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


Real Property – Best Management Practices

As a real property owner, can you answer the following questions?

  1. What is the Average Facility Condition Index – FCI?
  2.  What is the average cost of a Requirement relative to your Deferred Maintenance?
  3.  What is the average Requirement Cost per Square Foot?
  4.  What is the total Replacement Cost for your portfolio? Per Building?
  5.   What is the total Number of your building Assets?
  6.   What is the total Square Foot Area of your buildings?

Information-based decision support is critical to the efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.    How are you monitoring functionality, obsolescence, life safety, ADA, building codes, appearance, capacity, utilization, energy use, integrity …

These are just a sampling of basic data needed to better allocate your resources.

Federal Real Property Facility Managment


Life-cycle Management of the Built Environment – BIM – Current Status

BIM usage, despite reports to contrary, remains minimal among large building portfolio Owners.  That is to say that the “life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology” is not being practiced in an efficient, transparent, consistent manner by many, if any, public or private sector Owners.    The question is why?

Reason #1 – Most Owners don’t understand the basic tenants/requirements of life-cycle management.

Reason #2 – The lack of a robust BIM Ontology

Despite popular opinion, technology is NOT the issue.


BIM is in desperate need of a core glossary.   A core glossary a defining dictionary that enables definition of concepts, especially for newcomers to a language or field of study. It contains a small working vocabulary and definitions for important or frequently encountered concepts, usually including idioms or metaphors useful in a culture.

In a general sense, a glossary contains explanations of concepts elevant to a certain field of study or action. In this sense, the term is related to the notion of ontology.  

Automatic methods exist to a transform a glossary into an ontology or a computational lexicon.  Computational approaches to the automated extraction of glossaries start from domain terminology and extract one or more items (glosses) for each term of interest. Glosses can then be analyzed to extract  hypernyms of the defined term and other lexical and semantic relations.


  1. R. Navigli, P. Velardi. From Glossaries to Ontologies: Extracting Semantic Structure from Textual Definitions, Ontology Learning and Population: Bridging the Gap between Text and Knowledge (P. Buitelaar and P. Cimiano, Eds.), Series information for Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, IOS Press, 2008, pp. 71-87.
  2. R. Navigli. Using Cycles and Quasi-Cycles to Disambiguate Dictionary Glosses, Proc. of 12th Conference of the European Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL 2009), Athens, Greece, March 30-April 3rd, 2009, pp. 594-602.
  3. J. Klavans and S. Muresan. Evaluation of the Definder System for Fully Automatic Glossary Construction. In Proc. of American Medical Informatics Association Symp., 2001, pp. 324–328.
  4. A. Fujii, T. Ishikawa. Utilizing the World Wide Web as an Encyclopedia: Extracting Term Descriptions from Semi-Structured Texts. In Proc. 38th Ann. Meeting Assoc. for Computational Linguistics, 2000, pp. 488–495.
  5. P. Velardi, R. Navigli, P. D’Amadio. Mining the Web to Create Specialized Glossaries, IEEE Intelligent Systems, 23(5), IEEE Press, 2008, pp. 18-25.

Moving from Design-Build, DB, to Integrated Project Delivery, IPD

Providing the opportunity for the kind of collaboration that the construction industry so badly needs….

Design-Build has a spectrum, ranging from almost as dysfunctional …. all the way to almost as collaborative as Integrated Project Delivery.

Shifting Design-Build toward IPD

This blog entry was co-authored by Oscia Wilson and Lisa Dal Gallo

We are big proponents of Design-Build because it places designers and builders in the same room, thus providing the opportunity for the kind of collaboration that the construction industry so badly needs.  Opportunity for collaboration, however, is not the same as a guarantee of collaboration.  Design-Build has a spectrum, ranging from almost as dysfunctional as Design-Bid-Build all the way to almost as collaborative as Integrated Project Delivery.

Design Build continuum

Figure 1: Depending on how the Design-Build structure is implemented, a project can be nearly identical to an IPD structure or very dysfunctional

On the left of this spectrum, you have those Design-Build projects that use bridging documents, lowest bidder selection, and a team that doesn’t work well together.  Although the builders are contractually combined with the architect of record, these projects are not collaborative, let alone integrated.

