• breakwithanarchitect

BIM - No Shortcuts

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

There is a growing number of people and resources talking about #BIM. It has been said that BIM changes workflow, requires training, is expensive, complicated and a new software…

The bottom line: BIM is a process, not a software. The transition from #CAD to #BIM has to do more with change than anything else... This change affects the majority of our working methods and is much more than a selection of software. Indeed, the whole effort requires a number of changes, financial investment and training hours.

BIM Workflow

The following graph provides an explanation for the famous Mac Leamy Curve which describes the relationship between decisions taken during the timeline of a typical project. The graph demonstrates that the decisions made at early design stage have less cost and greater impact on the project.

The ability to impact cost during a project declines as the project develops though the various stages, while the cost increases. The traditional CAD design process requires more effort / cost when the project is in the documentation process, while the BIM process requires more effort at the beginning of the project stages and starts to decline at the Design Development Stage. The reason is that in CAD, at early stages of the design process, we don’t have adequate information about the project, so we cannot make 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 indicates that changes along the design process have less value in CAD, while in BIM changes have much more value. At this stage in the BIM workflow we use more infromation than in CAD, so that the early decicions can be tested and be more accurate. Thus, at the next stages of the project, the potential changes and errors are minimized and the impact on the cost reduction is maximized.

DESIGNOld ways won't open new doors

BIM design is an innovative 3D design involving a lot of information. When practicing BIM, your objects have “intelligence” related to their size, material, position, delivery, construction, physical and thermal properties, that you incorporate in your 3D model. For example, a window has energy performance parameters, single or double glazing, insulation and so on. This applies to all your elements. This process results in a fully integrated model which you as a professional, can use to predict overall building performance, cost and time in the whole lifecycle.


Garbage in Garbage out

In order to extract information you have to create it first. The better the information you create, the better your outcome will be. For this reason, you have to create office standards and consistent libraries. You have to set some protocols and workflows. To enjoy the benefits of BIM related to time saving procedures, you have to create good valid data. Do you know the phrase Garbage in – Garbage out? There is no other way around this. You need element properties, names, information and tagging, parameters, libraries and hierarchy. You are going to need some help for this. You need a trained BIM professional and a software expert to help you start.


A goal wIthout a plan is just a wish

Next, a variety of software tools combined with BIM documentation, allows you to manage the volume of information included in the various stages of the model. Information is shared inside your team, then to other sector’s teams which can be housed in or outside your office. All this information exchange has to be tracked, documented and authorized by various roles related to information management.

Some key considerations relate to ownership issues and authority for approval. For this reason, a management strategy is necessary to avoid mistakes and confusion when transitioning to BIM. At this point, the BIM manager / trainer/ professional who is responsible for the supervision of the design team training and new processes has a key assignment: each company has its own DNA, its unique organizational and functional limits, so different strategies should be applied to implement BIM.

How to start

1. Select the best in your design team

Every change is difficult; you should begin with the people that are enthusiastic with technology and have adequate knowledge of construction. The first BIM team in your office should be the team members that have leadership quality and experience in several stages of the construction process.

2. Find the right pilot project

The first pilot project should not be small or big, it should be a medium size project and a type of project that your team has worked before. With this in mind, for a small size company the first pilot project will serve as the basis to develop office standards and libraries. For a medium or large size company with a variety of construction types, the pilot project could be 2 or 3 pilot projects. Another important factor for the successful implementation of the pilot project is time. The team should have enought time to work with daily assignments as well as with the pilot project. A distinct seperation between working and learning should be made at the beginning.

3. Select the right BIM professional for the training

The right BIM professional is the one who has been trained in BIM process and software and has an experience in training and construction management projects. You need a professional to avoid confusion and misunderstandings, that will plan and organize the best solution for a smooth transition to BIM according to your office needs.

Panagiotidou Nicoleta, BIM specialist for Breakwithanarchitect

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