Thursday, 15 November 2012

Debunking 'BIM' Assumptions

Assumption 1: Model based integrated schedules are always correct
This is one of the (wrong) perceptions some people in the industry have about BIM enabled project delivery and poses one of the biggest risks in BIM project delivery. It isn’t questionable at all that schedules are fully integrated with 3D model, or 2D shapes for that matter, but a question ought to be asked is: How do we validate BIM model integrity to ensure that it meets project requirements at various phases of a project, resulting in accurate schedules rather than simply ‘integrated’ schedules?

Assumption 2: BIM expectations are clearly defined and communicated
This is another challenge I find, as a BIM Manager, when dealing with BIM project delivery. At this very moment in time, not all RFPs have BIM requirements and also the ones that have ‘BIM word’ in it do not have BIM expectations clearly defined, resulting in big clashes – no, I am not talking about 3D geometry here but expectations, yes big clashes of expectations especially when ‘geeky’ BIM Managers get involved. A true BIM Manager would know what to expect from a BIM Model, when, and how. So a receiving BIM Manager would have lot of ‘BIM expectations’ whereas delivering team would know less about those ‘BIM expectations’ because those expectations were never captured/communicated OR were not part of the overall project scope/fee. If ‘BIM expectations’ are not clearly defined and communicated to the team then how can you manage BIM modelling to meet those unknown expectations – quantity take off, 4D, 5D and so on.

Assumption 3: BIM improves communication
I have seen this many times in BIM presentations under ‘BIM Benefits’. I (partially) disagree with this. What is true is BIM facilitates improvement in communication but doesn’t improve it automatically. We still have to make efforts to seize the ‘BIM’ opportunity and improve communication. As you would agree, communication is the key to a successful BIM project delivery. In fact this applies to any type of project delivery but in BIM case, we have more reasons to improve communication otherwise it could be a big disaster and lead us to big clashes in expectations!

Assumption 4: BIM dramatically increases the accuracy of cost estimate

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

Assumption 5: BIM can provide complete quantity take-off to the cost estimator

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

Assumption 'n':  BIM ‘integrated’ schedules exported as spread sheets are not generated from BIM model
I wouldn’t have listed this here if I hadn’t come across a case very recently where BIM model exported ‘integrated’ schedule was exported/presented to client in spread sheet format – leading to a BIM advocate making a BIG assumption that the schedule was manually generated in Excel, casting serious doubt on BIM capability of the users who produced that schedule. IMHO, this could have been avoided in one of the two ways: 1) A little common sense with some fact finding 2) The team’s engagement in visual/model based schedules as oppose to spread sheet based schedules, as much as possible. Whatever that is, this case demonstrates a clear lack of communication and proves that BIM facilitates improvement in communication but does not necessarily improve for you. Efforts have to be made to improve communication and avoid clashes of expectations!

Do not make ‘BIM’ assumptions, instead get involved and work collaboratively. Collaborate, Communicate, Cooperate, and Coordinate as much as possible; as early as possible; and as regularly as possible in order to make your BIM project delivery a success.

I would love to hear from you about any ‘BIM’ assumptions you may have to deal with in order to ‘BIM’ execute your projects.

image courtesy AIA TAP and PT&C

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