The Importance of Standardized Cost Data to Efficient Construction Delivery

Standardized Cost Data Drive Efficient Project Delivery

The ability to accurately communicate detailed cost data and associated tasks from concept through construction, repair, maintenance, and renovation is critical to efficient life-cycle management for the built environment.

Despite this fundamental fact, construction cost data is rarely communicated in a standardized format that is easily understood by all parties…  architects, engineers, contractors, owners, and building users.

The simple truth is that without detailed line time descriptions of construction task and requirements, communicate in plain English, is it impossible to collaboratively communicate and fully understand budget needs.

standardized construction cost data

Multiple factors impact renovation, repair, maintenance, sustainability, and new construction budgets:

  1. Productivity
  2. Labor
  3. Location
  4. Materials
  5. Project Size
  6. Materials
  7. Time
  8. Site Factors
  9. Construction Delivery Method
  10. ….

standardized cost data

 

BIM & Efficient Life-cycle Management of Facilities & Infrastructure

bim and efficient life-cycle facility management

Efficient life-cycle management of facilities and other physical infrastructure is impossible until real property owners are better educated and truly capable in their role as stewards of the built environment.

LEAN best management practices and associated collaborative construction delivery methods (Integrated project delivery – IPD, Job Order Contracting – JOC, etc.) are REQUIRED in order to deliver quality renovation, repair, sustainability, and new construction projects on-time and on-budget.

Most Owners do not have the educational background or professional experience needed to consistently deploy LEAN construction delivery methods and/or life-cycle management.

job order contracting

job order contacting - JOC

Construction Productivity must be Owner driven – BIM, IPD, JOC

One thing is clear, the construction sector (architecture, engineering, contractors, owners, operators, users, suppliers) has been lagging virtually all other business sectors for decades with respect to productivity improvement.

I believe that the cause is largely cultural, however, any major improvement must be driven by Owners,and/or mandated by governmental regulation.

My reasoning is simple, Owners pay the bills.  Thus as long as Owners remain satisfied with the status quo and/or remain “uneducated” with respect to proven business “best practices” and lean management processes, as well as supporting technologies, economic and environmental waste will continue to be rampant.

Currently, my outlook is somewhat pessimistic.  If one looks at  capability and knowledge specific to life-cycle  facility management from an industry perspective, most has originated with the government sector, followed by higher education, state government, healthcare, process-based industries, etc. etc.    Basically, Owners whose mission is dependent upon their built environment tend to create and follow life-cycle management practices. These are Owners that can’t adopt a “churn and burn”, or “run to failure” approach to facility management.  These sectors can’t easily pack up and move if their facilities and physical infrastructure fail.

That said, even government owners, for the most part, have failed in any sort of department or agency-wide adoption of standardized best practices.  This is true even for  “simple” areas such as facility repair, maintenance, and renovation.  Only the Air Force appears to come close to having any true adoption of robust, proven, best-practices in this regard, as well as associated training, etc., most notably with their SABER construction delivery structure.

In order to effect measurable productivity improvement in the “construction” sector, , I have put together a core requirements “checklist”.

1. Robust Ontology – Cost effective information management and information reuse can only be accomplished with a detailed set of terms, definitions, metrics, etc.  This aspect is also critical to improved strategic and tactical decision support mechanisms.

2. An understanding of life-cycle management of the built environment from a collaborative, best-practices, process perspective as well as associated supporting technologies.  Forget the traditional strategy-design-construction-demolish approach.

3. Commitment to a total cost of ownership perspective including both economic and environmental costs vs. our classic “first-cost” mentality.

4. “Trust but measure” – Owners MUST conduct their own internal cost estimating and associated capital planning and compare these to contractor estimates, with each party using the same  data architecture (examples: RSMeans, masterformat, uniformat, omniclass).

5. Adoption of collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, and Job Order Contracting, JOC, in lieu of antagonistic and inefficient design-bid-built, or even design-build.

6. STOP reinventing the wheel.  Nothing noted here is “rocket science”.  Many, if not most, processes, procedures, and technologies are readily available for anyone who does a bit of basic research!!!   Also, stop with the focus upon BIM from a 3D visualization perspective!  3D tools are great, and add value, however, INFORMATION and PROCESS drive success.

