all project data is shared electronically in a common environment.

Many firms have already begun implementing BIM, and some have been working on it for several years. We spoke to two architecture practices and two engineering firms that are well ahead of the game to find out what they’ve learned.

Dave Glennon, project technology manager, and Mark Enzer, engineering director and BIM champion for Europe and Africa, Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald set a vision to be an early adopter of BIM two years ago. Since then, it has used BIM on a range of building and infrastructure projects.

Mark Stodgell, IT director, Pozzoni Architects

Pozzoni implemented BIM back in 2006. It now produces all projects to level 1 BIM and strives to meet level 2 wherever possible.

Lee Zebedee, formerly UK BIM manager, Ramboll

Engineer Ramboll started working in 3D in the late 1990s and was using collaborative BIM by 2006 on a healthcare PFI project. It is now used company-wide for clients in a wide range of sectors. In January 2013, Zebedee joined Autodesk.

Stephen Griffin, director, Allies and Morrison

Allies and Morrison started using BIM in 2009, and now works collaboratively with other designers on many of its projects.











10 Things Every BIM Manager Should Know

10 Feb

Here is a list of 10 things every BIM Manager should know:


1. Learn early that spinning models can only get you so far.  The true value of BIM has nothing to do with your laptop configuration and having a ripping graphics card.  Develop your communications skills and presentation skills, and above all, listen to the question.  Being a key member of the presentation team is an honor because you are representing your company’s history as well as future.  Treat the future BIM strategy with as much respect as you honor the past. For an example of this, please see the recorded webinar on Hoar Construction’s and their adoption of the Trimble Customer Success Plan.


2. Speaking of strategy, articulate yours.  Many BIM Managers craft a mission statement, post it on the company intranet, and forget about it.  Just as the papers you wrote in high school look dated and antiquated now, so too will your original BIM strategy because the technology is evolving so quickly. This doesn’t mean, however, that you update your strategy every time a vendor announces a new product.  Know how far you want to take BIM…and then push it farther.  What kinds of case studies are your peers publishing?  What kinds of case studies are your vendors publishing?  Consider comparing the two at an AGC BIMForum conference like Miami or Denver.


3. You should know the pulse of Owners in your geography and the types of deliverables they need.  Your goal is to balance output: what deliverables will cement your relationships with Owners AND helps your firm deliver a profitable project? Our experience tells us it’s a model tied to budget and schedule so that the Owner can see how a design change impacts cost and time. It’s a constructability report showing the clash and resolution in 2D and 3D. It’s resource-loaded schedules to prove to Subs and the Owner that the schedule works. It’s a work in place report. It’s a cash flow forecast.  For an example of this, please see the recorded webinar on Reporting in Vico Office.  If these are the types of deliverables you’re after, consider upping your game.


4. Respect your elders and learn all you can from them.  You probably don’t have construction field experience, so learn as much about means and methods as possible.  All the BIM software in the world won’t help you if you don’t have building in your blood.


5. Where do you get your models now? And where will you get them in the future? In our experience, you’re starting to receive models from architects, engineers, and subs, but they are all at different levels of detail.  We even saw on Friday’s webinar that you’ll start creating 3D BIMs from laser scanning point clouds!  Start researching the Model Progression Specification and develop a plan for working together with outside firms and partners.  This is an opportunity for you to play a key role in leading these relationships. By mastering the MPS LOD Playbook and understanding how to roll out Primitives on your next project, you’ll be at the cutting edge of BIM project planning.


6. You have probably defined your firm’s process for clash detection and coordination.  Consider taking it a step backwards AND and a step farther.  Implement a drawing check-in process and a model version comparison process to identify changes in construction drawing sets and models.  Basically, you’ll be clearing up clashes and identifying missing information before it ever becomes part of the project workflow.  Then consider learning about Coordination Resolution and how to run your meetings much more efficiently.


7. Speaking of taking coordination farther…now that you have coordinated models why don’t you use them for model-based quantity takeoff?  The more precise the quantities, the more precise the estimate and schedule.  For example, you could create a quantities by location report which could save your operations crew hundreds of planning hours.  This will help you drive BIM across departments and out to the jobsite.


8. And speaking of the schedule, you are probably asked to create sequencing movies for some pursuits.  Instead of manufacturing a movie to fit an artificial schedule, consider deriving a schedule from the aforementioned construction-caliber quantities by location and introduce a Lean scheduling technique called flowline.