Owners, this is bad for you.  The biggest problem with this model is that when you have an architect prepare bridging documents, you’ve just made all the big decisions without the input of the building team.  Since 80% of the cost decisions are made during the first 20% of the design, you’ve just cheated yourself out of the biggest source of potential savings that come from collaboration between the contractors and the designers.

On top of that, now you’ve divided your design team into two groups: the architects who did the bridging documents, and the architects who finish the project.  This creates knowledge transfer loss, inefficiencies due to effort repetition, and prevents the second architect from holding a sense of ownership over the design.

In addition, if your selection is based solely on price, the Design-Build team will price exactly what is on the bridging documents; there is no incentive for the team to engage in target value design.  This situation could be improved by offering an incentive through savings participation, but that kind of aggressive innovation requires a high functioning team.  If the selection was based on lowest bid, the team may be too dysfunctional to achieve real gains because the lowest prices generally come from the least experienced and least savvy of the potential participants.  Often in these settings, cost savings are achieved at the expense of quality design, as general contractors under great pressure to achieve aggressive cost savings revert to treating architects and engineers as venders instead of partners.

For owners who want intimate involvement in the process, Design-Build based on low bidding offers another disadvantage.  In order for the Design-Build team to deliver for that low price you were so excited about, they have no choice but to ruthlessly cut you out of the process.  They are carrying so much risk that they can’t afford any of the potential interference, delay, or scope escalation that comes from involving a client in the back-room discussions.

If you have a team that works well together, you move farther to the right on the spectrum.

If you hire the design-build team based on good scoping documents instead of bridging documents, you move farther to the right on the spectrum.  (Partial bridging documents may be a good compromise for public owners whose process requires a bridging step.)

Starting somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, you start seeing successful projectsA successful, collaborative Design-Build project is light years ahead of Design-Bid-Build.

Some projects are pushing the envelope so far that their Design-Build projects look very similar to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).  Lisa Dal Gallo, a partner at Hanson Bridgett is an expert in IPD and partially integrated projects, including how to modify a Design-Build structure to get very close to an IPD model.  She recently discussed this topic at both the San Diego and Sacramento chapters of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). The discussion was mainly to assist public owners who have design-build capability to improve upon their delivery, but same principles apply to private owners who may not be in the position to engage in a fully integrated process through an IPD delivery method.

Several recent and current projects in California are operating on the far right side of this Design-Build collaboration spectrum, by crafting a custom version of Design-Build that uses IPD principles.  Here’s how they’re doing it:

  • Skipping the Bridging Documents. Instead of using bridging documents as the basis for bidding, owners are creating scoping criteria or partial bridging documents that provide performance and owner requirements, but allow the design team to collaborate on the design and present their own concept to achieve the owner’s goals. Under this type of scenario, the design-build teams would typically be prequalified and then no more than 3 teams would be solicited to participate in design competition.The team is usually selected based on best value.  After engagement, the owner and end users work with the team through the scoping phase and set the price.
  • Integrating the Design-Build entity internally
    • To assist in a change in behavior, the general contractor and major players like architect, engineers, MEP subs, and structural subs can pool a portion of their profit, proportionally, sharing in the gains or pains inflicted based on the project outcome.
    • Through downstream agreements, the major team players can also agree to waive certain liabilities against each other.
    • They enter into a BIM Agreement and share information freely, using BIM to facilitate target value design and a central server to allow full information transparency.
  • Partially integrating with the owner.  The owner can play an active role, participating in design and management meetings.

The extent to which the owner is integrated with the design/build team is a subtle—but crucial—point of differentiation between an extremely collaborative form of Design-Build (which I suggest we call “Integrated Design-Build”) and Integrated Project Delivery.

Here is the crux of the biscuit: Under an IPD model, the owner actually shares in the financial risks and rewards associated with meeting the budget and schedule[1].  Therefore, they are part of the team and get to fully participate in back-of-house discussions and see how the sausage is made.

