Monday, 10 February 2014

Stop Referring to Level 3 and Level 4 BIMs

Do they even exist? Does anyone know if Level 3 and Level 4 BIM exist?

In my opinion they DON'T exist yet. They might in the future future (definitely Level 3 BIM) but not at this moment in time. To be honest, many in the industry are struggling with Level 1 and Level 2 let alone Level 3 or Level 4??? Technologically and contractually, Level 3 and Level 4 (I don't even know what Level 4 BIM is) BIMs are not possible.

My polite request to developers, lawyers and project managers: Please do not refer to Level 3 and/or Level 4 BIM in your BIM requirements. They don't exist at this moment in time. (full stop)

For reference, see the famous diagram below. The UK industry is targeting to achieve Level 2 BIM (private clients as well as government) by 2016. Level 3 BIM is an idea at the moment and not defined fully.

So what is Level 2 BIM? What BIM deliverables should be included in a project that is aspiring to achieve Level 2 BIM?

See an image below that concludes everything. This was taken during a presentation by our 'BIM Mayor of London'. You know who he is!

In summary:

Level 2 BIM includes:

  1. CDE platform
  2. non-graphical data, either COBie or client specified data format
  3. 2D PDFs
  4. BIM protocol documents
  5. 3D models, native as well as a federated

Level 2 BIM DOESN'T mean***:

  1. Live cost data to  BIM models
  2. Live time data to BIM models
  3. Live FM data to BIM models
  4. Live asset management data to BIM models

***NB: All of the above "DOESN'T mean" can be linked with 3D geometry produced by Level 2 BIM process. In other words, 3D geometry produced as a result of Level 2 BIM process can have external link to a database that holds FM/AM/Cost information or in some cases that information can be embedded within 3D geometry. Also, if you manage to achieve all of the above "DOESN'T mean" doesn't mean that you are doing Level 3 or Level 4 BIM. You are still in 'silloed' Level 2 BIM where everyone works in their own BIM environment and contributes to a federated BIM environment.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Three Levels of BIM Implementation

From UK perspective, there are three (key) BIM Implementations levels that every business should be aware of and be engaged at.

The list below goes from smallest to biggest in scale.

1. Project Level
2. Business Level
3. National Level

Assumption: Council level implementation is included in National level.


This is the easiest level and smallest level of three. By now, most of us in UK are (should be) aware of necessary ingredients of successful BIM Implementation at project level. Some of which are:

  1. BIM Execution Plan (first and most important task)
  2. BIM Protocol (or BIM scope of services for project team)
  3. BIM trained project team
  4. Clearly defined project specific BIM roles, responsibilities and deliverables (part of BEP)
  5. BIM capable IT infrastructure
  6. Clear and regular communications
  7. Commitment

There is a plenty of guidance and material available at this level. BIM Task Group website is your official portal for this. EIR, PAS 1192-2, BS 1192:2007, plethora of BEP templates available on the web and CIC Information Manager scope of services are some of the important documents that can be useful in this.

To supplement this guidance material, there are plenty of project case studies published in the UK media as well as shared at BIM conferences around the country.

To summarise, we have plenty of proven case studies and guidance material available to guide you to achieve successful BIM Implementation at project level. While I am at this, I wouldn't mind sharing 100 Bishopsgate BIM Implementation link here as a reference.


This one is a tricky one. I have seen a lot of companies (failing) struggling with BIM because they either ignore the business level implementation completely or didn't give enough importance to it.

So why is business level BIM Implementation so important and should be addressed first before you address project level implementation? Mainly, because if the business is not clear about why it is implementing BIM then the project team is going to make their own assumptions and use BIM in a non-structured way without meeting any business goals.

Some of the items you should look at:

  1. BIM will involve considerable time+money investment so first of all business drivers behind its implementation need to be defined and understood. Without this you cannot go further in your BIM journey. 
  2. Define and understand your business BIM deliverables/capabilities targets
  3. Set yourself phased targets to achieve your BIM  deliverables/capabilities targets
  4. Define and understand Finance+IT+People resources required  to achieve your BIM deliverables/capabilities targets
  5. Define and understand change management process required to achieve your business BIM deliverables/capabilities targets and sustain that change
  6. Define and understand a plan/platform for BIM knowledge management
  7. KPIs
  8. Finally capture all of above (and any additional things you may want to cover) in a document and name it "BIM Implementation Strategy and Action Plan"
This is it. Simple as that.

Actually, not. It is not as simple as this list of 8 bullet points. Business level BIM Implementation requires you to think deep and many more issues such as:

  1. How is your legal team going to integrate BIM your contracts or respond to contracts you receive where BIM is mandatory?
  2. How are you going to supplement your bids team with additional skill for BIM technical submission?
  3. What is your HR plan for BIM team career progression?
  4. If you are a contractor, how are you going to integrate BIM within design management, QS, H&S, Planning, QA, Procurement, M&E, Commissioning etc.?
  5. Many more...list goes on and on

So it sounds like this level of BIM Implementation is very important. YES it is. Is there enough guidance and case studies available in the industry to address this? Unfortunately, NO. There is very little guidance and real case studies available on this matter. And to be honest, this is the area where majority of the companies could benefit by some guidance on. There are some case studies available but they mainly focus on ROI etc and shade very little light on how to integrate BIM at the business level irrespective of cost. To be honest, I have never understood the point of BIM ROI; maybe I am naive. Anyway, this is a discussion for some other time or may be not.

To summarise, Business Level BIM Implementation is the most important level and should be looked at first before you look at the Project Level BIM Implementation. However, to my knowledge there is no (real) guidance material available on this. I would be happy to be wrong on this comment. If so, please direct me and my blog readers to any material that you think can help with this matter.


BIM Task Group. (full stop)

In addition to the above link:

National BIM Library
BIM hubs
Various BIM4 groups
Various RUGs (and NUGs, AUGs, BUGs, TUGs, SUGs etc)


NB: My apologies for not including links to above; running out of time.

I don't have credential to say more on this level of BIM Implementation as our authentic national figures such as David Philip, Mark Bew, Mervin Richards and many others are driving BIM Implementation at UK level with success. And I am proud to be part of this implementation effort through my engagement at business level + project level BIM Implementation and public forums.

To summarise, BIM Implementation at UK level requires all publicly procured project to use Level 2 BIM by 2016. There is plenty of material available on this matter. Just visit the first link in this section.

Having shared my views on these three levels of BIM Implementation, in year 2014/2015 I hope we see some guidance material on Business Level BIM Implementation in UK BIM conferences or public media.