What’s Really Needed to Make BIM Work.

Building Information Management (that’s right forget the “modeling” distraction), BIM, is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.

What is required to accomplish BIM?

1. Commitment, understanding, and knowledge on the part of all stakeholders – Owner, AEs, Contractors, Subs, Product and Service Providers, and Oversight Groups.

2. Robust, collaborative business practices complete with a well defined ontology, metrics, and methods for continuous improvement.

3.  Open standard technology (cloud computing, GIS, CPMS, CAFM, Cost Estimating, Project Delivery, BAS, Visualization) that embeds and supports life-cycle management processes.

Simple right?  Well actually it is, IF AND ONLY IF, Owners drive the process (they pay the bills, period…not AEs, Contractors, Trades) and Suppliers are willing and capable of working in a collaborative BIM environment (not all will be…FACT).

Now for a few specifics… not in any particular order:

Life-cycle management of the built environment requires the integration of disparate information, parties, domains…etc., each having their own value, contribution, level of permanence, etc. in order to define the scope, schedule,  cost/budget (initial and life-cycle)  budget, performance, value of a project or potential project.

Progress measurement analysis and control  is continuous, as are decision-making and decision-support activities.

Behaviors and domains spans: Organizational, Planning, Budgeting, Accounting, Architecture, Construction, Technology, and Legal.  Change management is likely the most significant barrier to entry for BIM, as other issues are trivial in comparison.

Fundamental life-cycle phases and strategies are applicable:  Analyze (Develop and maintain measurement tools) , Plan (For progress and performance measurement), Execute (design, procure, construct, maintain, repair, renew, adapt, deconstruction, reuse…  track resources, measure progress, track resource, review/report progress … physical and functional aspects).

What “tools” are needed? Well, for starters, a standardized set of the following:

Overall Life-cycle and/or Total Cost of Ownership process and glossary of terms/ontology

Robust, collaborative construction delivery methods (Integrate Project Delivery – IPD, Job Order Contacting – JOC, Private Public Partnerships – PPP)

List of Items and Item Classifications and Parameters (function, measurements, performance, …)

Cost Data Architecture / Cost Classifications / Cost Types  – Materials, Equipment, Labor, Environmental, Life-Safety

Metrics: Physical and Functional and associated Assessment Methods and Criteria