Under Design-Build, even an Integrated version of Design-Build, the design-build entity is carrying all the financial risk for exceeding a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and/or schedule, so they deserve to collect all the potential reward if they can figure out how to bring it in faster and cheaper.  Since the owner’s risk for cost and schedule is substantially reduced when the project uses a GMP, the owner doesn’t really deserve a spot at the table once they’ve finished clearly communicating their design and performance criteria (which is what the scoping documents are for).

It can be an awkward thing trying to incorporate a client who wants to be involved, while making sure that client doesn’t request anything above and beyond what is strictly communicated in the scoping documents upon which the GMP is based.

So the key differences between this Integrated Design-Build and full Integrated Project Delivery are:

  • The contract model (a multi-party agreement between Owner, Architect and Contractor vs. an agreement between owner and usually the contractor)

  • The level of owner participation in the decision making process

  • The fee structure and certain waivers of liability (shared risk) between the owner and the other key project team members.

Delivery model diagrams

Figure 2: Traditional design-build is hierarchical in nature. An integrated design-build model is collaborative in nature (but only partially integrates with the owner). An IPD model is fully collaborative with the owner and may or may not include consultants and sub-contractors inside the circle of shared risk & reward, depending on the project.

The IPD contract form of agreement is aimed at changing behaviors, and its contractual structure exists to prompt, reward, and reinforce those behavior changes.  However, full scale IPD is not right for every owner or project; it is another tool in a team’s tool box.  The owner and its consultants and counsel should determine the best delivery method for the project and proceed accordingly.  The important thing to remember is that any delivery model can be adapted to be closer to the ideal collaborative model by making certain critical changes.  What is one thing you might change on your next project to prompt better collaboration?

[1] Under IPD, a Target Cost is set early (similar to a GMP).  If costs exceed that target, it comes out of the design & construction team’s profits.  But if costs go so high that the profit pool is exhausted, the owner picks up the rest of the costs.  If costs are lower than the target, the owner and the team split the savings.

Lisa Dal Gallo

Lisa Dal Gallo is a Partner at Hanson Bridgett, LLP, specializing in assisting clients in determining the best project delivery method to achieve the teams’ goals, developing creative deal structures that encourage use of collaborative and integrated delivery processes and drafting contracts in business English.  She is the founder of California Women in Design + Construction (“CWDC”), a member of the AIA Center for Integrated Practice and the AIA California Counsel IPD Steering Committee, and a LEED AP.  Lisa can be reached at 415-995-5188 or by email at




Oscia Wilson headshotOscia Wilson, AIA, MBA is the founder of Boiled Architecture.  After working on complex healthcare facility projects, she became convinced that Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) was key to optimizing construction project delivery.  She founded Boiled Architecture to practice forms of Integrated and highly collaborative project delivery.  She serves on the AIA California Council’s committee on IPD.

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Job Order Contracting – JOC – is a proven form of IPD which targets renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction, while IPD targets major new construction.

IPD - Integrated Project Delivery and JOC - Job Order Contracting
IPD – Integrated Project Delivery and JOC – Job Order Contracting
JOC Process
JOC Process

BIM graphic #6

The Metrics of BIM – The Manage the Built Environment

As the old saying goes…”you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.



Here’s the beginning of a list of information requirements spanning various domains/competencies, technologies, etc.,
While an important component, the 3D component of BIM has been a very unfortunate distraction.  It appears that many/most have “gone to the weeds” and/or are “recreating the wheel” vs. working on core foundational needs such as the consistent use of appropriate terminology and the establishment of robust, scalable and repeatable business practices, methodologies, standards, metrics and benchmarks for facilities and physical infrastructure management.

It is common terminology that enables effective communication and transparency among the various decision makers, building managers, operators and technicians involved with facilities and physical infrastructure investment and management.

Here are examples of metrics associated with the life-cycle management of the built environment:

Annualized Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) per building per gross area = Rate per square foot

Annualized TCO per building/Current replacement value = Percent of Current Replacement Value (CRV)

Annualized TCO per building/Net assignable square feet = Cost rate per net assignable square feet per building

Annualized TCO per building/Non-assignable square feet = Cost rate per non-assignable square feet per building

Annualized TCO per building/Building Interior square feet = Cost rate per interior square foot per building

Churn Rate

Utilization Rate

AI (Adaptation Index) or PI (Programmatic Index) = PR (Program Requirements) /
CRV (Current Replacement Value)

Uptime or Downtime – Defined in percent, as amount of time asset is suitable for the program(s) served.

