Getting a structured BIM Strategy

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In 2011 the UK Government Construction Strategy mandated the use of Level 2 BIM on all public sector projects by 2016

Recently the promotors of this initiative declared that this bold decision, which led to government and the construction industry working together, was a success, since it contributed to the savings of £804m in construction costs in 2013/14.

However, most of the savings came from major projects like Cross Rail, the 2012 Olympics, and the Cookham Wood Prison which were led by major companies.

At the start of 2015, the UK Government published the Level 3 Building Information Modelling – Strategic Plan where you have not only to do BIM inside your firm, but to collaborate with others on this methodology.

So the question to ask is: “Is the whole supply chain ready to embrace and integrate BIM in its processes? Are all companies ready for a next step?”

The strategy designed by the government was written in a way that gives more focus on the model itself and less in the several outputs that each stakeholder should take from it. And so the doubt persists: what are you doing with the model? Clash detection? Sure, I imagined you were since it is the first typical output everyone is getting from BIM. But how about quantity takeoff, cost planning, scheduling, production control? Yes? But are you doing everything in an integrated way or are you importing/exporting between several sorts of software with lots of rework and waste? Don’t answer, I believe I know what you will say.

To integrate BIM in the construction cycle (design, build and maintain), you need much more than simple software training. BIM revolutionises the culture inside of companies and communication with their partners.

During the past 8 years, we have been working with several construction companies helping them to develop a BIM process that integrates the whole process. BIM brings a paradigm shift so we want to do it wisely and not create barriers to its adoption.

It’s very difficult to change an “artist” into a “scientist,” to change mentalities and abandon the idea of building as an “art” and face it more as a “science”. The culture and values of the organisation must be aligned with the new approaches. Empowerment, sharing, teamwork, etc., are characteristics that are not very common in the construction business, but things are changing. The problem is not methodology or technology – the main problem is changing mentalities. It is important to accept that not everyone will be receptive to new processes, either for fear of being overtaken by the colleagues, information overload (such as an abundance of e-mails going around), lack of time, or a general lack of motivation.

So you should orient your training to what is the reality of your company and the results you expect from BIM. For BIM implementation in a construction company, the training should be oriented to producing a multifunctional/ multi-skilled team. They should have knowledge of shop-drawings, extracting quantities, scheduling, estimating, and time and cost control. If not, we will end up with separate departments targeting different goals, bringing along more inefficiency.

Our Implementation Process

We often see many builders implementing “Hollywood BIM” in their processes. This is modelling without a proper quality control and using it only for clash checking and maybe for a one time construction simulating.

But it is not common to see companies investing in reducing the gaps between departments, using BIM as a methodology and technology that promotes the integration of data amongst departments. Especially in big companies, different departments work as isolated silos which have the goal to transfer the risk between them and to reach performance indicators that are from the department, and not of the project or company.

It is quite common for people to say to us that one of the problems of BIM is that it makes the process too transparent between companies. But actually this “problem” of transparency occurs also inside the companies. People are pushed to be more professional since their work can be audited easily. But… this should be a good thing and not a problem!

Every time we are invited to work with a company to revolutionise their processes, we structure an implementation strategy composed of 5 steps:

  • Diagnosis (to the actual processes so we understand the inefficiencies of it);
  • Procedures Development (based on our knowledge and the knowledge collected in the diagnosis);
  • Training (adapted to the company reality);
  • Simulated Pilot (using past site data, teams will consolidate the knowledge simulating the site on BIM environment); and
  • Real Pilot (oriented by us and with a parallel process so it is possible to evaluate the benefits of BIM).

ndBIM Virtual Building

We are an architect, engineering and project management consulting and services company of excellence, specialised in BIM methodology, composed by professionals with over 8 years of BIM implementation in the field. We have a strong presence in Portugal and Brazil, and currently we are being invited to work worldwide.

We monitor the market environment and development, assessing client needs & requirements, embracing state of the art techniques in order to systematically improve our services with innovative and competitive solutions that earn our client’s trust.

Our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realise their full potential. ndBIM addresses this challenge by continuing our longstanding commitment and leadership in developing innovative BIM process solutions and building collaborative relationships with a wide range of organisations to raise awareness of the importance of BIM to the industry.

BIM Management Institute

ndBIM is also the coordinator of the BIM Management Institute initiative. Through this initiative we intend to promote a constant exchange of knowledge offering the industry an online platform for knowledge sharing (www.bimmi.org) and the Annual BIM International Conferences. This year, we are going to innovate, dividing the conference between two cities (Oporto and Madrid) hoping to abolish frontiers and promote a collaborative BIM development. In the following years, other countries will be challenged to join us.

António Ruivo Meireles

Founder of ndBIM Virtual Building

armeireles@ndbim.eu

skype: antonio.r.meireles

www.ndbim.com

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