BIM implementation requires detailed planning as well as modification of standard design processes. BEP, i.e. BIM Execution Plan is a document which helps us with the implementation of this new technology. It is a living document updated during design works and prepared individually in accordance with the design and executive groups’ needs. Although the plan itself is created for the specific project, its creation process has common features.
In the first series of the articles concerning BEP (link to first part), we have learned that without well-specified and measurable goals we will not get far. The process of BIM implementation will not be consistent, and implementation effective.
In today’s post, we will take a closer look at a really important issue, namely the types of BIM uses in various project execution phases.
Table of Content
1. What BIM uses we can implement in our project?
When the BIM team specifies the measurable goals, both from the project and the company perspective, we should figure out and identify particular possible applications of BIM technology. The model itself, as well as the information contained in it, may be used in several ways through the whole lifecycle of the investment. Starting from planning through design, execution finishing with the property management phase. The way we apply BIM depends mainly on what we would like to achieve, hence it depends on our goal.
Below, there is a table presenting the examples of BIM applications in particular project phases. In most cases, the implementation team will choose only the applications, which bring them closer to achieve the project goals.
Of course, the above list does not exhaust all the possibilities of BIM application. Thanks to the fact that the world moves on, we get to know and create new ways of reusing the information in the model. There are newer and newer working methods, the technology is changing, and the applied tools are constantly improved. For instance, even a few years ago, we did not know that the execution drawings on the construction site will be replaced by the tablets. Today it is nothing unusual. It is a frequent practice on the construction sites in the countries where BIM is a standard imposed from the top down.
2. Various BIM uses
The BIM model may be applied in different ways. In the initial phases, it may facilitate the process of creating the layout plans. In the design phase, it may be useful to model new solutions, whereas when it comes to the construction site, we may apply it for work plans or cost analysis. The application of BIM depends mainly on the project requirements, the Client’s ambition, and the skills of the design and executive team. In the list below, I have concluded a few of the most typical BIM applications, which we may encounter in various project phases. There are many more applications of BIM, and the list is quite long. In this case, I have included these which in my opinion are the most frequently applied.
Exisiting situation analysys
Using the BIM and GIS tools, the project team is trying to find the most optimal location for the future project. The collected data from the area are first used to select a place and then position the building based on other criteria.
Existing situation modelling
Analysis of the existing situation – involves the development of a 3D model of existing conditions for the area, objects on the site and the area around the investment. Many methods can be used to create such a model: laser scanning, conventional geodetic techniques or photogrammetry. The choice depends on the type of work and what is most efficient for our case.
Cost Analysys - BIM 5D
Cost estimation is a way to use 3D models to generate feasibility studies and compare different budgetary options. This process allows the team to analyze construction costs and effects of their changes at all project stages.
This is extremely helpful in reducing excessive budget overruns caused by design modifications. The use of BIM in this area is most useful at the early stages of a project.
Space Programming is a BIM use where the 3D models are used to investigate the client’s spatial requirements. Space Programming occurs during the Conceptual Design sub-phase and may utilize specialized Spatial Analysis Tool. The developed BIM model helps the project team in the spatial analysis of the investment and helps in choosing the optimal solution.
A work cycle in which specialized software is used to create 3D models of the project. This is the most popular form of using models and one of the first steps in implementing BIM. The key in this process is to develop a model and connect it properly with various data types such as object properties, quantities, costs, and schedules.
Construction works analysis - BIM 4D
Light performance analysis
Authoring 2D documentation
Processes in which 3D models are used to coordinate different disciplines (e.g., structural and mechanical). Disciplinary models are combined into one multidisciplinary model. Then with a use of special software we validate models. With 3D coordination, we can identify and resolve possible clashes between virtual elements prior to actual construction or fabrication.
3. BIM Uses - Where to start our choice?
All right, we have already told, what are some of the BIM applications in the investment lifecycle. Now a new question arises – “How to choose the most appropriate applications for our project?”. In this case, the best solution would be to look again and think about how the information from the model will be applied in the future. For example, if we want to use a model to develop a fire protection layout the information about the fire resistance class should be included in the model elements, such as, walls, doors or windows. Hence, we know that, for instance, the architect must insert the mentioned information to their model in the initial phase of design. This information may be applied in the subsequent phases of the investment realization.
The knowledge concerning the application of information in the future will give us many advantages. It will help to develop a strategy of data flow in the model. We will know which information is applied repeatedly, and which only once. It will also help to develop an optimal strategy and focus only on important information.
4. Choosing appropriate BIM uses in our BEP
Now we know where we can apply BIM in particular project phases. We are also aware that during the choice of the BIM uses, we should always remember our goals and desired results in the project. Now, let’s move to the project itself, the selection of the model application, which may be troublesome for the team developing BEP. Our task is to choose the areas where the BIM technology potential will be used.
To facilitate this task, it is worth applying proven tools. One of them may be a selection table (see drawing below), which helps us make the right decision. Such a decision will have a measurable impact on our BIM strategy. In the previous article concerning project goals (project goals – part 1), as an example, we used the hospital project.
Its project goals are as follows:
These goals will be used as an example to fill in the BIM application table. The table consists of a few columns corresponding to the further steps of the choice proces.
5. "We want everything" - a few words at the end
Today we have learned the next step, bringing us closer to developing a fully functional and professional BIM Execution Plan. A well-defined area of BIM uses is the key to the successful development of the information flow strategy on the project. A regularly occurring mistake at this phase of BEP development is that clients are too ambitious in applying BIM. I have heard more than once – we want everything. We expect to apply BIM at the 7D level, virtual reality, drones, and artificial intelligence implementation. Sheer madness.
Even though the bold ambitions of the ordering parties are positive, and move our industry forward, they have to face often harsh reality. It is our responsibility, as professionals to sometimes cool down the enthusiasm and approach the task as an engineer. Ask specific questions and expect accurate answers. Because only through concrete actions, we can develop an effective BEP and successfully implement it into the project.