One of the most important tasks on any BIM project is properly assembling the project team. The shift in emphasis from the design team (as set out in the 1963 RIBA Plan of Work) to the project team is in itself a core message to be derived from the RIBA Plan of Work 2013. In assembling the project team the new Plan of Work advocates the consideration of who does what, when and how. These simple concepts and their relevance to BIM can be summarised as follows:
Project teams are becoming more and more complex. BIM allows us to start designing in a quicker and more detailed manner. This requires a greater degree of clarity earlier on in the process to ensure that each member of the project team understands their role, to ensure that fees have been allocated appropriately, and more importantly to ensure that there are no gaps in the services that need to be provided. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 sets out the notion of a Project Roles Table and the connected (but different) need for a Contractual Tree in order to allow discussion around the development of the collaborative project team and to capture this information at a high level before detailed schedules of services and other contractual documents are prepared.
The Plan of Work 2013 encourages the preparation of documents that ensure that each party is aware of what they have to do. Three tools are proposed:
Schedules of Services
These will place greater emphasis on, and be aligned with, the tasks set out in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013. They will not set out tasks in relation to a professional's day-to-day tasks; it will be the responsibility of each designer to use their skills to achieve the briefed requirements and the stated level of detail in the information exchanges. The Schedules will also address duties required as part of the Handover Strategy (derived from the BSRIA Soft Landing initiative) pre- and post-handover, as well as new duties that may be required in relation to asset management and other new subjects. The schedules will also consider project outcomes, the need to state them in the project brief and then any requirements to assess them post-occupancy.
Many projects still work on the notion that full size models need to be printed to a 'scale'. This 'analogue' way of thinking is slowly being replaced by the 'digital' notion that a BIM model should be produced to a certain level of definition. This level will be dependent on design responsibility issues and on the purpose of the information. For example, client signoff, specialist contractor design development, planning, etc. More information on this subject will be published in 2013. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 has been developed to accommodate these discussions without impacting on the Plan of Work itself.
Design Responsibility Matrix
JCT contracts have addressed the need to contractually agree the extent of design work undertaken by specialist contractors (Performance Specified Work) for a number of years. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 suggests the preparation of a Design Responsibility Matrix so that it is clear at the outset to all parties in the project team which aspects of the design will be designed by specialist contractors and which aspects will be constructed on site from information prepared by the design team.
Collaborative contracts have promoted the importance of programmes in professional services or building contracts for some time. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 takes this notion further and encourages the preparation of a Project Programme that is agreed by all members of the project team. The Project Programme would dovetail with any Design Programmes co-ordinated by the lead designer and with the contractor's Construction Programme. It is only by having detailed programme discussions that project risks can be understood and shared appropriately.
Very few standardized processes emerged from the growth of CAD. Whilst the likes of CPIC have tried to bring some clarity to this subject, and we are close to the publication of PAS1192, it is fair to say that most practices utilise their own CAD Manual which they believe to be the best and most appropriate way of working! These CAD Manuals are developing into BIM Manuals.
However, BIM requires close working protocols for all members of the project team to ensure that information can be properly shared and used by each party. For those working with different consultants, it can be frustrating to have to work to different protocols on different projects. The Plan of Work 2013 advocates the preparation of a Project Execution Plan that sets out the structure and information for each party and individual in the team as well as communication and technology (including software and hardware) strategies and information on any specific BIM aspects such as file-naming protocols. The title ensures that all subjects, not just BIM, are considered holistically and not individually. Of course, the RIBA cannot be prescriptive in terms of outlining requirements but nudges can be made to try and encourage all parties to use common protocols and processes with a view to achieving a "plug and play" environment where each designer can move seamlessly from one project to the next.
BIM as a term is being used as a wrapper for many subjects. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 sows the seeds to encourage many subjects to be considered. It acts as a stepping stone as the construction industry harnesses BIM in order to be more efficient and effective. Further information on the subjects above and the many other ideas tackled by the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 will be available when the new Plan is launched in May.