Facility Operating Gross Square Foot (GSF) Index (SAM Performance Indicator: APPA 2003)

Custodial Costs per square foot

Grounds Keeping Costs per square foot

Energy Costs per square foot

Energy Usage

Utility Costs per square foot

Waste Removal Costs per square foot

Facility Operating Current Replacement Value (CRV) Index (SAM Performance Indicator: APPA 2003)

Planned/Preventive Maintenance Costs per square foot

Emergency Maintenance Costs as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures.

Unscheduled/Unplanned Maintenance Costs as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures.

Repair costs (man hours and materials) as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures

FCI (Facility Condition Index) = DM (Deferred Maintenance) + CR (Capital Renewal)
/ CRV (Current Replacement Value)

Recapitalization Rate, Reinvestment Rate

Deferred Maintenance Backlog

Facilities Deterioration Rate

FCI (Facility Condition Index) = DM (Deferred Maintenance) + CR (Capital Renewal) /
CRV (Current Replacement Value)

AI (Adaptive Index) or PI (Programmatic Index) = PR (Program Requirements) /
CRV (Current Replacement Value)

FQI (Facility Quality Index) or Quality Index or Index = FCI (Facility Condition Index)+ AI (Adaptive Index)

BIMF - Building Information Management FrameworkVia – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for the built environment – , …

BIM Strategy, Collaboration, and Interoperablity… Getting it right from square one.

The construction industry (architecture, engineering, construction, operations/facility management, business product manufacturers, oversight and regulatory groups), like most other sectors, is in a state of rapid change.

Construction delivery methods are at the center of  this ongoing transformation as they dictate the structure, tone, and legal requirements of any project.  Thus, whether you are involved with construction, renovation, repair, and/or sustainability projects… Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, for new construction, Job Order Contracting – JOC, for minor new construction, renovation, repair, and sustainability and Public Private Partnerships – PPP, are examples of collaborative construction delivery methods that are rapidly replacing traditional and somewhat dysfunctional methods such as Design Bid Build (DBB).

While collaborative construction delivery methods have been in existence for decades and are well proven, they are only recently being more readily adopted.  The drivers for change include environmental, economic, and technology factors.  We are all aware of shrinking resources whether budgetary or non-renewal energy related, as well as associated environmental regulations relative to global warming, the latter of which will become increasingly stringent.     That said, disruptive technologies such as BIM (Building Information Modeling) and Cloud Computing are also a major causal factors  as well as enablers  relative the  business process change so desperately needed with the construction sector.
As collaborative construction delivery methods become more common, the need to share information transparently becomes paramount. Project teams need to adapt to early and ongoing information sharing among distributed team members and organizations.   In the case of JOC (also known as SABER in in the United State Air Force), technology has been available for over a decade to support virtually all aspects of   collaborative project execution from concept thru warranty period.  An example is 4Clicks Project Estimator combined with RSMeans Cost Data, and/or organizational specific unit price books.  With all parties leveraging the same data and following robust, collaborative processes from concept, thru site walk, construction, etc., the net result being  more jobs being done on-time and on-budge with fewer change orders and virtual elimination of the legal disputes, the latter be unfortunately common with traditional methods.

Job Order Contracting Process
Job Order Contracting Process

IPD vs. Traditional

How built environment stakeholders share information and work together will continue to evolve.  The methods in which we, as Owners, Contractors, AEs, etc. participate in this exchange within our domains will determine our ultimate success or failure.

As show in the following graphic, the project delivery methods, while a fundamental element, is just one “piece of the BIM pie”.

Multiple “activities” , business processes” , “competencies”, and “supporting technologies” are involved in BIM.

BIM is  “the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technologies”.

BIM Framework
BIM Framework

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:

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
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.

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When is BIM not BIM?

BIM, Building Information Modeling, actually consists of three M’s…. BIM3 if you will…  Modeling, Models, and Management.

