Steve Faulkner, Associate Director responsible for BIM Management at the structural engineering company Elliott Wood, and member of the BIM4SME Core Group, reviews the importance of the Information Manager
The Government BIM Task Group is doing a sterling job in producing the BIM Level 2 Toolset. However, whilst the industry is developing their knowledge and becoming more enlightened in Building Information Modelling, what parts of the Toolset should be put into practice now?
BS1192:2007 is a good document, however, not many organisations adopted all of its recommendations. Most of us simply extracted the parts that added value; the drawing numbering. The same approach could apply to PAS1192-2, another good document, one which becomes clearer as one gains a better understanding of BIM.
We think it’s imperative that we all try to adhere to the general principles laid out in PAS1192-2 but on the other hand, we do not believe that all of its recommendations are required on every project – in some cases it may actually cause unnecessary confusion.
So, who decides what should be included in the Employers Information Requirements etc.? Well, The CIC BIM Protocol, widely accepted as the industry standard states:
“The Protocol requires the Employer to appoint a party to undertake the Information Management Role. This is expected to form part of a wider set of duties under an existing appointment and is likely to be performed either by the Design Lead or the Project Lead, which could be a consultant or contractor at different stages of the project. In some circumstances the Employer may appoint a stand-alone Information Manager. The Information Manager has no design related duties”.
Considering this, the secret to successful BIM could lie with the appointment of the Information Manager (IM). After all, in many instances it will be the IM who will advise the Client and instigate the route the BIM journey will take.
To capitalise on the current situation, we have seen the emergence of the BIM Consultant. Whether the Information Management is performed by a member of the Design Team or an external BIM Consultant is up for debate. There are pros and cons for both approaches; BIM Consultants are typically more aware of government protocol, but Designers generally deliver what is required for the project in hand.
Personally, we get frustrated having to trawl through overly complicated BIM documents trying to find the important bits. BIM documentation needs to be simple and concentrate on the key features. 10 pages of important information will likely get read, 200 pages of waffle will not, and the important bits will be lost in the process.
Additionally, it’s important that roles and responsibilities are agreed at the outset. We are working on a project where our initial structural Revit model was based on the Architect’s version. The Services Engineer had done the same. As a team we had had planned to co-ordinate the models in the forthcoming weeks (when the models were more complete). In the meantime the IM federated the Designer’s models, produced a list of every individual clash, and circulated a report indicating all of the clashes to the team for action – a complete waste of time!
As an overview, the IM’s role should be to work with the Lead Designer to facilitate and document the BIM process in order to make projects more efficient from concept though to facilities management. The BIM process can be as simple or as complicated as we want it to be.
We prefer the simple approach, and using a traditional procurement route we have attempted to outline the key roles of the Information Manager below:
RIBA Work Stages 0, 1, 2 and 3
The pre-contract information management may be managed by either one of the design team or an external BIM consultant.
• Stage 0 (Strategic Definition) – Government Soft Landings (GSL) & Information Manager (IM)
The Client appoints the IM. The IM, Client, and ideally the Design Lead should then review any lessons learned from previous projects (refer to Governments Soft Landings) and sets out the BIM Strategy for the project.
• Stage 1 (Preparation and Brief) – Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) & Model Production and Delivery Table (MPDT)
The IM produces the Employers Information Requirements (EIR); detailing the specific BIM requirements and inform the team what models are expected via a basic Model Production Delivery Table (MPDT).
• Stage 2 (Concept Design) – BIM Execution Plan (BEP)
The IM produces the Pre- Contract BIM Execution Plan (BEP) with the Design Team. The BEP shows how the requirements of the EIR will be delivered. A basic Common Data Environment (CDE) also needs to be established.
• Stage 3 (Developed Design) Model Production and Delivery Table (MPDT) & BIM Competency Assessment (BCA)
Develop the Model Production Delivery Table (MPDT) to include; models required, when, by whom and the Level of Development (LOD) expected. BIM Competency Assessment Forms are established to evaluate potential Contractors.
RIBA Work Stages 4, 5, 6 and 7
Post-contract, it is suggested that the lead contractor should take responsibility for the information management. It may be prudent for the pre contract IM to be retained Client side in an advisory/monitoring role.
• Stage 4 (Technical Design) – CDE, BIM Execution Plan (BEP), Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP)
The IM establishes the CDE for use by the entire Project Team. He then develops the Post Contract BEP to show how his Delivery Team will deliver the requirements of the EIR and include the Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP)
• Stage 5 (Construction) Project Information Model (PIM)
The IM federates the Project Information Model (PIM) by merging all of the models as required by the MPDT. Where models have been developed by a specialist (e.g. steelwork fabrication) these need to replace the Designer’s elements.
• Stage 6 (Handover & Close out) – Asset Information Model (AIM)
The IM then creates the Asset Information Model (AIM) ready for handover to FM. The AIM should be a true graphical representation of that constructed. Add metadata for maintenance purposes as required by the MPDT.
• Stage 7 (In Use) Facilities Management (FM)
PAS1192-3: 2014 Information Management in the Operational Phase introduced The ‘Organisation Information Requirements’ (OIR) and The ‘Asset Information Requirements’ (AIR). However these are for another article on another day.
Whoever performs the role of the IM, the important issue is they look at what the requirements are for the project in hand, and learn from previous mistakes. The IM should adhere to the principles of the government’s BIM Toolset, using the parts that add value, but most importantly, they need to keep things simple.
Associate Director at Elliott Wood and member of the BIM4SME Core Group