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An essential guide for managing BIM projects

Whats inside?
Welcome to your essential guide for managing
BIM projects, helping you explore the
challenges and benefits of BIM.

Introduction

Introduction
What is this guide all about?

The promise of BIM


Richer information, greater value.

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

Lets be clear about BIM


What is BIM and how does it help your business?

The BIM Boom


The facts dont lie, BIM is fast becoming the industry standard.

Its (still) all about collaboration


BIM is as much about the process as the technology.

Common challenges on
BIM projects
What stands in the way of successful projects?

Believe the hype about better


projects
The real benefits for your business.

5 tips for BIM success


How to effectively break down the barriers to BIM.

Introduction
BIM is the process of generating and managing
building or other physical asset data during
its lifecycle.

Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

Over the past few years, BIM


(Building Information Modeling)
has been one of the hottest topics
in construction. So many articles,
books, blogs, and webinars.
So many points of view.
Although many agree about the
benefits, there remains confusion
around what it actually means to
do BIM and how to make a BIM
project successful.
This guide aims to cut through
the noise and focus on the
fundamentals.
In producing this guide, weve
applied statistics from the Aconex
online collaboration platform the
worlds most widely used system
for construction and engineering
project information and process
management to identify
important BIM trends and issues.

If you take only five things away from


this guide, we hope that theyre as follows:

1
3

BIM is nothing
new. But its time
is now, and its
changing our
industry.
Audit trails of
discussions and
approvals are
critical for a BIM
project.

2
4

BIM is about a
lot more than
just 3D design.

The biggest
between BIM and
non-BIM projects
is that BIM
projects end up
with an
interrelated,
cross-referenced
set of data.

BIM is part
people, part
process, part
software, and all
collaboration.

Next
Lets be clear on what BIM actually is

Lets be clear about BIM


Because its use is evolving and growing, many
people including those that use it day-to-day
can find it difficult to define BIM. So heres
what were talking about.
Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

BIM is a process

Probably the most common


misconception is that 3D design
equals BIM, but thats only part
of the picture. In fact, BIM
technically doesnt need
to involve a 3D model at all.
BIM is primarily a process. Its
a way of creating, interrelating
and managing all of the digital
information on a project before,
during and after construction. The
output of that process is the Building
Information Model the digital
description of every aspect of a
project. That information
is often, but not necessarily,
navigated and interrogated through a
3D visualization.
BIM is much more versatile than its
predecessors containing
a wealth of information which
is useful and relevant to the teams
that interact with it at every stage of
the process. Importantly, there is no
endpoint to BIM. The
Building Information Model will
continue to be updated for as long as

the building stands,


and possibly even longer. BIM
is a powerful tool for every aspect
of project management - even
after handover. In fact, the
handover of a complete and
accurate data model for a building or
other physical asset is arguably the
real promise of BIM and where the
most value lies (see Chapter 5).

The I is central to BIM

Part
process

Part
people
All
collaboration

BIM is all about information


how it is captured for the entire
lifecycle of the asset, and how
it is made available to the project
participants that work with it.
Because it relies on common
processes and the controlled sharing
of project information among team
members, BIM is
a deeply collaborative process.
Effective collaboration is
essential to a successful
BIM project.

Part
software
Sohow to describe BIM?
BIM is part process, part
people, part software,
and all collaboration.

Next
Find out about the BIM explosion

The BIM Boom: 2,600% growth in 3 years


In one form or another, BIM has been in use
for decades particularly in industries such
as aerospace and oil and gas.

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

Over several years, the uptake


of BIM within the construction
industry has been increasing
rapidly. Without question, were now
seeing the tipping point.
This becomes abundantly clear
when you analyze the volume of BIM
files being stored on the Aconex
collaboration platform. Aconex is
the worlds most widely used system
for the storage and management of
project information such as drawings,
documents and correspondence.
A look into the past few years of
project data on the system offers
some interesting insights.
In 2009, hardly any BIM models
were being managed on the platform
less than 10,000 in total. In 2012,
there were 270,000 BIM models
stored on the Aconex platform
representing 2,600% growth in three
years.
In a relatively short time, BIM has
gone from an emerging trend to
a fixture on almost a third of the
projects that use Aconex both large

and small, commercial as well as


infrastructure. BIM has now moved
from the early
adopters to the mainstream.
Its not just that more project teams
are adopting BIM. A closer look at
the figures shows that the
size of the models has almost
doubled over the past five years. The
average file size is now 54MB, up
from 28MB five years ago, and the
largest is 870MB, up from 426MB in
the same period.

