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BIM Protocols, Implementation and Execution Plans Video

This is a short video I created aimed at providing an introductory awareness of BIM, from zero forwards. This particular video focus on the BIM protocols  and was created in 2014. The work has been supported by multiple existing research and statements made by industry and academic individuals which I’ve then collated and interpreted into my own perspective.

 

Links to Coventry University, where we have a selection of courses that include BIM and Construction – Coventry University – School of Energy, Construction and Environment

 

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BIM, success or failure, leap or crawl? (Processes and Protocols)

BIM, success or failure, leap or crawl? In this article I’m going to question whether BIM protocols and improved collaborative and integrated working processes can be the lasting legacy of BIM regardless of technology take-up.  Should companies concentrate on getting the processes and people aspects of BIM implementation right before considering what technology aspects of BIM to adopt?

 

Picture1

http://bim.psu.edu/

Project Execution Plans (PEP) and Project Implementation Plans (PIP) are an area where quick, cheap and effective steps can be made in the early stages of BIM adoption.  Small or large companies can use these tools or documents during the implementation stages of project at relatively small costs as compared to actually implementing the technology platform needed to run a BIM project.  The documents if anyone is familiar to them will be aware are not a radical new concept, there are clear similarities to any existing planning documents that firms have set up internally for projects. Other BIM protocol documents such as the Pas 1192-2 have additional reference and guidance for a  BIM strategy outlining project  planning, structure, sharing and modelling protocols etc.

 

By at the very least adopting integrated planning structure of BIM project firms would be able to get the people and processes aspects of BIM right first, reap the benefits and then get the technical aspects ironed out either immediately after the BIM protocols and people structure has been established or even further down the line. Now some firms may be able to make the leap in one go, but others firm may require a more gentle transition period. The danger of making a great leap is that the early end spending may not be directed in the long term right direction. It’s not unheard of for companies to spend a huge amount on BIM models or technology before even having a clue on what they actually want to achieve through BIM adoption.

 

To briefly outline BIM protocols; BIM protocols are the setting up and adherence to processes and procedures that are part of BIM. Documents such as the Implementation Plans and the Project Execution Plans are used to outline the goals, skills, protocols, responsibilities and many other aspects of a BIM project at an early stage.  Whilst in their current reference these types of documents are often referred to as BIM projects tools or plans I believe they could have a wider use across a multitude of projects, from basic standard construction projects right the way through to international research projects. Protocols and Executions Plans can be used to take a team beyond the initial brief into and through a project from start to finish providing clarity on what rules and procedures the team should adhere to, in a pre-agreed and documented format.

 

pas 1192 use

http://shop.bsigroup.com/forms/PASs/PAS-1192-2/

One of the major benefits of at least adopting BIM protocols first  is that as mentioned trough reducing initial outlay the leap into BIM can be less of a leap and more of a steady passage.  Another factor to consider is that by tackling the people and organisational aspects first you can skip the nervous and often ill-informed leap of purchasing a costly full software package deal before even knowing what you want out of BIM leading to multiple problems further down the line. The kind of problems I’m eluding to are ones such as being tied into a proprietary vendor, or not considering the actual companies or clients (depending on who’s the driver into BIM)  requirements for the first or future BIM projects. Making these leaps into the technology aspects of BIM before fully understanding what you hope to get out of it, or maybe more importantly what you actually need out of a BIM project could be extremely costly. I have seen many testaments of companies purchasing astronomical amounts of software before even having a real clue as to what BIM or BIMM actual is and what it means for the firm beyond that of buzz word adoption. If a company is going to invest in BIM they need to be sure that they have sifted through the initial stages of the BIM wash and have begun to really evaluate and establish what BIM can do for them as an outfit.

 

frugalqueen.wordpress.com

frugalqueen.wordpress.com

Many people are getting BIM the wrong way round and coming unstuck when they have a flashy and pretty BIM model, or should I say 3D model as it is in most cases and not actually understanding what kind of data or processes they want to draw off from the BIM process as a whole.

