The process of implementing BIM is about change management, first and foremost. To do this successfully, the process needs to be carried out methodically. The best way is to make a ‘BIM implementation plan’, and the steps for this are outlined through the course of this series. This article looks at the strategic planning that will be needed for successful BIM implementation within your business.

Strategic planning for implementation – part two

Having made an assessment of the resources required for your organisation’s transition to BIM working, the next step is to put the findings into practice.  The first task is to set up the appropriate systems and framework to enable this to be carried out effectively.

Project team

You will need to assemble a suitable project team, which comprises of personnel who are suitably qualified and experienced for the new way of working.  Key skills to look for when choosing team members include:

  • Existing skill level in 3D CAD use.
  • Existing skill level in specification writing, in a BIM-friendly format.
  • Existing experience in BIM collaborative working.
  • Existing knowledge of BIM standards, protocols and contracts.
  • Enthusiasm.

As well as team members within your own company, you will also need to select team members from outside – collaborative working is, after all, about working in partnership with other stakeholders.  To this end, and depending on the nature of your own business, you will need to consider your involvement with some or all of the following:

  • The developer commissioner of the construction project.
  • Designers and specifiers of the various aspects of the project, whether architects, structural or services engineers, or FF&E.
  • Project managers and contract administrators.
  • Statutory consent assessors, for example Building Regulations Approved Inspectors.
  • Surveyors of land, buildings, trees, wildlife or artefacts.
  • Other consultants, for example planning or cost consultants.
  • Legal and financial services – conveyancing lawyers and lending banks will need to receive, check and incorporate design information in their own work.

Whilst some of these may appear to be irrelevant to BIM, it should be borne in mind that not all stakeholders will have a design input – but they will need to be able to read, understand and interpret the design information.  This is the reason why data and information exchange is such a fundamental aspect of BIM working.

Key Performance Indicators

As with any other task or project, it will be important to set targets and gather data in order to be able to measure the success of this first project.  In addition, and accepting that there is always room for improvement, lessons can be learned by being able to analyse specific yardsticks, and hence identify precisely where efforts should be focused in order to raise areas of underperformance for future projects.  By selecting a suitable test project, such lessons can be learned in a comparatively low-risk environment, and applied to higher-risk (and higher return) work in future.  To enable accurate measurement and assessment, you should define and set KPIs that are specific and targeted to those areas you wish to analyse, and that are appropriate to the nature of a collaborative project.  Example metrics can include:

  • Milestone dates – set realistic targets for information delivery, and project commencement/phasing/completion dates.
  • Improvements to specific aspects of health and safety – reduction in site risks for example, or designed-out in-use maintenance hazards.
  • Sustainability outcomes – improvements to building performance over and above the Building Regulations or BREEAM carbon targets.
  • Percentage reduction in Requests For Information (RFIs).
  • Reduction in the number of change orders generated.
  • Increased value to the commissioning client, by reduced costs, earlier opening or reduced running costs.
  • Shorter schedule for design and construction time, due to greater resolution of design problems and clashes; or simplified buildability.
  • Cost analysis (budget vs. expenditure).
  • Any other performance goals – for example, accelerated opening for the building occupiers, or a reduction in site waste (e.g. by quantity of skips used).

Define the deliverables

The nature and extent of what is to be delivered should be defined.  This will include not only the built asset itself, but also the information related to it.  The government has defined information delivery stages (or ‘data drops’) which are analogous to work stages in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 externallink, and these represent standardized points and types of information exchange.  The scope of what is to be delivered should be established at the outset, along with the deadline obviously; and also who is responsible for making that delivery – and to which other stakeholders in the project.  Both the RIBA Plan of Work Toolbox externallink and the NBS BIM Toolkit externallink have been designed to provide a convenient method of establishing and recording all of this information.

Added to this, the procurement route will have an impact (part six of this series mentioned that the most commonly-used construction contracts are being modified to be BIM-compliant, and the CIC BIM Protocol externallink is a supplement to be used with your standard form of appointment).  Finally, the format for the delivery needs to be established.  For design information, this will need to be in either COBie externallink or IFC externallink formats, depending on the nature of that information (crudely speaking, IFC contains all BIM data including graphical information, whereas COBie omits the graphical data).

BIM Execution Plan

Finally, you will need to write the BIM execution plan.  This will essentially set out the methods by which you will carry out the project, and record all of the information that has been described in this and the preceding article.  It can be likened to a business plan in a sense, as it sets out the key intentions and methods for achieving those intentions.  In addition to setting out this information, it will need to refer to the principal standards associated with BIM working, and be written in accordance with those standards.  You may benefit from appending ancillary documents such as the NBS BIM Toolkit.

The standards that are applicable to BIM include the following:

The next article looks at the actual process of BIM implementation within your business.


Previous: Are you BIM ready? What your business needs to do before 2016 (Part SIx)
Next month: Are you BIM ready? What your business needs to do before 2016 (Part Eight)

Useful links and references