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BIM: Measurement of design progress on large capital projects



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June 12, 2015 │ Jia Liu and Giselle Chanona-Pierre

The adoption and use of BIM (building information modeling) or EIM (engineering integration management) has moved from bleeding edge to mainstream in the North American construction industry since the early 2000s. In the past 14 years, BIM efforts have made leaps and bounds in terms of software, hardware, talent buildup, processes, established industry practices and policies.

Yet BIM is still exhibiting varying states of maturity among its participants. Analogous to the concepts of lean startup found in The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries, BIM adoption has mostly stumbled upon the early-stage version of the minimum viable product (MVP) approach, where new concepts and practices are pioneered, continuously deployed and validated by the early adopters and then gradually rippled through the industry as evidence of success that is part scientific and part anecdotal.

One of the key challenges faced by practitioners is the measurement of design progress in a BIM model. Unlike 2-D or hand-drawn information, BIM models require an alternative way to track design progress, as the model tends to evolve rather than progress in a linear fashion. In order to discuss how to improve the maturity and adoption of BIM among practitioners, we are proposing an analytical approach focused on the measurement of progress and productivity of BIM during the design phase, by leveraging hands-on experiences in BIM management on large capital projects as well as industry leading practices in business analytics. The approach is also complemented by a sample set of actionable metrics derived from a combination of authors’ hands-on experiences, existing industry BIM standards and business intelligence measurements practiced by various business functions.

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