 

Many people talk about the top>down approach of implementation i.e. getting the directors and managers to agree on the push for BIM and then look at the ‘down’ or general staff and assess what needs to be done in regards to training and technology etc. One step that I feel could get the ‘top’ on board more easily could be to present the notion of improving the simple and low costs things first to improve the methods and protocols of working.  By implementing BIM protocols you can make quick gains in efficiency and processes with little outlay which could then be used as leverage to encourage any doubting bosses. In an ideal world all parties would be on board at a firm from the get go but this is obviously not always possible in reality. There are still factions out there that don’t understand BIM enough yet or are simply not encouraged enough by the current arguments to wholly make any huge leap. It’s often the case in business to adopt the ‘let’s see what everyone else does first’ policy.

 

With all these fluctuating variables coming into to play, getting the people working more efficiently and truly collaborative from the outset of projects could be one of the key lasting legacies of BIM as the area naturally metamorphosis’ and evolves over its lifespan.  Certain processes, technology and aspects of BIM may fade over time, but the people involved, providing there’s no radical automated robotic takeover of the industry, will be there for the long run so getting the people aspects right makes sense, doesn’t it?

 

To put a delicate twist on my opening line; BIM, success or failure, leap or crawl, BIM protocols and improved collaborative and integrated working processes can be the lasting legacy of BIM at the very least I hope.

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What should we be assessing in BIM Education?

What should we be looking to assess in regards to BIM in education today? Also what should we be looking to assess in the future as all parties, industry, education and research knowledge of the best BIM practices and processes evolves?  The UK Government is attempting to establish BIM learning outcomes and such but I’d like to hear first-hand off people actively involved in BIM what they feel should be assessed and taught  in Higher Education

 

Over the past few months I’ve discussed many topics revolving around BIM, the what, the why and the drivers. This week I want to follow on from a previous article on ‘The challenges of integrating BIM into Higher Education’. Many parties are now in consensus that we need to be integrating BIM in some shape or form into academic curriculum at HE level. But what exactly should we be teaching and just as important what should we be assessing students on in BIM?

 

http://www.coventry.ac.uk/

http://www.coventry.ac.uk/

Teaching BIM in my opinion is just as much about the people and processes as it is the technology, maybe even more so. This is because if you don’t get the collaborative processes right than how can you expect your staff or students to begin to tackle the more technical aspects of BIM. For members of a team to be able to accept a change in their working process there needs to be an understanding as to why any change is being pushed.  For some this maybe a slight adjustment but for many this maybe a complete culture change.   The whole business view reflects the ground level people view in this respect in that some companies are already practicing collaborative working and in office protocols etc. so they will only need minor adjustments where as other companies may need to make wholesale changes to adapt to BIM processes.

 

If education is to provide the construction industry with graduates that have the applicable skills which are required by industry then education institutes need to ensure that the skills that are being taught in lectures and classes are relevant to the realities of an ever evolving industry.  One of the key challenges I see for BIM education curricular and assessment is being able to continually keep up to date with the changing nature of the construction industry. As I’m sure many of you are aware industry guidelines and practicing policy can often change almost as often as a change in the wind.  Just look at the UK planning guidelines fiasco with bringing in changes and then making abrupt turns in policy. The same can be said for schemes like the feed in tariffs for the solar panel industry.

 

sourced - google images

sourced – google images

With this in mind I feel it’s imperative that academia tries to keep their finger on the pulse as best as reasonable possible in regards to BIM curricular. And yes this may mean that lecturers may spend weeks preparing a module syllabus only to have to completely rework it a year or two later.  Gone are the days when a lecturer can get away with turning up with the same PowerPoint’s and coursework’s year on year for 10-20 years! Well that my opinion at least.  With a continually evolving industry we need a continually evolving and adapting curriculum.  This practice should not only be restricted to BIM teaching it should be the ethos across all courses.  Many courses today are based technical aspects of the industry and with anything technical it continually gets updated and altered year on year; I’m thinking Autodesk policy here!  Culture changes are generally less regular but in the case of BIM beyond the overall wider culture change aspect there is multiple smaller changes down the BIM road. This is a natural progression as BIM feels it way through it implementation.

