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 actual process of BIM implementation within your business.

Commitment to BIM

For all the good intentions and assurances of those involved, the ‘proof of the pudding’ will always be that stage where commitment is actually tested. As this series of articles has shown, the impact and coverage of BIM implementation is far wider-reaching than might at first be assumed. It affects every level of an organisation, from budget and expenditure to team structure; from standards compliance to contract structures. Support is crucial at all levels and in all departments; not just those who are actively working ‘at the coalface’. Not only do all those involved with a BIM project need to be committed and diligent in their adherence to the principles of collaborative working, but colleagues and managers need to give their support in terms of resources, and, perhaps equally importantly, dedication to and promotion of the cause. An office that is divided in opinion is not conducive to success.

As much as office-wide support is necessary, however, it is within the project team itself where member-to-member support becomes vital. In this context, support means team members working with consistency, accuracy and to the same methods and standards. There is no room for individuality or difference of opinion when it comes to shared working practices: BIM standards and protocols exist so that all collaborators can work together by following the same set of rules. If one person inherits another’s work, they know how it has been carried out, where to find anything and how to continue it. No time is wasted in trying to decipher another’s methods, or by re-working; and discrepancies are minimized as all contributors have the same understanding.

The first BIM project

And so to the matter of the first BIM project: the time to put into practice all of the principles and protocols that have been established throughout the preparation stages. The first project will need to be selected, and this will naturally need careful consideration. Criteria to consider include:

  • Size of project (contract value, physical size)
  • Duration of contract
  • Quantity of staff required
  • Complexity of brief
  • BIM capabilities of the other stakeholders
  • Willingness of the client to participate in a BIM-compliant project

Before commencing the project, suitable contractual arrangements will need to be put into place, including appointment documents and the construction contract itself. Give due consideration to the CDM Regulations 2015, and how compliance with these will interface with the collaborative working procedures.

Last but by no means least, ensure that BIM standards are established agreed and understood by all stakeholders; it is on the adherence to common working methods that the success or failure of the project will hang.

Project completion: evaluation

Post-occupancy evaluation is an important part of any project, occupying as it does the final stage of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 externallink. With a BIM project, however, this process can not only be more beneficial, but also arguably more productive.

With the completion of your first BIM project, aspects that will be of particular interest will inevitably include identifying the project’s successes and also any areas for improvement in future projects. As your office moves over to BIM as a long-term and potentially business-wide operation, it will be vital to examine the completed scheme in order to measure its success. Key Performance Indicators have been discussed in a previous article externallink in this series. Ongoing measures will also include in-use criteria such as services running costs, maintenance costs and repairs. User feedback will also help to establish whether there were any aspects of the scheme that might have been given greater consideration during the design process, or that may have been overlooked between collaborating parties. And perhaps the greatest indicator will be the one which is most often associated with BIM, the perception of its ability to reduce abortive costs by identifying discrepancies and clashes between, for example, structure and services. Site construction programming (measured against forecast) and ‘as built’ costs (compared with tender prices) will help to establish the savings made on site.

Concluding remarks

As this series draws to a close, and the Level 2 BIM deadline approaches, all that remains to make a few final observations which, while true of design and construction work in general, are nevertheless pertinent and worth remembering as the industry moves into a new age of shared digital working:

  • BIM is a means to an end – its purpose is to assist effective communication
  • BIM is not about software – it’s a way of working in collaboration, sharing common risks, objectives and methods
  • The success of any project is entirely dependent on the performance, dedication and diligence of all of the stakeholders
  • The UK government’s motivation for implementing BIM is to reduce waste and cost.

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