BIM Process. BIM Process Management Steps.

GlossaryMarch 12, 2021
Issues on 2d sheet

Introduction

While the popularity of BIM has been on the rise for the past twenty years, there are still many companies that do not understand the necessity of BIM in the current landscape of construction and modern technologies. BIM is crucial for design and construction teams to work together when it comes to 3D models, among other things.

The process of using BIM for different collaborative purposes within different stages of the project is a complex endeavour. It also involves a lot of resources, including both software and employees. Some examples of BIM software that is commonly used in the BIM process are Revit, Navisworks, AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, Revizto and many others.

1. Pre-design Phase

The pre-design phase is the first step towards the realization of the project, and it usually involves several long-term decisions. One of such decisions is whether BIM should be used in the process or not. At this point, it’s extremely rare for companies not to take the many advantages that BIM has to offer, but it’s still a choice nevertheless. The only exception to this rule is the UK territory that requires BIM usage for any construction past the specific project scope. Additionally, the schematic model of the project is also created at this step, and made by the architect.

This kind of model is then presented to the project owner, with a sufficient explanation about different facilities, expected costs and the materials involved. It’s not uncommon for the owner to ask questions or offer their thoughts on the design in question, and only after going over all of the owner’s corrections can the model finally enter the design phase.

2. Design Phase

The design phase is where additional parts of BIM often start to get involved, such as scheduling and estimating (4D and 5D), and sometimes even more. We’ll go over two of those since they’re more common than the others.

Scheduling is there to assure the building created and ready within the time period that was set beforehand, and estimating is making sure that the project stays within the boundaries of the predetermined budget. The correct setup of the BIM models would significantly improve the results of these efforts.

For example, the scheduling has to keep in mind the construction process and how it works in the first place. This allows for the schedule estimates to be accurate and less prone to mistakes. Additionally, if the scheduling process is kept in mind when the BIM model is created, it would be much easier for estimating to provide more accurate numbers and predictions when it comes to budgets and materials consumed. The existence of information within different parts of the BIM model helps this process be performed correctly.

In the age of 2D drawings, it was a very laborious task to try and keep all of the possibilities and elements in mind when performing estimations. Luckily enough, BIM is capable of providing models and objects that are filled with information about their real-life counterparts, making it significantly easier to accomplish both estimating and scheduling.

Collaboration and its place in the design phase.

Detailed design is where collaboration is supposed to shine the most. Performing regular coordination meetings with different participants of the project (engineers, estimators, schedulers, architects, project managers, construction managers, etc.) allows for every participant of the project to be involved in the process and provide their feedback on possible issues or setbacks.

Additionally, it’s also highly recommended to perform interference checks and clash detections on a regular basis. Some might say that this is a time-consuming process, but correcting a previously undetected error in an existing building takes way more time and resources than finding it at the design phase and fixing it before the construction even gets to that point.

The design phase is also where the BIM model could be used in several different ways, and not just its original purpose. The existence of BIM process management as a whole allows for a BIM model to be used in scheduling, elevations, walkthroughs, sections, and many other processes – potentially saving a lot of time and money within that project.

3. Construction phase

As soon as the design process is complete, it’s time to begin the construction process. Assuming that you have estimating and scheduling calculated at the design phase, you should already have a number of long-lead items purchased preemptively and that your schedule is as close to reality as possible. At this point, your work on-site should’ve already started, with people working on getting ready for the foundations to be poured, among other things.

At this stage of the construction, BIM can still be utilized in many ways to keep the process on the rails, so to speak. A specific piece of software like Navisworks can be used in the field to make sure that the intended design is followed completely, and both the construction manager and the field superintendent are collaborating with the design team for that exact purpose.

Running additional clash detection protocols is also common practice at this point to make sure that you’re not missing anything in your building as it’s being constructed. At this stage, it’s also possible to run construction simulations and predict some of the problems before they happen and disrupt the construction as a whole.

Additionally, simulations would help you make better estimations for the project as a whole, making sure that you’ll be done with the project in time. And another advantage of using BIM throughout the project’s existence is the ability to update the owner with actual walkthroughs and renderings so that they can see what they paid for.

Conclusion

In this article, we explained the BIM process and split it into several different steps (or phases). The main focus of BIM as a process is to enforce collaboration and make it easier for all of the participants of the project to work collaboratively and more efficiently.

BIM allows for a solid connection to be established between two extremely important phases of the construction – design and construction itself. As a result, the efficiency has improved drastically, and there is still room to grow.

About the author

James Ocean

BIM/VDC Specialist. James Ocean is Head of BIMspiration at Revizto and keeps everything moving onwards and upwards. From supporting and teaching our internal team as well as our clients, James shows us the ins-and-outs and how to best leverage Revizto to maximize workflows, cut costs, and get all types of projects through the finish line.

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