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BIM - No Shortcuts

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

The buzz around #BIM is growing rapidly, with an increasing number of individuals and resources discussing its significance. BIM is often referred to as software that demands considerable time and resources.

However, transitioning from #CAD to #BIM is more about embracing change than simply adopting new software. This transformation profoundly impacts our working methodologies and extends far beyond a mere software selection. It entails a series of comprehensive changes, financial investments, and dedicated hours of training.

BIM Workflow

Let's delve into the BIM workflow by examining the renowned Mac Leamy Curve, which effectively illustrates the relationship between decisions made throughout a project's timeline. The graph demonstrates that decisions made during the early design stages have a greater impact on the project while incurring lower costs.

As the project progresses through various stages, the ability to influence costs gradually diminishes while expenses escalate. In the traditional CAD design process, more effort and cost are allocated to the documentation phase. Conversely, the BIM process necessitates greater exertion during the initial project stages, gradually tapering off as it reaches the Design Development Stage. This discrepancy arises from the fact that in CAD, during the early design phases, we often lack sufficient information about the project, impeding our ability to make well-informed decisions.

MacLeamy curve (2004) The ability to impact cost during a project, Redrawn by breakwithanarchitect
MacLeamy curve (2004) The ability to impact cost during a project, Redrawn by breakwithanarchitect

The graph clearly illustrates a fundamental disparity between CAD and BIM concerning the value of changes throughout the design process. In CAD, changes hold relatively less significance, whereas in BIM, changes carry significantly greater value. This discrepancy arises from the fact that when utilizing BIM, we leverage a wealth of information that surpasses what is available in CAD. Consequently, during the initial stages of the project, we can thoroughly examine and validate early decisions, ensuring their accuracy.

As a result, as the project progresses to subsequent stages, the likelihood of potential changes and errors is minimized. This proactive approach not only minimizes risks but also maximizes the impact on cost reduction. By addressing and resolving issues at the early stages through BIM, we effectively mitigate costly modifications and optimize the overall project outcome.


Old ways won't open new doors

Picture a complete 3D model brimming with intelligence—that's the beauty of the BIM model. When practising BIM, every object within the model possesses a wealth of knowledge related to its size, material, position, delivery, construction details, and even physical and thermal properties. For instance, a window in the BIM world transcends its physicality, encompassing energy performance parameters, glazing options, insulation specifications, and much more. This holistic approach extends to all elements, empowering professionals to predict overall building performance, estimate costs, and streamline the entire lifecycle of a structure.


Garbage in Garbage out

In BIM, information extraction begins with information creation. The quality of the information you generate directly impacts the quality of your outcomes. This underscores the importance of establishing office standards, consistent libraries, and well-defined protocols and workflows. To fully reap the time-saving benefits of BIM, creating accurate and valid data is non-negotiable. Remember the age-old adage, "Garbage in, garbage out." To avoid this pitfall, you need comprehensive element properties, names, information and tagging, parameters, libraries, and a clear hierarchy. Seek the assistance of trained BIM professionals and software experts to navigate this process successfully.


A goal wIthout a plan is just a wish

Information management is a vital component of the BIM landscape. Here, a variety of software tools, coupled with BIM documentation, empower you to effectively manage the vast volumes of information across different stages of the model. Information exchange occurs within your team and extends to other sector teams, whether housed in-house or outside your office. To ensure clarity, accountability, and ownership, it's crucial to track, document, and authorize these exchanges.

Ownership issues and authority for approval are key considerations in information management. Thus, a well-thought-out management strategy is essential to avoid mistakes and confusion during the transition to BIM. This is where the role of a BIM manager/trainer/professional becomes pivotal. They oversee the training of the design team and the implementation of new processes, tailoring strategies to suit your company's unique DNA, organizational structure, and functional limits. ISO 19650 series introduces a structured approach to information management. Read more here:

How to start

1. Select the best in your design team

Any change can be daunting, so start by selecting team members who are enthusiastic about technology and possess sound knowledge of the construction field. Your initial BIM team should consist of individuals with leadership qualities and experience across various stages of the construction process.

2. Find the right pilot project

The first pilot project should strike a balance—it shouldn't be too small or too large. Opt for a medium-sized project that your team has worked on before. For smaller companies, this pilot project will serve as the foundation for developing office standards and libraries. Medium or large companies with diverse construction types may require two or three pilot projects. Time allocation is crucial for successful implementation, so ensure your team has sufficient time to balance daily assignments and the pilot project. Establish a clear separation between work and learning at the initial stages.

3. Select the right BIM professional for the training

Choose a BIM professional who possesses expertise in the BIM process and software, as well as experience in training and construction management projects. This professional will help eliminate confusion and misunderstandings, planning and organizing the best solutions for a seamless transition to BIM based on your office's unique needs.

Panagiotidou Nicoleta, BIM specialist for Breakwithanarchitect

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BIM training by BIM Design Hub introduces you to the concepts and principles of Building Information Modeling, BIM, in line with ISO 19650 and provides sufficient skills and knowledge of the BIM process, standards and guidelines that support the digitalization of the construction industry.

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