 

BLM2

A Snapshot of International BIM Status and Goals

Year Country Action Reference
2007 Finland Requires IFC BIM in its projects and intends to have integrated model-based operation in future Senate Properties
UK Standard: Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information. Code of Practice. BS 1192:2007
2008 USA Mandatory BIM for government projects GSA; USACE
2010 Norway Requires IFC BIM for new buildings Statsbygg
3 BIM pilot projects running Norwegian Defence Estates Agency
Singapore Establish Centre for construction IT help key agencies and construction firms to kick start BIM Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
UK Building Information Management – A Standard Framework and Guide to BS 1192 Joint publication of BS 1192:2007 and BSI/CPI
2011 Singapore Work with key agencies on pilot projects Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
UK Creation of the implementation plan and team to deliver Government Construction Strategy (May)
Evaluate trial projects and recommend (ongoing)
Standard Due: Library Objects for Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Recommended 2D symbols of building elements for use in building information modelling. BS 8541-2
Standard Due: Library Objects for Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Identification and grouping BS 8541-1
Report/Strategy Paper for the Government Construction Client Group (March) BIM Industry Working Group
2012 Korea Public Procurement Service to fully adopt IFC-based open BIM
Singapore BIM as part of public sector building project procurement Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
Work with key agencies to prepare consultants and contractors who undertake the public sector projects to be BIM ready
BIM Guide – published Singapore BIM Guide
Finland Common BIM Requirements – published buildingSMART Finland
UK Begin phased roll out ot all Government projects (Summer) Government Construction Strategy
Define and mandate expected standard (information set) for Government projects (April)
Identify trial projects in multiple departments to achieve delivery via 3D fully collaborative BIM (July)
COBie-UK-2012 BIM Task Group
Standard due: Library Objects for Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Shape and measurements BS 8541-3
Standard due: Library Objects for Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Attributes for specification and simulation BS 8541-4
Building Information Management Management – Information requirements for the capital delivery phase of construction projects PAS 1192-2:2012
Operational Asset Management – Processes and data for the commissioning, handover, operation and occupation stages BS 1192-3 (not yet published)
2013 Australia Develop and deliver a BIM awareness and promotion program for key government and broader industry participants (July 1) Implementation Strategy – National BIM Initiative Report
Develop and start delivery of BIM training packages to industry practitioners (July 1)
Enable progressive access to an Australian library of generic BIM objects and information for manufactured products that comply with Australian BIM standards (July 1)
Singapore Mandatory Architecture BIM e-Submissions for all new building projects . 20,000 m² Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
2014 Australia Develop Australian BIM contracts (July 1) Implementation Strategy – National BIM Initative Report
Encourage the inclusion of BIM as a collaborative technology for both professional education and vocational training in the tertiary sector (July 1)
Develop industry protocols for information exchange to underpin BIM and collaborative practice (July 1)
Coordinate activity between relevant sectors of the Australian economy to enable integrated access to land, geospatial and building information (July 1)
Singapore Mandatory Engineering BIM e-Submissions for all new building projects . 20,000 m² Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
2015 Australia Develop Australian technical codes and standards for BIM (July 1) Implementation Strategy – National BIM Initative Report
Align Australian BIM codes and standards with international equivalents (july 1)
Develop a model-based building regulatory compliance process demonstrator (July 1)
Develop and implementation plan for the transition of Australian regulatory codes and compliance mechanisms to model-based performance based systems (july 1)
Require BIM for Australian Government procurement for built environment projects (July 1)
Encourage State and Territory Governments and the private sector to require BIM for procurement for built environment projects (July 1)
Singapore Mandatory Architecture & Engineering BIM e-Submissions for all new building projects . 5,000 m² Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012
Target = Singapore Construction Industry to use BIM widely
2016 UK Deliver Level 2 BIM (Collaboration) – Introduce a progressive programme of mandated use of fully collaborative Building Information Modelling for Government projects. Level 2 = Managed 3D environment held in separate discipline “BIM(M)” tools with attached data; Commercial data managed by an ERP; Integration on the basis of proprietary interfaces or bespoke middleware could be regarded as “pBIM” (proprietary); the approach may utilise 4D programme data and 5D cost elements. UK Government Construction Strategy & BIM BIM Strategy Paper (2011)
 Source:  Susan Keenliside, 2013-email, via http://www.4Clicks.com
2020 Singapore Realise the vision of a highly integrated and technologically advanced construction sector that will be led by progressive firms and supported by a skilled and competent workforce. Singapore BIM Roadmap 2012

The Value of NBIMS = The Value of BIM?