9. So now you have the model geometry and properties from which you can derive the quantities.  Using this information and the model you can help the PM inspect the subs’ bids for accuracy.  Look at ways you can harness this information from past projects, too, always learning from what worked and what didn’t.  Learn how past project data can be shared between Modelogix and Prolog and used for quality control on new projects.  Tying together these disciplines with BIM at the core will set your firm apart from others in your geography.


10. Designs and models change ALL the time, so don’t be misled by “linking” instead of “integrating.”  Your BIM information needs to be seamless.  Every time the model changes, your budget and schedule should update automatically.  You should not have to go back and manually update all the links.  That’s not strategy – that’s glueware.  See the big picture and evaluate your IT choices accordingly.


via 10 Things Every BIM Manager Should Know.

BIM Maturity Index

10 Feb

Maturity Level 1 (Defined):

BIM implementation is driven by senior managers’ overall vision. Most processes and policies are well documented, process innovations are recognized and business opportunities arising from BIM are identified but not yet exploited. BIM heroism starts to fade in importance as competency increases; staff productivity is still unpredictable.

Basic BIM guidelines are available including training manuals, workflow guides and BIM delivery standards.

Training requirements are well-defined and are typically provided only when needed. Collaboration with project partners shows signs of mutual trust/respect among project participants and follows predefined process guides, standards and interchange protocols. Responsibilities are distributed and risks are mitigated through contractual means.

Maturity Level 2 (Managed):

The vision to implement BIM is communicated and understood by most staff. BIM implementation strategy is coupled with detailed action plans and a monitoring regime. BIM is acknowledged as a series of technology, process and policy changes which need to be managed without hampering innovation. Business opportunities arising from BIM are acknowledged and used in marketing efforts.

BIM roles are institutionalized and performance targets are achieved more consistently. Product/service specifications similar to AIA’s Model Progression Specifications or BIPS’ information levels are adopted. Modelling, 2D representation, quantification, specifications and analytical properties of 3D models are managed through detailed standards and quality plans. Collaboration responsibilities, risks and rewards are clear within temporary project alliances or longer-term partnerships.

Maturity Level 3 (Integrated):

BIM implementation, its requirements and process/ product innovation are integrated into organizational, strategic, managerial and communicative channels. Business opportunities arising from BIM are part of team, organization or project-team’s competitive advantage and are used to attract and keep clients. Software selection and deployment follows strategic objectives, not just operational requirements. Modelling deliverables are well synchronized across projects and tightly integrated with business processes. Knowledge is integrated into organizational systems; stored knowledge is made accessible and easily retrievable[8]. BIM roles and competency targets are imbedded within the organization. Productivity is now consistent and predictable. BIM standards and performance benchmarks are incorporated into quality management and performance improvement systems. Collaboration includes downstream players and is characterized by the involvement of key participants during projects’ early lifecycle phases.

Maturity Level 4 (Optimized):

Organizational and project stakeholders have internalized the BIM vision and are actively achieving it.

BIM implementation strategy and its effects on organizational models are continuously revisited and realigned with other strategies. If alterations to processes or policies are needed, they are proactively implemented. Innovative product/process solutions and business opportunities are sought-after and followed-through relentlessly.

Selection/use of software tools is continuously revisited to enhance productivity and align with strategic objectives.

Modelling deliverables are cyclically revised/ optimized to benefit from new software functionalities and available extensions. Optimization of integrated data, process and communication channels is relentless.

Collaborative responsibilities, risks and rewards are continuously revisited and realigned. Contractual models are modified to achieve best practices and highest value for all stakeholders.

Benchmarks are repetitively revisited to insure highest possible quality in processes, products and services.

via BIM ThinkSpace: Episode 13: the BIM Maturity Index.

BIM: Keeping up standards

21 Jan

BIM: Keeping up standards | RIBAJ.

Standards are like speed limits: you know they are there for a reason, sometimes they seem a little unreasonable, but when you break them and something goes wrong, they all begin to make sense. Some companies are better than others at following and enforcing them. What we find, time and again, is that those firms who are better have fewer surprises – and the capability to increase the workforce on any project with little fuss or complication.

Standards have evolved. In the early days of CAD it was enough to dictate the look and appearance of drawings: the annotation styles, the appearance of section markers, draw­ing borders and so on. BIM isn’t just about drawings, it’s about making the right information available to the right people at the right time.

When preparing standards, consider in addition to the technical standards for BIM (file and layer naming and spatial co-ordination), the process for moving your information through a common data environment.

Understand how your information in ‘Work In Progress (WIP)’ is developed, and the necessary procedures for sharing with the design team. Proper validation is critical to efficient data sharing and essential to collaborative design, leading to less ambiguity and more robust construction data further along the design chain.