Since the “accepted” definition of BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology, it’s easy to see that BIM is part process and part technology, with the goal of developing and using current, accurate, shared information to optimize proactive decision-making.

Unfortunately the AECO sector (Architecture, Engineering Construction, Operations) sector is currently “silo” and “first cost” centric, not to mention relatively technophobic.   Major culture change across all stakeholders must take place before BIM can be understood, let alone practiced, on a widespread basis.

Building Information Modeling: A BUSINESS PROCESS for generating and leveraging building data to design, construct and operate the built environment during its life-cycle.  Stakeholders  have access to accurate, shared information  on demand, enable via interoperability between technology platforms and common terms, definition, metrics and benchmarks.

Building Information Model: The DIGITAL REPRESENTATION of physical and functional characteristics of the built environment.  As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onwards.

Building Information Management: The strategic vision for ORGANIZATION, COLLABORATION, andCONTROL of the business process by utilizing principles and guidelines for Information  Architecture  (i.e.a digital prototype) to effect the sharing of trustworthy information over the entire life-cycle of a physical asset. The benefits include centralized and visual communication, early exploration of options, sustainability, efficient design, integration of disciplines, site control, as-built documentation, etc.– effectively managing the digital decision support model of an asset from conception to retrofitting to final retirement over the course of a century or more.

Thoughts? Comments?

BIMF - Building Information Management Frameworkvia – Leading cost estimating and efficient project delivery software – JOC, SABER, MATOC, IDIQ, BOA, POCA, BOA … featuring exclusive 400,000+ RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating, document management, project 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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Building Information Management Framework – BIMF – People, Process, Technology

While at first perhaps a bit intimidating…  illustrating the life-cycle management within a BIM context is relatively straightforward.

BIM – Life-cycle Management Perspective

BIMF - Building Information Management Framework


The purpose of this Framework is to provide  a general guide that your team can quickly customize to your specific requirements.   Like a restaurant menu or a travel guide, you can visualize the resources available and decide on an appropriate strategic configuration of options.

Just begin in the Center and work thru this Action Agenda using, when available and appropriate, tested  processes and templates.   Using these guidelines, set up a BIM Management structure with your stakeholders.

 The Building Information Management Framework (BIMF) illustrates a how people, processes, and technology interact to support the built environment throughout its life-cycle.  Based upon the associated level of detail, an operating model can be developed to more efficiently identify,  prioritize, and meet the current and future needs of built environment stakeholders (Owners, AE’s, Contractors, Occupants, Oversight Groups…)

More specifically, modular, Model View Definitions (MVD), associated exchange specifications and common data architectures [for example: Industry Foundation Class (IFC), OMNICLASS] can  help to integrate multi-discipline Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) “activities”,  “business processes”, “associated competencies” and “supporting technologies”  to meet overall requirements with a goal of continuous improvement.

WORK GROUP FORMATION – Roles and Relationships;

PROCESS MAP – who does what, in which sequence, and why;

EXCHANGE REQUIREMENTS & BASIC BUSINESS RULES – Overall guidelines for information integration

EXCHANGE REQUIREMENT MODELS – Specific information “maps”

GENERIC MODEL VIEW DEFINTION (MVD) – Strategic approach incorporating guidelines for information format, content, and use;



(Adapted from: IMPROVING THE ROBUSTNESS OF MODEL EXCHANGES USING PRODUCT MODELING ‘CONCEPTS’ FOR IFC SCHEMA –Manu Venugopal, Charles Eastman, Rafael Sacks, and Jochen Teizer – with ongoing assistance/input from NBIMS3.0 Terminology Subcommittee)

Model View Definitions (MVD) and associated exchange specifications, provide the best benefit if they are modular and reusable and developed from Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Product Modeling Concepts.   Model views and overall life-cycle management are similar in this regard.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools serving the Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) span multiple  “activities”,  “business processes”, “associated competencies” and “supporting technologies”, and each may required different internal data model representation to suit each domain.  Data exchange is therefore a critical aspect.   Inter and intra domain standardized data architectures and associated adoption of matching robust processes are really the first step toward successfully managing the built environment.

The Process Side of BIM = Collaboration: People, Process, & Technology