The Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, Owner (AECOO) sector must engage in collaborative construction delivery methods in over achieve any measurable performance improvement in the life-cycle management of the built environment.
Building Information Management, Model and Modeling
BIM is a term which represents three separate but linked functions:
Building Information Management: Is the ORGANIZATION & CONTROL of the business process by utilizing the information in the digital prototype to effect the sharing of information over the entire lifecycle of an 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 developing an asset lifecycle process and model from conception to final retirement.
Building Information Model: Is the DIGITAL REPRESENTATION of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. 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 Modeling: Is a BUSINESS PROCESS for generating and leveraging building data to design, construct and operate the building during its lifecycle. BIM allows all stakeholders to have access to the same information at the same time through interoperability between technology platforms.
BIM spans many areas as noted above…Management, Model, and Modeling. The model includes geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, quantities and physical and functional properties of components and systems associated with the built environment. BIM information spans one or all aspects of the life-cycle of the built environment from concept thru deconstruction/reuse.
Achieving life-cycle management requires fundamental changes in how all stakeholders (Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Subs, Owners, Business Product Manufactures, Oversight Groups…) function on a day to day basis. Enhanced data sharing, early on in any project, is a requirement and not all participants will be capable of the change.
People, technology, and business process must function holistically and leverage a robust ontology spanning specifications, standards, regulations, manufacturer product specifications, cost, procurement, and project delivery details, environmental aspects, submittal processes. All working together. Disparate competencies, business process, and technologies combine into ongoing information repository to drive more effective decision support.
Collaborative construction delivery methods such as IPD – Integrated Project Delivery for new construction, and JOC – job order contracting – for repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction are requisite components of BIM. Forget design-bid-built, and even design-built. Move away from ad-hoc, antagonistic construction delivery methods.
It is the construction delivery methods that sets the tone and outlines the specific goals, timelines, relationships, and deliverables for a project. It does so from an overall process perspective as well as detailed tasks level, with associated stages. It is the construction delivery methods that has the single most impacts upon whether or not a project is is completed, correctly, on time and on budget.
So, why is BIM not taking off? Far too many AECOO participants are resisting a collaborative process. They see benefit in limiting information access and transparency. They simply believe that “my way is the best way”, and many believe that there domain is an “art” vs. a experience-based profession.
Will BIM and efficient project delivery methods lead to major stakeholder services becoming commodities and/or lessening participants value? Of course not. In fact, just the opposite, skill must increase, and the ability to work with multiple players, processes, and technologies are all requirements. Value will be places upon information vs. data. Collaboration vs. silo-based actions. Visualization of information will be critical, not 3D pretty pictures. Standardized metrics will be the norm.
Standardized cost databases, unit price books, specifications linked tasks, comparison of internal vs. average costs, shared risk/reward, virtual elimination of legal disputes and mitigation of change orders, processes that guide vs. mandate behavior, localized management with global oversight… welcome to the new world.
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