BIM and Project Management

Adrian Malone
Building Information Modelling (BIM) sees the adoption of new software tools for the design, construction management, and operation of an asset.

Effective use of these tools can bring significant benefits to the client and project team resulting from efficiency savings through, for example, better co-ordination, richer stakeholder engagement and richer analysis of design information. Better software tools in isolation do not deliver the benefits of BIM, rather they are achieved when BIM software is used as part of a collaborative project process, such as that set out by PAS1192-2.

Better software tools in isolation do not deliver the benefits of BIM, rather they are achieved when BIM software is used as part of a collaborative project process, such as that set out by PAS1192-2.

The BIM process should, wherever possible, commence at the earliest stage of the project. At concept stage this is not about software or 3D modelling, but rather requires that the asset strategy is translated into project specific BIM requirements. Under PAS1192-2 these requirements form part of the Employers Information Requirements (EIR) document which subsequently contributes to the tender requirements at procurement stage.

Support may be required from the project manager to work with stakeholders in the client’s organisation to define the project specific BIM requirements and ensure the EIR is effective in expressing the technical, management, and commercial requirements of the employer.

The BIM process should, wherever possible, commence at the earliest stage of the project. 

Level 2 BIM has been developed to be compatible with all current common construction contracts. The BIM Protocol, commissioned by the Construction Industry Council has been developed with the purpose of allowing building information models to be specified and developed under current common construction contracts. The project manager may be required to advise the client about procurement options, and with appropriate legal advice tailor the BIM protocol and contract to reflect the client’s BIM requirements.

In the procurement stage under Level 2 BIM, pre-contract BIM Execution Plans (BEP) are prepared by suppliers. The BEP should demonstrate 'the supplier’s proposed approach, capability, capacity and competence to meet the EIR' (BSI: PAS1192-2). Evaluation of tender returns takes on an additional dimension when working with BIM, with BIM competency and BIM related training requirements forming an additional set of requirements to be assessed. Ability to collaborate and work constructively with others is important alongside technical BIM competencies when considering returned tenders.

...BIM provides not only a set of software tools which can provide detailed design and project information, but also a process which must be managed and effectively integrated into the management of the wider project processes and deliverables.

Aligned with the UK Government’s 2016 deadline for adoption of Level 2 BIM, Government Soft Landings (GSL) will also be required by the same deadline for all departments on government construction projects. GSL sets out a framework to strengthen the connection between the CAPEX phase of the asset lifecycle, and OPEX. This framework includes a requirement that users, operators and maintainers are engaged throughout the design and construction processes; GSL also specifies a range of performance metrics to validate that real world asset performance post-handover meets the specification promised by the design with assessment required over a 3 year period post-handover. Whilst the outcome of GSL is the smooth handover of an asset into operation, consideration must be given to the purpose and operational/FM strategy for the asset, and the specification of GSL requirements as part of procurement from the outset.

For the project manager, BIM provides not only a set of software tools which can provide detailed design and project information, but also a process which must be managed and effectively integrated into the management of the wider project processes and deliverables.