The primary focus of the NBIMS-US™ is to provide open standards to transform the currently inefficient and ineffective  life-cycle management of the built environment…  Is this not the same value provided by BIM?

This transformation is accomplished through the creation and exchange of building information modeling (BIM) information and management processes.  Elements included include reference standards; outlining classifications of data and processes, data exchange formats, requirements for many different types of information exchanges and practice standards; which outline practices and workflows for data modeling, project execution, and robust feedback on success or failures so that assumptions are quickly improved. The metrics by which these open standards are to be evaluated include: total cost of ownership vs. first costs, impacts upon organizational mission, sustainability, life-safety, utilization, up-time, project timelines, fewer change orders, fewer legal disputes, ….

Goals, Objectives, and Benefits of NBIMS and BIM:

  1. Reduce the total cost of ownership of the built environment in concert with the mission of an organization and its relationship to the environment via timely, accurate, re-usable information and associated enhanced decision support capability.
  2. Enable collaboration and information sharing among all shareholders via established products, methods, and information formats.
  3. Front end information gathering, planning, and decision-making to have the greatest positive impact in the overall design, procurement, construction, operations, and decommissioning process, taking advantage of collaborative, integrated project delivery.
  4. Information development and sharing via consensus documents that select a common path forward when multiple divergent paths were once available
  5. Build a growing community of practice which allows progress to be made built upon previous levels of agreement
  6. Share information with software vendors as well as other product and service providers to build solutions that supports a consensus agreement of practitioners
  7. Identify specific reference standards that are used for BIM
  8. Documents “best practices” to potentially become standard practice for creating and managing information be re-used and re-purposed

Building Owner Perspective

  1. How can I better optimizing building performance to contribute to improving overall performance (e.g. financial, environmental, organizational, operational efficiencies) across the lifespan of my physical assets.
  2. Where can I find process documentation and contract language to cost-effectively develop and consistently deploy efficient construction delivery methods, enable high quality and quantity work at a reasonable cost.

Contractor Perspective

  1. An understanding of how to develop long lasting relationships with Owners, AEs, Subs and leverage BIM and associated optimized construction delivery
  2. How to perform more projects that provide a more predictable revenue stream and a reasonable profit margin.

A/E Perspective

  1. Participation in emerging efficient project delivery processes to better acheive design excellence, meeting project schedules and exceeding client service expectations.
  2. An understanding of how to develop long lasting relationships with Owners, Contractors, BPMs …and leverage BIM and associated optimized construction delivery
  3. How to perform more projects that provide a more predictable revenue stream and a reasonable profit margin.

Business Product Manufacturer (BPM) Perspective

1. How can I make my products available to designers and contractors so that they fit in with BIM project delivery processes

2. How should I format my products as BIM objects (e.g. level of graphical detail and business properties) so they are most useful by designers and contractors

3. I am interested in getting designers and contractors to specify and purchase my product

ALL:

1. How to use BIM for specific construction tasks (e.g. cost estimating, material procurement, digital fabrication, valuation of in-place construction, commissioning and handover, safety management)

2. How to mitigate risk.

3. How to organize my organization and project teams to take advantage of BIM processes and technologies.

4. How to participate in emerging efficient project delivery processes to focus on design excellence, meeting project schedules and exceeding client service expectations.

5. I am interested in optimizing staff resources, project profitability, maintaining relationships with my clients and finding the next job

Ballot Cover Letter Statement:

The National BIM Standard is a consensus document, where many ideas are brought together, presented to a variety of people representing different parts of the industry, discussed, debated, and ultimately subjected to the democratic process to determine which ideas rise to the stature of inclusion.

facility-life-cycle-technology-and-process-roadmap1-300x172BIMF - Building Information Management Framework

Related docu,ment – http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build04/PDF/b04022.pdf – Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry Michael P. Gallaher, Alan C. O’Connor, John L. Dettbarn, Jr., and Linda T. Gilday

BIM Objects, Data, and Information – More than a 3D Pretty Picture – Soooo Much More!