PAS1192-2 extends the information in BS1192-2 and applies it to a BIM workflow, starting by defining exactly what the client requires of the information to be supplied. This understanding will allow you to model the right information and input the correct amount of meta-data that the client and the extended design team need, when it is needed.


BIM is a process, not a piece of software. While you still need the technical standards the process of developing information, the amount of detail you model and how you share that information is equally important. In order to deliver projects using BIM, you will need to ensure you’re following a standard (singular).

Best Practices for Collaborating in Revit

12 Dec

Best Practices for Collaborating in Revit | AUGI.

Note: The definition of a successful BIM project is one that delivers a good quality product and one that is profitable.

Part 1:    Managing Expectations

Establishing and understanding expectations from each design team member

A successful Autodesk® Revit® project goes beyond knowing the technical side of BIM software. There are important topics that need to be considered at the beginning of each project, long before the first element is even modeled. Some of these important topics and questions are listed below.

Revit models contain extensive amounts of rich and intelligent data, and the use and application of these Revit models are virtually endless. Therefore, it is extremely important to establish boundaries for the Revit models with the architect, owner, and contractor. This means that you will need to come to some understanding and agreement of the expectations among team members for what the Revit model contains and what it is to be used for.

Critical questions to ask at the beginning of each project:

  • What is the intended use of the Revit model?

Coming to an agreement on the use of the Revit model with the architect, owner, and contractor will establish how much modeling effort there needs to be. Is the Revit model to be used just for architectural and structural coordination, or are there other disciplines involved in the 3D coordination effort? Will the Revit model be part of the deliverable as a contract document in which the contractor uses it to build from?

  • What must be submitted at each phase of the project?

Is the Revit model expected to be delivered with the 2D drawings at schematic design? What about at development design and construction document phases?

  • Between the architect and the structural engineer, who is modeling what?

The architect, structural engineer, and other design team members will need to come to an understanding about who is modeling which elements in each of their respective models. This could be done by a checklist that simply lists all the elements on the project and then assigning an element to each design team member.

Bear in mind that some elements overlap and more than one design team member may want to model these elements; floor slabs, for example. This checklist will also help establish who is ultimately responsible for the size and location of the elements in the 3D models.

  • Are the management, organization, and exchange of the architectural and structural Revit models planned in advance?

A well-planned program between the architect, structural engineer, and other design professionals that establishes how each model is organized and how each Revit model will be exchanged will help the coordination process and eventually create a well-coordinated set of 2D documents.

Part 2: Coordination

What software are your clients/consultants using?

The ideal model setup for coordination is for each consultant to use Revit. At the outset of a project, it would be best to identify what software each design team member intends to use so that any problems with interoperability can be foreseen.

During the course of a project, upgrades or changes to the version of a software package can occur. It is best practice to allow for this when dealing with consultants who might not want to upgrade to newer software.

If a design team member is still using something as basic as 2D CAD, it is still perfectly feasible to make use of this kind of information in a Revit model, either as background linework or as lines upon which to trace particular items using some of the native tools for items such as grids, levels, walls, and beams.

The easiest way to coordinate

The easiest way to achieve efficient coordination is to get all of the design team to agree on a logical structure for the Revit model. This could be achieved via a BIM standards project. Creating project standards for items such as the software in use, file naming, sheet naming, and so on, can go a long way in creating a more efficient environment for the coordination efforts on a large job. This also results in a well-coordinated set of documents between all the design consultants, S-101A / A-101A

How can this be recorded?

When working on very large Revit models that may be set up with Worksharing or Worksets, it is a very good practice to include comments when performing a “Save to Central” so that at particular times the model can be saved to another copy or rolled back if necessary.

Another method to record the evolution of the Revit model is to use reporting tools within Revit to save html reports of the interferences in the model. These can be useful to send to consultants to communicate where potential clashes are occurring. The consultant can then use tools such as “Select by ID” to find the pertinent members in the model.

Coordinating with non-Revit design team members

For very large Revit models, the combination of all discipline’s models may require Autodesk® Navisworks. The use of such software can make it easier to clash check and visualize very large or complex models, especially if some of the design team members are not using the Revit platform.

One of the many useful tools that Revit has for coordination in conditions where a multi-platform BIM is in effect is the use of the 3d DWF file which is a very lightweight file that can be emailed if necessary.

Revit is able to batch export 2D or 3D CAD files from the model. This can make it very easy to work with non-Revit consultants that require DWG or DGN files for coordination. The export of such files is very streamlined and should be tailored to suit the standard layer and linetype setup for the company CAD standards.

