BIM Execution Plan is a buzzword that is increasingly heard amongst the architectural companies in South Africa and my research indicates that this may be because more companies are starting to engage with BIM projects. But who are the BIM Champions that are driving these processes?
A BIM Champion is the person who has the technical skills, theoretical knowledge and the motivation to lead and guide teams improving their BIM implementation. The levels of BIM Champion’s involvement within the BIM utilisation process differs across companies and varies sometimes within the same company across different projects. A new role has crept into the architectural space recently, the term ‘BIM Manager’ is also increasingly being used among architects. So what is this managers role and where does the BIM Execution Plan fit in to the bigger picture. Vaughan Harris caught up with Lourens Henning, Director of the BIM Institute and BIM Practitioner, who shared his insights on the BEP – the cornerstone of all successful BIM projects.
VH: What is a BEP?
LH: A BEP is a document that identifies key data points without getting bogged down by unnecessary micro-details. It keeps the team on the same page and creates an environment of cooperation and collaboration.
The BEP can cover several aspects of the projects, but should include:
- A list of key BIM personnel, their roles in the organisation and their contact details.
- Project information including unique characteristics of the project.
- Project scope and BIM goals.
- Model structure and model segregation strategy.
- Geo-coordinates being used, including the agreed project base point.
- Client BIM and Facilities Management requirements. This should align with the client’s BIM Brief (if it exists.)
- Delivery strategy including data drops and LOD requirements.
- Project deliverables – file formats, naming convention.
- List of model uses and exclusions.
- Model exchange – frequency, compatibility, sharing strategy, model preparation.
- The use of a Common Data Environment – procedures, access rights etc.
The UK and Ireland requires a BEP for all BIM Level 2 projects. Therefore, clear guidelines exist for their BEP development. Although a BIM Execution Plan is a fundamental document for any BIM project it is not currently a requirement in South Africa. The content can therefore be adjusted to suit the users in a non-contracual way.
VH: How does the BEP help the model creator to be more efficient?
LH: The BEP informs the model creator on the Level of Development (LOD) to be applied. This refers to how much BIM information is enough and how much is too much. You are not going to overdo the amount of information on a model when it is never going to be used. That time is better spent on refining the design.
LH: It directs every aspect of the team throughout the project, with guidelines to the authors of the BIM model, the architects, engineers etc.
The document specifically aims to lead the team to:
- Better communicate the design intent
- Better execute the construction project
- Collaborate with other disciplines
- Save time and effort
The BEP ensures everyone on the project is on the same page and clarifies the bigger picture for all. By doing this the project has a better chance of success: completed within budget and the projected time frame. It determines the intended uses of the model; equally important, it outlines what the model is not intended for.
By managing expectations, the BEP mitigates the chances of either the client or a section of the team requiring the model to perform a specific task that it has not been set up for. For instance, if the architect knows that the model will be used for digital quantification then he will apply the correct data when creating the model so that the information can be trusted by the Quantity Surveyor later. This requirement is recorded in the BEP. Without knowing that the QS will need this data, it is hard (or even impossible) to retrofit the model to meet this requirement.
VH: Which projects should have a BEP?
LH: Every project, regardless of its size or complexity should have a BEP. My best advice is to make it a standard corporate procedure to develop a BEP for each project.
By setting up a BEP specimen document (template) that can be adjusted to align with each project, you can show that even if certain processes aren’t applicable on the project, they were considered at some stage.
VH: When should a BEP be developed?
LH: It should become standard practice that as soon as the project begins, the BEP should be developed. Obviously, you may not have all the information to begin with, but the BEP is a live document and should be amended regularly throughout the project.
The BEP is often not prioritised and then produced retroactively sometime later in the project, or not at all. As soon as a BIM lead is appointed to the project, the BEP should be the very first order of business as it forms a guide for the rest of the project.
VH: Who develops and maintains the BEP?
LH:The BEP is developed by the BIM lead( BIM Manager). Often the BIM lead is the lead consultant, the architect or an external BIM consultant. The BIM lead needs to have a good understanding of both the project and the stakeholders’ abilities and requirements.
The BIM lead updates the BEP as the project progresses and circulates it to all parties involved. Even though we don’t often see clients engaging in the BIM process in South Africa, the client must be kept in the loop regarding the BEP and all its updates.
Even if a client shows no interest in the BIM aspects of the project, I always brief clients fully on the contents of the BEP from the outset and keep them informed on all changes within it. Remember, if the client realises the potential of the model and the BIM processes too late, and then investigates the advantages for his uses, you will then be left trying to explain to a dissatisfied customer why the database that you have developed cannot provide all the options they have read about.
For more details on managing oe executing a BIM Execution Plan(BEP), please contact Lourens Henning ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit NavBIM.com to download the latest BEP templates.