BIM Execution Plan post on Penn States site

BIM execution plans are becoming more visible online as more experience with collaborative BIM highlights the need for a plan.  Link to the Penn State siteJumping into BIM without a plan can be a costly mistake as there are several difference expectations to consider.  I found a good set of template documents on Penn States web site that is the result of funding by the BuildSmartAllience.  Although these documents are very general in nature they are absolutely on point the critical aspects to address before placing the first object: Defining a goal and usage, how will information be exchanged and by who, and most important mapping out the process.

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Integrated BIM Needs a Workplan to be Lean

BIM only takes more time if coordination is a new aspect to consider.  Once the expectation of a 3D BIM model becomes a first cost construction savings, the design process must consider integrated systems that are coordinated at a high level of detail.

This is not the normal “standard of care” for Architects and Engineers.  Owners are often sold on the idea that if everyone is doing BIM, the schedule will absolutely be accelerated and field orders reduced.   The truth is that BIM tools are as segmented by discipline today as any CAD was yesterday.  What I mean by that is design teams are not forced to cross-reference each other with the new tools.  In fact, when project mangers raise the expectation to do so, it is disruptive to processes that are moving in a traditional semi-silo-ed manor based on a few mid-design spot checks of overlaying schematic systems. Waste from post integrating BIM segments will come in the form of rework.  The rework will likely be a result of modeling progression that is out of sequence.  If design processes are to meet the expectation of trouble free installation the need a plan to progress through design is a logical sequence to avoid rework.

One of the reasons why design-build IPD contracts work so much better in getting to highly coordinated BIM models is that they lend themselves to planning that would involved AEC, GC, subs and owner at the same planning table.

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Paperless BIM Delivery Structure – When?

What will be the first large US building construction project to go paperless?  3D BIM models hold all that and more over traditional 2D drawing sets.  There are first generation 3D delivery formats for packaging model systems for contractor bidding and construction.  Wisconsin and Texas require BIM on public projects.  Contractors can build from it and I have heard them tell owners not to make drawings for their benefit.  GSA is requiring BIM and some private sector owners are ready to take the next step and have the design reviews 100% 3D.

Despite the need to modernize all the paper processes currently in place, someone who is leading advances in lean practice in the AEC industry will soon have enough stars aligned to pull off a construction completion without paper drawings.  Maybe without 2D altogether.

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Staying Current with the latest in Laser Scanning, BIM and capturing existing conditions

I recommend a friend and co-workers inspirational web site.


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Integration Case Study – “Professionally Executed BIM”=Opportunity

Predictability is the real catylist for first cost saving for contractors.  I have worked with   many building contractors who have advance there off-site prefabrication capability to capitalize on one of the greatest first-cost values of a coordinated BIM model.  Install convidence is what I’m talking about.  BIM alone can’t reach this level of predictable conditions in the field.

There is a good reasons why so much AEC coverage that talks about BIM, now mentions IPD in the same breath.  This is because so many parallel design efforts need to be integrated together and coordinated in a single context before the first system is either installed or even fabricated.  An IPD delivery structure helps insure that any individual system can have enough predictability to be prefabicated off-site and crews scheduled for trouble-free install.


J.C. Cannistraro‘s website (mechanical cotractors in Boston area) showcases some of the benifits when given a “coordinated” BIM.  They are using preditable conditions to estimate and prefabfication materials and maximize installation sequencing.  That covers  3DBIM, 4DBIM, and 5DBIM.

4:57 “Professionally Executed Bim

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AEC Changing Trends

My career in the AEC industry has brought me into the forefront of a modern revolution in how buildings are designed and constructed.  It involves the integration of processes and technologies.  While the change is just getting started, the buzz in the industry seems to be everywhere.  The change acronyms of highest importance are BIM and IPD.   They are Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery respectively.

So why are these emerging now with such significance?  The answer is waste elimination.

The AEC industry the has been fracturing in practice since the 40’s-50’s when one or few companies took building projects from concept to completion.  It is much different today.  The modern AEC supply chain has become one of specialized building disciplines, companies, industries and educational campus’.  Builders and owners have had to mirror this fracturing with contracts.  Separate multi-contact awards per building that are potentially redundant in responsibility or simply gaped.  A popular term in describing the resulting segmented activity has referred to this as a “silo”.  One unfortunate result of silo’s was software.  The software technologies that code for these different building disciplines have evolved to specialize over the years.  To a point were not only did team A not consult team B, they were unable to exchange data if they did talk because the file platforms were not interoperable.  It was an inefficient way of working yet became so common that not many complained until a landmark study in 2004 that suggested what this might be costing the U.S.
…report recently released by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) that puts an actual tag on the cost of inadequate interoperability will touch a nerve with AEC professionals—the estimate is $15.8 billion per year!

I was very fortunate to be working with my current firm at the time of this report  as they were approached by a progressive client and they themselves ready to invest in BIM technology.   While so many early BIM case studies published mixed results dispite the eye-candy, they failed to produce the savings during construction.  The AE company I work for teamed with a construction manager in a unique shared-incentive agreement with the Owner and sub-contractors to collaborated on a BIM model.   This is long before anyone had ideas about IPD contracts.  It was in fact “integrated” with every stakeholder together in one building each day of design and detailing.  A formula that proved very successful in savings in the catagorie know as First Cost.  Many of the BIM/IPD projects since have been published or awarded and can be found online.  That is the typical extent of marketing as a AE firm.  However, software companies go to greater extent to show off.  So a good example is Autodesk’s documentation of how both BIM and IPD are requirements for addressing waste in first cost of building life-cycle.  Notice in this video how fabrication opportunities are enabled once solid commitment to change is adopted.

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