A picture paints a thousand words,

but never underestimate the power of text

(Adapted from Source: NBS.com)

Stefan Mordue, Technical Author and Architect

BIM objects are much more than just graphical representations. Using them as placeholder to connect to a wider source of information provides for a powerful and rich source of information. 

‘Author it once, and in the right place; report it many times’

Information in the Building Information Model (BIM) comes from a variety of sources, such as 3D visualization tools ( Autodesk Revit or Nemetschek Vectorworks, Archicad, Bentley Systems …) as well as cost estimating, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), capital planning and management systems (CPMS), geographical information systems (GIS), building automation systems (GIS),  model checkers and specification software.

All BIM objects have properties, and most also have geometries (although some do not, for example a paint finish). To avoid duplication, information should be both structured and coordinated. 

Some information is more appropriately located in the ‘geometrical’ part of the BIM object while other information is more suited to the ‘properties’ part, such as the specification. The specification is part of the project BIM, and objects live in the specification.   In traditional documentation we would ‘say it once, and in the right place’, however with BIM, we want to ‘author it once, and in the right place, to be able to report it many times’.

Figure 1: Appropriate location of information

Figure 1: Appropriate location of information

‘A picture paints a thousand words, but never underestimate the power of text’

Let’s take an analogy of a BIM object representing a simple cavity wall. The object will tell us the width of the brickwork and height of the wall. However at a certain point in the project cycle it is the written word that is needed to take us to a deeper level of information. It is within a textual context that we describe the length, height and depth of the brick. It is words that are used to describe the mortar joint and wall ties.

BIM objects are as much about the embedded data and information as they are about the spaces and dimensions that they represent graphically.

It is this connection to a wider source of information that really empowers the object, making it a rich source of information. Think of BIM objects if you will as a ‘place holder’ – not only a physical representation of the real life physical properties of the said object but also a home for non-graphical information such as performance criteria, physical and functional condition data, life-cycle data, detailed and current cost data (materials, equipment, and labor),  and operational information.

‘A new generation of specifiers is being empowered by BIM. We can begin to specify at a much earlier stage in the process’

Specifications were once undertaken by the specification expert, often once the detail design was completed. A new generation of specifiers is being empowered by BIM. We can begin to specify at a much earlier stage in the process.

In reality “specifiers” are now a team of stakeholders – Owners, Contactors, Subs, AE’s, Oversight Groups ….

By connecting the BIM object to an NBS Create specification, a direct link can be made to NBS technical guidance and standards, at the point where the designer most needs them. For example,  if the designer is a subscriber to the Construction Information Service (CIS), then any technical documents cited in the specification that are available can be downloaded instantly.

Figure 2: NBS Revit tool bar

Figure 2: NBS Revit tool bar

‘We have recently integrated geometric BIM objects with the corresponding NBS Create specification clauses to achieve a greater connection between the two’

BIM and BIM workflows are consistently being refined and updated as they become more commonplace and as standards and protocols emerge.   While we can never solve all coordination issues, we hope to improve coordination by linking databases, objects and eventually coordinate key property sets.

Traditionally, a value that was represented on a drawing may not correctly corresponded with the value within the specification simply due to a ‘typo’. An example being where a ’60 minute fire door’ has been recorded on the drawing but has been recorded as ’90 minutes fire rating’ within the specification. Aside from this coordination debate, practices will also need to decide and establish office policies on where information is recorded. While the specification system has detailed guidance and links to standards, regulations and suggested values, geometric BIM software has great visualization analysis and instance scheduling functionality.

Figure 3: Connection to a wider source of information empowers the object

Figure 3: Connection to a wider source of information empowers the object

At present, the NBS National BIM Library objects are classified using both the draft Uniclass 2 Work result code and the System name to give a deeper link between the object and specification. The NBS National BIM Library contains a number of objects that connect at a ‘product’ level (e.g. hand driers, baths, individual doorsets) while others work at a ‘system’ level (e.g. cubicle, partition, door and signage systems). Yet other objects are at an ‘element’ level (i.e. made up of a number of systems) such as external walls.

Following a period of industry consultation, Uniclass 2 is now being finalized for publication during 2013. Classification of content in the National BIM Library and NBS Create will then be updated.