Average

92%
%

54 MB

Maximum

104%

870MB

Explosion of BIM
Models stored on Aconex

300,000
250,000
200,000
Number of model files

Introduction

150,000
100,000
50,000

2009

2010

2011

2012

The statistics tell the tale. Project


teams around the world are boarding
the BIM train, and the train is gathering
speed. But does BIM really deliver
that much value?
Next
Learn about the benefits of BIM

Believe the hype about better projects


Although the industry is still learning about the far-reaching
potential of BIM, some real benefits for organizations and
their projects are already becoming clear.

Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects

Time savings

Leading firms have reported that


using BIM to achieve consensus on
design concepts early in
development can yield up to
50% time savings on a project.

Smoother handover

The provision of detailed


information about every aspect
of the building continues to deliver
benefits after handover.

ROI

A BIM model allows virtual


construction prior to physical
construction, eliminating clashes
of model components. This saves
both time and money.

A McGraw-Hill Construction report,


The Business Value of BIM, found
that 87% of expert BIM users have
seen positive returns mainly from
enhanced collaboration, streamlined
processes and increased
productivity.

Improved productivity

Competitive advantage

Clash detection
and avoiding rework

There are productivity gains across


the project team, resulting from less
error and rework
and fewer RFIs for owners
and contractors to handle.

In the same report, more than half


of BIM users said that offering new
services with BIM was
a significant advantage.

The longer-term outcome of these


benefits is higher-quality projects
projects that are better designed
and delivered faster, with lower risk
and fewer
disputes.
A footnote to this is that some
of the obvious and early savings
come during the design and
construction phases of a project.
This low-hanging fruit seems
to be what is driving firms to
adopt BIM. But buyers and users
especially governments around the
world are starting to
appreciate that the real benefits
of BIM come through effective,
complete and accurate
handover leading to significant
cost savings in managing
facilities. This is a key point worth
further exploration.

5 tips for
BIM success

Next
The promise of BIM

The promise of BIM: Better lifecycle


management
As weve seen from the previous chapter, the payoffs of BIM can
be considerable. However, the real promise of BIM is something
that often eludes project teams full lifecycle management.

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects

Information leakage

Typically, information on a project


is accumulated with limited
cross-referencing or linkage of the
data. As the information is passed
from team to team through the
phases of a project, there is often
information leakage. For the owner,
this leads to pain points such as, Is
my handover data complete? Is it
accurate? Can
I use it?

Seamless transition

When a linked data set is created


and passed from team to team
as a project progresses, no data
is lost, and maximum value
is delivered. Since only about 10% of
the lifecycle cost of the
physical asset is in construction
(the other 90% being in managing
and maintaining the asset during

its useful life), maximizing value


through the longest and most
expensive phase makes business
sense. Collaborative BIM promises to
ensure that all information is
seamlessly transitioned from one
phase to another, resulting in an
asset with a set of information far
richer, and of far greater value.

Lifecycle management
on BIM project
Information Captured/Lost

Introduction

Typical project
information
management

Time

Design

Construction

Operations

5 tips for
BIM success

Next
The importance of collaboration

Its (still) all about collaboration


The business benefits of BIM are clear. Whats also
becoming clear is how central collaboration is to
successfully running a project with BIM.

Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects

An article in Architectural
Record magazine, BIM Lawsuit
Offers Cautionary Tale,
underlines this point. The article
focuses on a lawsuit over
construction of a new university
building in Denver, Colorado. The
project was designed under the
assumption that doing BIM
was nothing more than model
creation and management
but communication and
collaboration were apparently poor.
This assumption that BIM alone
would somehow cover
collaboration proved costly.

When things went wrong, the


contractor sued the owner, the
owner sued the architect, and the
insurer involved the MEP engineer.
Everyone ended up spending out
of pocket to the tune of millions
of dollars.
In this regard, little has changed. BIM
projects, like any other, still need an
audit trail of every
exchange, every decision and every
approval. Thats why
BIM is as much about process
as it is about technology.

Thats why BIM is as much about

process as it is about technology.

5 tips for
BIM success

Next
The common issues on BIM projects

Common challenges when managing


BIM models
Before jumping in with both feet, project teams should be aware
of some of the common challenges that companies face when
creating and collaborating around their BIM models.
Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

Based on Aconexs discussions with


BIM users around the world, here are
the most common issues:

Managing the large file sizes


BIM and 3D files are huge, often
greater than 50MB. Email cant
handle this and FTP doesnt provide
the control we need. We need to be
able to move these files securely and
efficiently among parties.