 

With all this in mind I’d like to evoke some discussion on what should we be looking to assess in regards to BIM in education today? Also what should we be looking to assess in the future as all parties, industry, education and research knowledge of the best BIM practices and processes evolves?  The UK Government is attempting to establish BIM learning outcomes and such but I’d like to hear first-hand off people actively involved in BIM what they feel should be assessed and taught  in Higher Education. Please feel free to join the discussion below with you thoughts and opinions. 

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What does openBIM, IFC’s and COBie actually mean for BIM?

This weeks article looks at giving a brief explanation of OpenBIM, COBie and IFC’s whilst also asking a few questions on what all this means for the future of software vendors. What does openBIM, IFC’s and COBie actually mean for BIM?. With Autodesk holding a 63% (NBS National BIM Survey) share of the CAD drawing market what affect will this have on open BIM for the future? What does open BIM actually mean and what are these COBie files that we keep hearing about? With these points in mind this week’s article will focus on open and closed BIM and the interoperability of BIM software as well as asking one or two questions about what all this means for the future of an open BIM collaborative working environment.

Closed BIM generally refers to when BIM processes are carried out on a single platform whereas open BIM refers to when the BIM environment crosses multiple platforms regardless of the software vendor, in essence an ‘open’ shareable design environment using open standard data.

To achieve an open BIM project environment information needs to be shared/exported to a non-proprietary format, such as IFC’s. Currently there are strong opinions and voices behind the drive towards open BIM with the Government specifying in the BIS-BIM-strategy-Reports that Maturity Level 4 BIM should achieve “Fully open process and data integration enabled by IFC/IFD.” Many individual BIM experts are also pushing for the drive towards an open standard BIM future.
Sourced from - BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011) BIM Data integration COBie IFC

Sourced from – BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011)

To briefly explain what IFC data formats are, they are in essence an ‘open’ and neutral data format which set a data standard which if utilised can assist in the ‘interoperability’ between software packages. As stated by BuildingSMART  “Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are the open and neutral data format for openBIM.” The data standard which has been developed by Building SMART international, if adhered to enables for the exchange of models and information between multiple software types, in essence achieving interoperability.

Interoperability is a significant word which if involved in BIM already you will be more than familiar with, if not it’s something that you will begin to understand the significance as you progress further into the world of BIM. For files and models to be shared and merged amongst multiple analysis tools and offices they need to be ‘interoperable’. If software packages have the ability to be interoperable then it means that time can be saved through not having to continually redevelop new building geometry for each tool that you wish to utilise to carry out your various analysis.  The importance of this interoperability of files and models across all the teams involved within a BIM project is a pressing concern within BIM which is continually being intensely developed.  Interoperability is a key factor that needs to be drummed home when considering BIM and is seen as being a key component in the future success of BIM projects and needs to be carefully considered at every step.

If the work produced by varying teams is carried out and outputted in an interoperable manner then it allows for multiple teams to work collaboratively on a project without necessarily holding the same software skills and licences. When reading and encountering BIM these are key words that you will soon become familiar with; interoperability, collaborative working, shareable data, data integration, IFC’s, data sharing protocols to name a few….all of these words and terms hope to lead the construction industry to one place, a ‘fully open process’ and working environment.

COBie is another tool that is also vastly becoming synonymous with BIM. COBie is a tool which allows for a multitude of non-graphical data and information to be stored in an organised manner, in essence a spreadsheet. All of this data can then be handed over to the client/facilities management department allowing for easy access to a multitude of details post-completion without having the unenviable task of sifting through a mass of fragmented documentation looking for specific details such as the manufacturer’s contact details of a door handle! With COBie the intention is that all of this information can be kept in an up-datable database which can be easily accessed and kept up to date throughout the whole life cycle of a building, from concept through to demolition. Interesting further reading on COBie can be found at NBS by Stephen Hamil.

