A Step-By-Step Approach to Building your BIM Infrastructure

A Step-By-Step Approach to Building your BIM Infrastructure

BIM or Building Information Modeling is rapidly becoming the “must-have” process for planning, designing, coordinating, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure around the world. As most here would know, BIM is an intelligent 3D modeling process that provides architects, designers and construction and development professionals with a tool to efficiently plan, design, and construct infrastructure.

Benefits of using BIM:

· Easy coordination and collaboration.

· Better choices are made earlier in the process.

· Projects progress can be tracked more comprehensively.

·Reduces construction site clashes and risks that may lead to delays during construction.

BIM or Building Information Modeling framework not only contains the design or structure of a building but also the information related to the properties of various components, its construction, and maintenance. Construction companies expect that BIM will transform how project teams work and it does just that. BIM works on the principles of – implement, enable, and execute: 

1. Implement:

• Standards and procedures 

• Technology

• Modeling content

2. Team enablement:

• Training and education

• Define and share objectives

3. Project execution:

• Program coordination

• Model administration 

• Knowledge transfer

Steps to follow while building your  BIM infrastructure:

Step 1: Start at the ground level:

Get all the equipment in order. It is important to ensure that all the infrastructure and software are up to date and can support BIM. This includes the workflows and processes for gathering information on an ongoing basis and for disseminating insights regularly. The following questions could be taken into consideration:

• Can the systems handle the amount of data required to make the BIM software impactful? 

• Is the computing infrastructure ready and available?

• Are the processes, workflows, and systems created keeping in mind the time it would take to capture data, process it, build the model, and distribute the information?

There are some practical considerations to factor in too. For instance, data storage for large projects could become a significant consideration. As BIM utilizes a large amount of information, it is important to ensure that all the information stays secure yet easy to access. 

Step 2: Get to know BIM:

Assign a team of employees to learn and understand more about BIM. The focus should be, not only, on how BIM works but also on how it influences how a team works? It is essential to gain a contextual understanding of BIM, its methodologies, and its implementation.

Step 3: Assemble the right team:

Like most initiatives, it’s good to start the BIM journey with a limited scope pilot. And, like most initiatives, the success of the project depends on the right talent available. It is important to pick the right set of individuals to drive the pilot project. Here are a few qualities to look for in a candidate for the pilot BIM project:

• Experience in 3D design or has BIM exposure.

• Understands the traditional structural plan and construction management process.

• Acknowledges data and modeling techniques.

• Willing to learn new software and systems quickly.

• Able to coach other team members.

Step 4: Develop a management plan:

Adopting BIM calls for changes across various parts of the organization. Adopting a BIM strategy introduces complexity into areas beyond just the engineering drawing department. This has been called a cultural change by many. The new way of working is more transparent and well-documented. This calls for accountability and collaboration. So, the management plan to roll out BIM across the construction enterprise would have to consider several crucial questions like:

• How do the impacted teams envision BIM changing the established workflows?

• Who will require training, and when will the training be provided?

• How will the questions and issues of the employees be solved? What will be the hand-holding process? Who will be the BIM champion who inspires everyone else to come on board?

As you can see, ongoing support is the most significant item. Organizational change will happen faster and be all the more effective when the employees will adopt new approaches for working.

In that context, a significant challenge is, how to get the employees on-site to use the data and insights provided from the BIM models?  Management strategies to drive up adoption may become crucial to ensuring success.

Step 5: Document the progress:

Once the initial set up is over and processes defined, it’s crucial to capture the learnings and keep track of ongoing progress. Here are a couple of ideas to note down:

• Project data, including key contacts.

• Processes that develop to manage file exchanges, kick-off meetings, and quality control.

• The impact of BIM in defining the vision for site design and analysis.

• The impact of BIM on improving cost estimation for materials and operations.

Step 6: Get your team to speed:

The next step in the BIM transformation is leveraging the foundation already prepared. The most significant instrument of change will be the employees who have seen the magic. These BIM champions can advocate for adoption across the organization. Motivate them to provide support to the rest of the team. On-the-job training for the team members is crucial as they make the transition easy for the employees as they learn the new tool and collaboration techniques. 

Step 7: Expand and innovate with BIM:

Then comes the continuous improvement phase. The aim here is to get more from the BIM strategy. Ask yourself how you can:

• Detect issues in construction and structure early and fix them beforehand.

• Demonstrate and optimize construction schedules with less material waste.

• Deliver projects on schedule and under budget.

• Control and streamline communication between all partners with one model.

• Manage and maintain facilities post-construction.

Each of these advantages will help you construct a better structure and increase profitability.

As BIM technology continues to advance and become more dominant, construction organizations know that they must prepare their teams to adapt to these changes. Change is never easy, and a step by step approach is the most likely approach to achieve success.