The Simple BIM Concept
by Mark Mergenschroer
Building Information Modeling (BIM) enables unprecedented Team Work of building design and constructability. The power of BIM to bring together the client, architect, engineer, and contractor into a singular team, centered on project execution, will transform our industry.
The design team’s mission for a BIM project should be to create a realistic simulation of working conditions necessary to produce a realistic BIM Model that will enhance time and effort to produce construction documents, maximize time available for design development and optimization, and thereby provide our clients with a better project development process.
The BIM deliverable focus should center on how, not, who, when, where or why. For the design team to have an effective deliverable, they should involve the client in team communication during every phase of design. Part of the process should be to hand the client a model viewer and supply training on use of the viewer, so that the BIM model can be viewed as the model is being developed. The team focus should be on delivering not only a quality BIM model, but a quality, high performance building, that will be functional for the client.
The first stage of the BIM Model should include information gathering. During this phase, information will be collected and developed into a BIM Model that contains conceptual and schematic level information about the project. This typically produces a conceptual model with key elements in the BIM Model, so that the client can get a visual understanding of the design intent.
The second stage of the BIM model is the analysis stage. This stage will focus on “The Right Fit” for the client. The client’s requirements will be fully developed during this stage, with all analytical analysis being included within the BIM model. During this stage, the team populates the BIM model with all the proper systems, equipment, information, and requirements for the facility. Constructability will be a key concern during this stage, with conflict checks being run by the entire team. User group meetings really help define this stage of the process.
The third stage involves implementation of BIM construction documents to construction of the facility. With the team having placed an emphasis on the constructible BIM model, the construction documentation process should be fluid. Since everyone has worked as a team from the beginning of the project, delays and surprises during the construction phase are greatly reduced.
The fourth stage consists of the facility management aspect of the BIM Model. A BIM model can be more than just a tool for construction. Having an accurate As-Built or As Constructed BIM model can lead to many advantages for the facility maintenance personnel. Part of the BIM deliverable should be to train the maintenance personnel on how to use the BIM model for future facility maintenance issues. Facility maintenance from a BIM model is a growing trend in our industry, as well as, a powerful tool for our clients.
This is a very simple approach to a BIM project. Let’s not try to complicate BIM. Let’s try to make it as simple as possible, so that our clients can reap the benefits.