BIM Foundations - Periodic Table of BIM

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Foundations are the bedrock of efficient systems for communication, information exchange and data transfer. Only with these in place you can start to build advanced BIM processes.

To develop these foundations you need to establish an approach for managing the production, distribution, and quality of construction information in a common data environment (Cde) ensuring everyone can access the same data.  You also need to consider the right procurement routes to set the best environment for collaboration.

In the foundations stage you may also be undertaking activity to assess your current state of BIM readiness (to act as a benchmark) and thinking about the type of projects you want to focus on in future and what practical changes will be required.

Framework (Fr)

Digital information and exchange will flow across the project time line – from briefing and design, through to construction and beyond into facilities management. Information is created at the very start of a project and continues to evolve throughout the life of the built asset. 

Capturing and developing information effectively from the start will ensure that design, regulatory, construction and supply teams are able to collaborate efficiently, making use of well-structured and integrated information. 

Auditing existing practice in this regard will help you determine your own BIM readiness and make it easier to understand where process and software could be altered or implemented to deliver better results at each stage.

Common Methods (Co)

Sharing structured data is at the heart of BIM but this sharing is only possible if stakeholders across the supply chain are working to shared standards. In the construction sector, buildingSMART  is the leading organisation devoted to identifying and delivering the standards needed. Standards worth considering from the off include:

IDM – Information Delivery Manuals ISO/FDIS 29481-1:2010
IDM formalises information exchange between participants with information formally defined and rules declared for checking. These expectations are often hard-baked into software tools. The most common collection of information requirements – the ‘coordination view’ allows consultants to pool their work to identify where more co-ordination effort is needed. With a process well documented the roles of principals, managers and experts can be summarised. ISO 12911:2012 suggests how BIM Guidance documents can be structured to be re-usable.

IFD – International Framework Dictionary ISO 12006-3:2007
As more participants from across the globe move to exploit shared standards terminology becomes crucial. The IFC has defined names for over 3000 properties. International Framework for Dictionaries takes this to a new level by including synonyms for objects and properties in multiple languages. IFD is structured to ISO 12006 part 3.

Procurement Route (Pr)

The UK Government's Construction Strategy recognises that procurement is crucial to establishing a successful BIM implementation. Procurement was also called out by the RIBA President in introducing the BIM Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work. Clearly, procurement is important and your contractual framework should seek to establish the right environment for BIM. The more collaborative the contract, the better the BIM opportunity. Communication needs to flow not only between the client and principal contractor but also through to any subcontractors and the contract should set the tone for collaborative working. You’ll need to consider how to approach model management, intellectual property rights and data management, responsibilities for errors (given the reliance on supplied data), liabilities and ownership of process and risk management.

Capability and capacity (Ca)

What skills and qualities will be required to implement BIM in your organisation? To what extent can these be developed or learnt and to what extent might they need to be imported or outsourced? Just as the BIM Execution Plan (Bep) demonstrates capability on a project, at the foundation stage of BIM implementation you need to demonstrate you have the capability to deliver what is required.

Maintaining ‘business as usual’ while implementing any form of programme of change is also something that needs to be carefully planned and managed. How busy is your organisation? Which teams and individuals will come under strain when implementing various aspects of your BIM implementation programme? How can this be mitigated?

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