Approvals, audit trails


and milestone sign-off
How do we keep track of the
hundreds of decisions made around
the model over its life? How do we
get approval of
a model that is generated by
different authoring tools and
constantly changing from
every angle?

Long review cycle times


How do we reduce cycle times
on clash resolution?
Reviews take place on set
intervals, but between those
intervals theres a lag. Thats where
our risk lies. We need more real-time
resolution of clashes.

Problems linking models


to other project data
We have lots of other
information outside the model,
like 2D drawings, RFIs, spec sheets,
and manuals. How do
we link these documents into
the model so we can hand over a
more complete model?

Publishing slices of models


from different authoring
tools
The 3D model is great, but we still
need to publish, distribute
and track lots of 2D floor plans,
elevations and details. How do we do
that? People dont carry around 3D
holographic projections!

Archiving point-in-time
models from joint
compilation We know individual
3D software tracks all changes.
But we have an overall model that
has been generated from different
authoring tools, and we need to save
point-in-time models for sign-off and
approval purposes.

Viewing part of a model


How do we give a
subcontractor a view of a
particular part of the model for him
to comment on it or resolve an issue?
I dont want to send
a 450-megabyte file.

The handover hangover


How can I be certain that
what Im handing over to the
client is adequate to satisfy
my obligations so I can move
on to the next job? I need them
to have all the information
they require to start running
the asset.
By considering these
challenges early, all participants will
increase their chances
of delivering a successful
BIM project.

Next
Tips for BIM success

Five tips for success with BIM


So, having read all about successfully managing
BIM projects and the benefits it can bring to your
business, here are our top 5 tips for BIM success.

Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects

Set your standards


BIM is changing the way
construction projects are delivered.
For all of the benefits of BIM,
there are also new information
management challenges that add
complexity to projects. How do you
share and distribute these very large
BIM models? How
do you manage reviews and
approvals across many different
parties? What about clear,
structured communications with
a reliable audit trail? Addressing
these challenges with processes and
standards and making it easy for all
parties to adhere to them is critical
to BIM project success.

Do your research on
systems and tools
They will need to work together
as an integrated solution to allow
collaboration, communication and
workflow management and
provide an audit trail. Where
possible, select programs and
platforms that are compatible
with each other and support full
interoperability. This will save you
and your IT team a lot of stress.

Think about collaboration


Establishing an effective
collaboration environment
among team members should
be your highest priority, and it wont
just happen. Comprehensive
collaboration and integration of
processes among parties is central
to BIM project success

Dont get overwhelmed


You dont need every last bit
of technology or even the latest
technology to win with BIM;
just make sure you have the
fundamentals covered.

If youre not doing BIM


already, just get started
BIM users around the world are
seeing positive returns, while
non-BIM users are being left behind.
Like any other process, BIM is all
about measurement and learning.
Get going at a basic level, or on
specific small projects,
and see how it works for you.
Good luck!

5 tips for
BIM success

Next
Find out more

Find out more

Introduction

Lets be clear
about BIM
The BIM
Boom
Believe the
hype about
better projects
The promise
of BIM
Its (still)
all about
collaboration
Common
challenges on
BIM projects
5 tips for
BIM success

Blogs on BIM and


Collaboration
-

All Things BIM


BIMx
BIM Aficionado
CAD vs BIM
BIM Blog
BIM Boom
Debunk the BIM
Extranet Evolution

About Aconex

Aconex provides the #1 cloud


solution to manage information and
processes for the worlds largest
construction and engineering
projects.

Founded in 2000, Aconex


has 40 offices throughout the
world, including headquarters
in Melbourne, Australia and San
Francisco, California.

Aconex gives owners and


contractors project-wide visibility
and control between the many
different organizations collaborating
across their projects.

If youd like to talk to us, visit


aconex.com/BIM

With more than 500,000 users and


over US$1 trillion of project value
delivered in 70 countries, Aconex is
the industrys most widely adopted
and trusted platform.
The companys global customer
base includes nine of the top ten
engineering, procurement and
construction (EPC/EPCM) firms,
23 of the 25 largest global design
firms, and nearly all Fortune 500
construction and engineering
companies.

Aconex Limited 2014