Who owns what? The new area of BIM contracts

With BIM technology maturing, new issues are appearing. One of these involves the determination of who owns the final Revit model. Deciding who will be ultimately responsible for the complete model at the conclusion of a project, or who will be maintaining as-built models for the project, will help  avoid repeat work or unnecessary survey work.

Other decisions that are critical to efficiency are items such as whether the fabricator or detailer will be working from the model. Also, the consequences of sharing the digital model with the contractor could have a positive influence on the communication of the design and execution on site.

These issues should be covered in the contracts for BIM projects so that lines are set up for each member of the design team. Our office sets all this language in the terms and conditions of each contract and it is also referenced in the general notes of the contract documents.

Summary of Methods for Well-Coordinated Documents in Revit

  • Set up linked views that show only specific elements and control this with view templates in each design team’s Revit model. This way, when the models are linked there no extra elements showing.
  • Consider project size before linking/importing.
  • The modeler should be aware of the frequency of revisions (weekly, bi-weekly?) of the other models.
  • Origin (0,0,0) should be maintained throughout all design team members’ drawings.  This is much more crucial than in 2D drawings.
  • The standard organization can work for smaller projects, but custom organization may be necessary for larger, more complex projects.
  • Customize for intuitive understanding for others who may work on the model.
  • Use “Project Parameters” and apply to Views for custom organization (e.g., “For Reference Only” or a separation of “Perspective” and “Orthographic” for 3D views may be necessary).
  • Keep in mind that copy/monitoring elements depends on the project and that there is no absolute standard.
  • Consider the fact that the party responsible for the geometry (e.g., slab outline – architect) may be different than the party responsible for its properties (e.g., slab thickness and reinforcement – engineer).
  • Coordination Review can be used only after copy/monitoring is set up and there will even be an automatic notification.
  • Create/save the HTML Coordination Review Report once Coordination Review is completed, then export to Excel format. Excel allows better organization and manipulation of data.
  • Identify the person responsible for the “actions” (manager or modeler). Do not ignore the “add comments” option for recordkeeping purposes.
  • Exporting to AutoCAD® is useful for design team members who do not use Revit.
  • 2D DWF may work better than 2D PDF for simpler viewing and printing.
  • When exporting to 3D DWG, check the level of detail (e.g., Coarse, Medium & Fine). Structural members in fine detail show even the fillet radius adding additional geometry that may not be necessary.
  • 3D ADT exporting from Revit may not recognize all Revit objects such as foundations and coping of structural members.

Should This Project Be a “BIM Project”?

30 Jul

(bim)x: Should This Project Be a “BIM Project”?.

 BIM Decision Matrix – an algorithm that calculates which projects are candidates for BIM to add value. 

I would recommend considering the following project characteristics, based on the best available information. 

1. Construction Type (15)

New construction projects are best suited for BIM implementation, but renovation and maintenance projects can benefit depending on the overall scope of the project.

2. Program Complexity (18)

Teams see the value of BIM most easily on complex projects, such as labs and healthcare. However, factors in other types of programs can add value. For example, the replication of typical layouts in residential projects makes for good BIM utilization. 

3. Budget (25)

Budget is another major factor to consider in BIM implementation. The cost of implementing BIM becomes transparent on projects valued around $2M or greater. Plus, budget is a pretty good indicator of the scale of a project – another factor. 

4. Schedule/Timing (7)

Schedule impacts the potential value a project gets from BIM because of the mobilization time often required. The further along a project is, the lower the opportunity for using BIM.

5. Project Delivery Method (14)

Projects with a more collaborative contract form will benefit slightly more from BIM than other projects.

6. Team BIM Capability (15)

Team BIM capability can really impact the value a project gets from BIM. Honestly, the better project partners are at BIM, the easier it is to implement BIM!

7. Existing Building Documentation (6)

The form of existing building documentation is especially important for renovation and maintenance projects. Existing BIM data is the most useful; although CAD and laser scan data can serve as meaningful baselines when used properly. 

If you want to compare a few projects, you can use the numerical values included at the end of each factor. Use your best judgment to assign values to each category, and then add them up. The higher the number, the more likely it is that a project will benefit from BIM implementation. Considered 65+ a “proceed” with BIM implementation,

between 45 and 65 an “investigate” BIM implementation, and

below 45 a “reconsider” BIM implementation.

I keep this list at seven factors to stay in line with Miller’s Law. It really is easier to remember seven things. But of course, these are probably just a few of the factors.