Sourced from http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/cobie-uk-2012/ BIM COBie Spreadsheet

Sourced from http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/cobie-uk-2012/

It is argued that this topic of interoperability of file formats and software packages will be a major factor in determining BIM’s success and whether it’s a smooth transition from isolated design practices to a truly collaborative BIM environment. Software programmes such as REVIT can sometimes be referred to as closed BIM, but I feel this is not a clear defined point as REVIT does have the capability to export file types in the ‘open’ BIM IFC format which allows for interoperability between designs and models. For instance REVIT can export all of the information and modal data from REVIT in the IFC data format which can then be imported into various other software packages, beyond the Autodesk circle of software.  So with this in mind you have to be careful when considering what is truly open BIM and what is closed BIM as the boundaries are not always clear.

The voices behind ‘open’ BIM are actively encouraging BIM practitioners to utilise the IFC data formats and open BIM standards, with part of the hope that no one software vendor will have a monopoly on the market. According to the recent NBS NationalBIM Survey 2013, within the scope of their research pool Autodesk currently hold a 63% share of the CAD drawing market so clearly they have a large proportional share of the market. What will be interesting over the years to come will be to see how this large market share affects the progression and evolution of BIM in the coming years. Will Autodesk’s share open up or close down the interoperability of BIM? Are Autodesk going to be happy to push forward with open BIM or is it in their interest to actually tie practitioners into their product package? This is something that will be interesting to see how it pans out and how far down the open BIM road BIM can progress with Autodesk and the other software contenders a clear defining factor in how ‘open’ BIM becomes.

 

To collaborate efficiently with a goal at reducing cost, time and carbon central to the ethos of BIM then in my opinion surely we need to push forward with an open approach to BIM sharing standards. I feel that with the research being continually progressed by the likes of BuildingSMART, NBS and the OPEN BIM Network as well as many others a collaborative open BIM future is possible and with the likes of the big guns within the software industry supposedly on board than surely it’s just a case of how do we get there rather than should we head in that direction?

 

Do you feel an open BIM future is or should be the only way forward for BIM or do you think one software vendor will end up ruling the roost and lock down the market? Please feel free to add to the discussion further.

 

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

 

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What is BIM? Part 2 – Building Information Modelling and BIM Maturity Levels

It’s clear that BIM’s popularity is on the rise, with an estimated 47% of the participants who took part in the NBS National BIM Survey 2013 stating that at some point they had reached Level 2 BIM. What I’m interested in hearing this week is how far down the BIM maturity levels are you today and what gains do you feel BIM tools and protocols are bringing to your design and management processes? A look at the BIM levels of maturity and BIM for Professions ;
 
How we use BIM tools can differ depending on each each party involved, whether you’re coming from an Architects point of view or whether you’re looking at it from the Facilities Management angle, what gains you take away from following BIM practices can vary. Some of you out there may see and use BIM tools purely to enhance the communication of 3D designs in an isolated design environment.  While others may be at BIM ‘Maturity Level 1’, still preferring to work in 2D yet adopting the ‘Information’ protocol aspects of BIM to enhance file based collaboration. According to the NBS National BIM Survey 2013  47% of you out there have already at some point reached BIM ‘Maturity Level 2’, which is great news for BIM. Within the same NBS National BIM Survey 2013  8% stated that they have reached the iBIM Level 3 of maturity at some point, working within a fully collaborative and integrated environment, does this mean the future is surely bright for?
 
The UK Government has mandated that all public building projects will have to be using BIM design processes at level 2, fully collaborative 3D BIM with Library Management, or higher by 2016. To briefly outline the levels of maturity to give you a general idea of what all this means here is the BIS-BIM-strategy-Reportsmaturity level definitions;

Sourced from - BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011) BIM maturity Level BIM task group

Sourced from – BIS-BIM-strategy-Report (2011)

0.Unmanaged CAD probably 2D, with paper (or electronic paper) as the most likely data exchange mechanism.

