In today’s article from the series “How to become a BIM Coordinator”, we will take a closer look at the roles of such a person and their duties in a design company. At first sight, the topic sounds quite prosaic and simple, but believe me, nothing could be further from the truth.
As a BIM Coordinator with several years of experience, I know how my role has evolved depending on various factors. I would be lying if I said that there is one specific definition or list describing exactly what a BIM Coordinator should do since each company or project is different, has various needs and employment structures, as well as cultural and organizational differences.
I often talk about BIM Coordination with my colleagues. We share our insights and give each other tips. These discussions made me aware of the wide range of responsibilities that the BIM Coordinator may have and the problems that have to face. Feel free to read the article, as I will try to summarize my conclusions.
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E.P.I.C - BIM Coordinator roles
To simplify the understanding of the topic, I divided the work of BIM Coordinator into 4 main roles, which, depending on the advancement of the project and the nature of the workflow, will be revealed to some extent. The first letters of these BIM Coordinator roles are arranged into an EPIC abbreviation, which is easy to remember.
Since BIM technology is developing at a very fast pace, it is not easy to keep up with new working methods and tools. It is necessary to have a person who will take over the role of an educator in the project and will be the technical support for others. BIM Coordinator is exactly one of them.
The main task of the Educator is to ensure that the project team and the management are properly trained in the application of the tools used on the project or in the company.
At this point, I would like to emphasize that they do not have to be an expert in the modeling software, although knowing at least one of them helps a lot. The key task in this role is to find out what BIM competences the project participants have and to organize the training process and workshops in such a way that they receive the appropriate knowledge and technical support.
BIM Coordinator role as an Educator is a very responsible function, which consists of a list of responsibilities. Some of them are as follows:
- Supporting the tender team and clarification of the ordering party’s BIM requirements – tender phase,
- Explaining how BIM will be implemented in the project to the project team – preliminary phase,
- Coordination of training courses for the project group:
- verification of the project team’s competency level,
- providing employees with further training courses if necessary,
- Co-creation of knowledge exchange places concerning tools and working methods with BIM in the company:
- creating additional webinars using tools employed in the company,
- creating “Best practice” documents describing how to use specific tools in the most effective manner – e.g. “Best practices for working with ArchiCAD.”
- Organization of the meetings to exchange experiences in working with the technology between the members of the project team,
- Personal support for designers in working with models,
- Teaching designers new working methods and automation of repetitive tasks.
Planning, analyzing requirements and developing a strategy for applying BIM is the key responsibility of BIM Coordinator. The tasks related to it mainly concern the tender phase or the initial design phase, where the implementation plan of BIM has not been established yet. The drawn up documents, knowing the tender requirements, describe in detail how the customer’s ambitions should be met. One of these documents is the BEP – BIM Execution Plan.
Here BIM Coordinator role plays first fiddle adjusting the strategy and finding the best solutions that do not disturb the work of designers and provide the documentation required by the ordering party.
Below, I distinguished the BIM Coordinator duties, where the role of PLANNER is particularly evident, these are as follows:
- Planning an offer which satisfies the client’s BIM ambition (EIR) with a tender team (check the article and find out what is it – Employers Information Requirements),
- Creating internal BIM standards used in the office / organization:
- Standards for the use of modeling tools,
- Standards for creating object libraries,
- Office data exchange standards.
- Co-creating a BIM implementation plan for a project – creating BEP – (BIM Execution Plan) – This point will be described in details in a further post in the series,
- Planning procedures:
- related to the operation of coordination programs,
- to carry out industry and multidisciplinary check,
- to carry out coordination meetings.
Although the construction industry is still one of the least technologically innovative, the area related to the application of Building Information Modeling is an exception to the rule. I have observed the ongoing changes in BIM quite closely, and I have seen how rapidly it is developing. New workflow methodologies and new approaches to modeling, coordinating and managing modeled information tools are emerging.
As you work on a project, you don’t always have time to “grasp” it all. And here, the BIM Coordinator comes to the rescue. They are one of the main catalysts of innovation in the project. Keeping up to date with the latest developments, they can arrange the BIM implementation strategy in such a way as to apply the available technology most effectively. Innovations may support project teams in their work, speeding up the design process or adding a whole new value.
The coordinator’s BIM tasks as a technology precursor in a company may include:
- Selecting and implementing solutions to automate repetitive tasks:
- using tools such as Dynamo and Grasshopper
- new plugins for existing programs, e.g. RVT Tools to automate the export of IFC files
- using Robot Processing Automation technology – RPA
Participating in conferences and industry events for educational purposes and being familiar with the latest developments in the industry,
- Testing new solutions/methodologies/concepts on pilot projects:
- drawing-less designing,
- applying the VDC, ICE, Last Planner methodologies,
- usage of Huddle Walls for project needs
- Using models for completely new purposes:
- visualizing a project with Virtual or Augmented Reality,
- presentation of the project as a computer game.
Of all four, this role is the most significant, and the name of the position itself comes from this role. Coordination duties may include many tasks, which often depend on the type of project you are working on. The most common are model geometry checks, collision searches and reporting to the relevant team members.
However, it is only a small part of the overall picture. BIM Coordinator also takes responsibility for:
- assigning discovered geometric collisions to appropriate persons responsible for a given model,
- grouping and logical naming of collisions for easier identification,
- view collision reports with relevant project team members,
- update collision reports and sending them to the project management,
- creating a 4D simulation of the workflow on site,
- verifying if the information entered in the model is correct,
- verifying if all exported data from the model are complete and accurate,
- ensure that the model parameters are compliant with the BEP,
- initial configuration of 3D models in modeling programs (Revit, Tekla, ArchiCAD, Allplan, etc.),
- configuring models for all disciplines to ensure that the correct coordinate system is used and models are matched,
- creating and adjusting design templates in modeling tools,
- creating solutions to improve the workflow with models,
- creating element families or an internal element library within the project,
- participating in the inaugural meetings to ensure that everyone understands the BIM process,
- participating in meetings with clients and others as a “BIM expert” in the organization,
- establishing an agenda for regular coordination meetings,
transferring models to new software versions (previously agreed with the whole project group)
checking if any data has been omitted during the transfer.
Going through the abovementioned responsibilities you may get a little dizzy. Does BIM Coordinator have time to sleep at all? 😛 Do so many things rest on one person’s shoulders? Of course not.
I wanted the article to be a visual map illustrating what the coordinator can struggle with on a daily basis.
If we take a more individual approach and try to make the list of more specific tasks, we have to take into account a few factors.
- How big is our company and does it employ BIM technology on a daily basis?
- What is the advancement level of BIM in the company?
- Are there already well defined BIM implementation strategies for projects?
- What project are we working on and what is its ambition for the implementation of BIM?
- What level of knowledge does the project team have regarding Building Information Modeling?
- Does the contracting authority require the implementation of BIM?
- Does the country where you work have specific top-down rules for using BIM?
I hope the article has brought you a little bit closer to the background of the BIM Coordinator’s work. The following article will give you a closer look at the tools of coordination, as well as the selection of the right program that suits your needs.
If you have any questions or thoughts to share with me, I encourage you to leave a comment or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.