As one of the top 100 BIM Architecture firms in the US, my firm is no stranger to managing BIM projects. Specializing in designing Healthcare, Science & Technology and Corporate Interiors, we run the gambit of project sizes, from tiny to super-ultra-extra-large-mega-extreme. The truth is though, (and Design Technology Leaders came out of the most recent Summit with the following understanding being prevalent in all US firms,) even though we are as fantastically BIM-y, Project Management is not so ubiquitously in tune with some of the key criteria of managing BIM projects. Like you, my PM’s could benefit from knowing more. But where to start?
First and foremost, PM’s should have a working knowledge of BIM, its’ benefits, and how to communicate intelligently about it to clients and project team members. It is oft the individuals in the room with the least knowledge of BIM, that get their firms into trouble.
Secondly, PM’s should understand and establish a clear BIM scope with overall team members including the client if applicable. This scope includes the level of development of the data for its identified intended uses, which need also be spelled out.
Third, communication, coordination, and quality review. Stemming from the previous item comes the need to monitor and ensure the team is delivering what is required, when it is required, so schedules can be maintained and deliverables met. A PM should be able to open and review a model, its data, and its drawings. QA/QC must take on an expanded role with BIM deliverables and time must be allotted to complete this.
Lastly, budgeting projects accurately can be challenging for those without an understanding of the dynamics of BIM projects. This is one of the most popular topics in a PM BIM session. As a general rule, a baseline BIM project should cost no more to produce than it has in the past and it’s the additional deliverable requirements, model data and BIM deliverable for construction that would warrant an additional fee.
It’s our duty to continue to broaden the abilities and responsibilities of our project managers with continued training and development. Whether you are a BIM support staff member or a Design Technology leader, get out there and setup a project management training session in your company and discuss at least one of these four topics.
Written by Craig Barbieri, BIM Manager at Francis Cauffman
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