 
1.Managed CAD in 2 or 3D format using BS 1192:2007 with a collaboration tool providing a common data environment, possibly some standard data structures and formats. Commercial data managed by standalone finance and cost management packages with no integration.
 
2.Managed 3D environment held in separate discipline “BIM” tools with attached data. Commercial data managed by an ERP. Integration on the basis of proprietary interfaces or bespoke middleware could be regarded as “pBIM” (proprietary). The approach may utilise 4D Programme data and 5D cost elements.
 
3.Fully open process and data integration enabled by IFC / IFD. Managed by a collaborative model server. Could be regarded as iBIM or integrated BIM potentially employing concurrent engineering processes.
 
This week additional to briefly discussing the Levels of BIM I’m going to be giving a brief outline of how BIM tools can assist a differing selection of disciplines;
 
BIM for Architectural Design and Modelling
As many are aware BIM models can be used to allow the designer to present and communicate 3D designs in a clear, easily accessible way for all to see. BIM models and information analysis packages provides a platform for multiple discipline teams to analysis, interrogate and navigate the project further, beyond the limitations of 2D design. Once the information is data dropped to the core model further clash detection analysis can take place, reducing issues and conflicts. As discussed earlier having all of the information centralised in one core model will inevitably lead to improved design and document efficiency. It is these added values that take BIM beyond that of a simple 3D visual model.
 
Sourced from- www.arupassociates.com ARUP BIM Structure Model ECB Coventry

Sourced from- www.arupassociates.com

BIM for Structural Modelling and Analysis

BIM software can assist the structural designer in their analysis of the structural performance of a structure. Employing one core structural model means that there is no need for multiple models to be created for each different structural analysis that’s needed. Time is saved through not having to continually transcribe information from one design package to another. All the related information to the project can then be easily shared and accessed by multiple project disciplines.
 
BIM for MEP Modelling, Detailing and Energy Analysis
Creating MEP details in a BIM model allows building service engineers’ and Architectural designers alike to be able to visually appreciate how the services within a design relate to the building as a whole, ensuring that clashes and issues are identified early on. Using MEP and energy analysis software many analytical programmes can be run to test the overall efficiency of the design. This should result in a circle of design – analysis – redesign, with an aim at establishing the most energy efficient design at as early stage as possible.
 
BIM for Programming and Scheduling (4D BIM)
BIM 3D models can be utilised to assist contractors in the programming and scheduling of BIM projects. This is achieved by adding programming and time data to a BIM project, once the data is married to the building project then the 4D programming schedule can be established. The 4D programme can then be used to assist contractors and designers to improve and refine the schedule of the project.
 
BIM for Quantity Schedules and Costing Information (5D BIM)
Quantity Surveyors and Designers are able to produce accurate quantity schedules and cost information for building projects. Standardised data can also be integrated into BIM models ensuring that all the building components meet the required Building Regulations. Your probably picking up on the theme here…. all of this information can then be stored and accessed within the BIM core model by all those involved in the project.
 
BIM for Facilities and Asset Management (6D BIM)
The management processes and time that it takes for a facilities management team to continually assess and maintain their asset stock can be considerable.  For instance if you think of a University estates team, with tens of buildings to manage trying to find a detail specification of a fixture or fitting in a building that was built 40 years previous you can imagine, it can be a tough task. Having all of the information available within one core model could be invaluable, at the click of a button the details, manufacturer, performance criteria and cost could be accessed almost instantaneously.

How far down the road of the BIM maturity levels do you feel you or your offices are at today? What gains if any, do you feel that BIM tools and protocols are bringing to your design and management processes within your working environment?
 
Feel free to comment and discuss the topic further.  
 
Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog. 
 

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