National BIM Library Parameters

NBSReference NBS section/clause number 45-35-72/334
NBSDescription The full description of an object Hand driers
NBSNote Where a second system which is related to the BIM object can be described =[Blank]
NBSTypeID A reference to the object for the user if one or more is used with the project
Help URL of a website where additional help notes are available http://www.nationalbimlibrary.com/
Uniclass2 Uniclass2 Product Pr-31-76-36
IssueDate The issue date of the object 2012-12-06
Version The version of the object 1.1

A hand drier is an example of an object that links nicely to an associated product clause (NBSReference=45-35-72/334). Using tools such as NBS Create and the NBS Revit plug in tool, the corresponding product will automatically be captured; it can then be used to enrich the object with information such as power rating and noise levels.

A doorset is an example of an object that maps beautifully to an NBS Create System outline clause. For example using WR 25-50-20/120 Doorset System, we can then specify system performance, component and accessory products (e.g. glazing type, fasteners and threshold strips) as well as execution.

Certain NBS National BIM Library objects are at an ‘element level’ where they comprise a number of systems. In this situation we give a primary work results classification, the NBSReference. In addition, to help the user, we add the Uniclass 2 element code in an extra parameter field.

The following example is a Unit wall element comprising 100 mm thick stone, 100 mm mineral wool insulation batts and 100 mm concrete block, lined with 12.5 mm gypsum plasterboard on 25 mm dabs.

WR 25-10-55/123 ‘External multiple leaf wall above damp proof course masonry system’ has been used for the primary reference. From this System outline we can specify the stone facing, insulation and concrete block, together with DPC, lintels, mortar, cavity closers (which all in turn have product codes). A further system outline, WR 25-85-45/140 Gypsum board wall lining system, is given, from which the lining can be specified.

‘This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of NBS and we are now seeing project information being coordinated through intelligent objects’

An object could potentially relate to two different systems. An example of this would be a rainscreen cladding object. The following example is an aluminium cassette panel rainscreen system with metal frame, weather barrier, insulation, concrete block and plasterboard lining. This particular system could be either a ‘Drained and back ventilated rain screen cladding system’ 25-80-70/120 or a ‘Pressure equalized rain screen cladding system’ 25-80-70/160. The detail which would differentiate between the two is not shown in the geometric object itself but rather in the detail that would be found within the specification. When used in conjunction with the NBS plug-in tool, you are presented with the option to select the most appropriate system, and then to specify it to the appropriate level of detail.

Figure 4: Technology is enabling better processes and connection

Figure 4: Technology is enabling better processes and connection

We are now beginning to see project information being coordinated through intelligent objects.  The classification system, structure of data and technology are enabling better processes and will allow us to move a step closer towards full collaborative BIM.

via www.4Clicks.com – Leading cost estimating and efficient project delivery software  solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring and exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating / automatic quantity take off ( QTO), contract, project, and document management, all in one application.

BIM is NOT 3D Visualization – 4D, 5D …..

Building Information Modeling, BIM, is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  As such, the core requirements of BIM include collaboration, standardized information, multiple domain competencies, and several supporting interoperable technologies.

Let’s face it, BIM continues to languish.  Sure a lot of architects use it for pretty pictures to win business, and there are several “case studies” surrounding clash detection, etc. etc.   However, life-cycle and/or ongoing facility management using BIM?  No so much.

This is not only sad but economically and environmentally imprudent.   The efficient life-cycle management of the built environment is critical to both global competitiveness and preserving sustainable resources.

Why is BIM of to a slow start?  Too much focus on 3D visualization, too much “reinventing the wheel” trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and virtually NO EMPHASIS upon the requirements for life-cycle management… associated competencies, domains, technologies, ongoing collaboration, integration, and continuous improvement.

Design-bid-build and “low bid” awards are the downfall of the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner, and Operations sector.   The method is antagonistic, wasteful, and typically delivers poor initial and ongoing results.

Focus upon CHANGE MANAGEMENT and building awareness relative to both COLLABORATIVE CONSTRUCTION DELIVERY METHODS AND LIFECYCLE, TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP MANAGMENT is the only thing that will “kick start” BIM.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC) are both collaborative construction delivery methods that have been proven for decades, however, awareness remains low.  IPD’s focus is upon major new construction, while JOC focuses upon the numerous renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction projects so critical to efficient use of our current infrastructure.

The below diagram outlines the competencies, technologies, and process required for the lifecycle management of the built environment.

BIMF - Building Information Management Framework

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