Creating BIM Execution PLAN - BIM uses

Creating successful BIM Execution Plan. Part 2: BIM Uses

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. 

The following article is included in the "How to become BIM Coordinator". In case it’s the first post you came across, I encourage you to read the introduction of the full series. I explain there how the articles have been organized to make sure you can get the most out of the series. Have a good read.

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.

BIM Uses Throughout A Building Lifecycle
BIM Uses - inspired by Penn State University's work - https://www.bim.psu.edu/

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.

photogrammetry
Photogrammetry using Wingtra - https://wingtra.com/

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

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.

3D Modelling

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.

Interfejs Archicad
Architectural model created in the Archicad software

Construction works analysis - BIM 4D

A process where 3D models are utilized to site works planning by adding a time dimension to object properties. 4D modeling is a powerful visualization and communication tool that can give design team many benefits. With it, we can effectively plan the stages of renovation sites, show the construction sequence as well as space requirements on selected parts of the project.
BIM 4D simulation
Usage of Synchro software 4D simulation - https://www.synchroltd.com/

Light performance analysis

Processes in which 3D models are used to simulate natural and artificial lighting levels. Thanks to it, we can perform a quantitative and aesthetic review of the lighting conditions, helping the project team in selecting the best solutions.

Acustic analysis

Proces in which 3D model is used to conduct sound studies, test the placement of sound equipment as well as simulate sound insulation/attenuation. Such analysys help in choosing the best materials used within a space.
BIM Acustic analysys
Acustic analysis using Comsol software- https://www.comsol.fr/

Wind analysis

Analysys which use 3D model to simulate the effects of wind on structures. The simulation is intended to inform the design process by identifying optimal orientations and shapes.
Wind Analysys
Wind analysis using SimScale software - https://www.simscale.com/

Structural analysis

The use of the 3D model for structural analysis usually involves examining the impact of static / dynamic loads on buildings. Thanks to it, it is possible to optimize construction solutions to meet design and standard requirements as well as to take into account the most economical variants.

Sustainability Evaluation

3D models are used to calculate the environmental impact of a new construction project or an existing Facility. These calculations may include Carbon Footprint, Life Cycle Assessment, Embodied Energy and other sustainability metrics.

Authoring 2D documentation

The most common form of using BIM technology. The information-enhanced 3D model is used to generate 2D drawings. 2D documentation usually includes plans, sections, 2D elevations as well as drawings of construction details, workshop drawings, schedules and architectural visualizations.

3D Coordiantion

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.

3D Coordination using Tekla BIM Sight

Digital Fabrication

A process that uses digitized information to facilitate the fabrication of construction materials or assemblies. Examples include sheet metal / pipe fabrication, structural steel fabrication, wall panel fabrication, and wall assembly fabrication.

Asset Procurement

The use of 3D models to manage the purchase to manage the procurement of operational assets such as furniture, fittings and specialized room furnishings. Information from the model helps in making the most accurate purchase of assets, which may include valuation, negotiations, tendering, purchasing, leasing, long-term hiring, stock-take, as well as asset disposal.

Monitor Maintenance

Using facility information models to monitor facility status and schedule maintenance activities for a facility.

Space Management

It is a process in which the building information model allows the facility management team to analyze existing space usage and effectively plan modifications in relation to any applicable standards. This is especially useful in renovation projects where building segments remain occupied. Space management ensures appropriate resource allocation throughout the lifetime of the facility.

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.

BIM USE - table of selection|
BIM Use selection table - inspired by Penn State University work - https://www.bim.psu.edu/
Example: one of the project goals of our hospital is: decrease of 10% errors appearing on the construction site in comparison with other similar projects. To achieve such a goal, it is worth creating accurate 3D models of the construction and installation and also conducting specific inter-branch coordination. In this case, we enter into the table – Creating 3D models and Inter-branch coordination.

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. 

Example: there will be a few involved groups during the realization of the hospital project. 3 main groups include designers, contractor and client. The application of the BIM model to the course of works on the construction site simulation may be interesting for both contractor and client. The design group does not necessarily sees the advantages in this area. That is why we insert a contractor and ordering party into the table and determine the priority.
Example: in the hospital project, we would like to apply BIM to develop a simulation of works course on the construction site (BIM 4D). Unfortunately, our Client is not experienced in such a case as they are going to do it for the first time. The contractor has already conducted the project with BIM 4D application, however, the service was outsourced to the external companies specialized in this type of tasks. Therefore, in the table, we have to evaluate the competences of the involved groups respectively low.
Example: From the previous step, we know that the contractor and the client want to create simulations of construction works but do not have the appropriate qualifications. Therefore, it is necessary to employ an external company for such tasks or train their employees and buy appropriate equipment to eliminate the need to use other services in the future.

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.

The information contained in the guide is based on my own experience but also inspired by Penn State University’s work in the BEP development:
https://www.bim.psu.edu/
as well as ISO 19650-1 and 19650-2 standards:
https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/iso-19650-BIM/

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