The BIM Business Improvement Series: No.1

One of my many activities as a Principal Consultant at Symetri is to support companies through the gap analysis process, which is the first step towards BIM level 2 and ISO 19650 accreditation.

The BIM Business Improvement Series: No.1

Following my training with Lloyds Register, this has increasingly become a regular activity and an insightful one. This blog is the first of two where I intended to share with you some of my common non-compliant findings and explain why it might be important to you and your organisation. I will also provide a few tips, which although maybe obvious, are often forgotten.

No.1: No BIM Policy

The BIM Policy is a clear statement from your organisation to its employees and clients that it is fully committed in supporting BIM enabled projects, including the investment needed in staff training procedures and technologies. The policy should be signed by the managing director, business owner or senior manager to provide the required governance and authority.

A BIM Policy is important because it sets a clear direction for the business. It is often requested and required as evidence for pre-qualification, and can also provide confidence to clients or employers in your commitment to their project requirements.

Tip: If you don’t have a BIM Policy, an internet search will provide you with a vast range of examples from other organisations who market and promote their commitment to BIM via their own websites and publish their BIM Policies in the public domain.

No.2: No auditing of externally sourced objects

How many of you download objects from manufacturers or BIM library websites without thoroughly checking them before using them in your projects? From the Gap Analysis process and my personal observations, I would suggest the majority. However, this introduces risk to your delivery.

The quality of the objects available can be best described as variable, from extraordinarily high file sizes, to far too much complexity in the geometry, to a lack of parameter data. The risk in using these objects without any prior checks may either cause issues within your BIM authoring system and slow down production, or you will not be providing outputs in accordance with the projects Employers Information Requirements or BIM Execution Plan and therefore your deliverables will be non-compliant.

The use of online object resources provides many benefits. It reduces effort and direct costs for designers, and acts as product placement and marketing for the suppliers of the objects. We all want more object content not less, but that well used term ‘use at your own risk’ applies here. By introducing a very simple object review process before use is all that is required to check it is suitable and will be compliant with your specific project requirements, and therefore de-risking the chance of a non-compliant delivery.

Tip: Provide training to all your staff in the object review process and mandate its use. Often, we find this activity is only implemented by a BIM Manager or equivalent title, which can cause issues when they are not around, as this can cause a bottleneck in production and is frustrating for designers who must wait for the BIM Managers support before they can progress their design. Train everyone and make them responsible.

No.3: No managed BIM awareness process for the company’s personnel

This may for many of you seem a surprising non-compliance finding, because I am sure many of you have either run your own BIM training or awareness sessions, or maybe asked Symetri in to facilitate a BIM Fundamentals or ISO19650 Workshops for your staff. The key word here is managed, and to expand on this slightly, how the activity is managed. Often during a Gap Analysis review we find that in-house BIM awareness sessions are delivered in an ad-hoc way, no attendance records are kept for example. The risk here is individuals may miss out on important education or training because of sickness or holidays. By simply maintaining attendance records will provide the opportunity to ensure the required BIM training is delivered to everyone and not just those who attended on the day. As Symetri’s s BIM Management courses are CPD Certified we ensure we take attendance records otherwise no one will get their certificates. But for those courses run at customers offices are often for unlimited attendee’s so even though we will take attendance records, we will not know who was actually invited to attend and therefore once again individuals may miss out on required education and training due to absence.

Another finding is often BIM awareness training only applies to designers or technical staff and not senior management. Considering that senior management may be sponsoring a BIM strategy and implementation, may attend client bid or tender interviews where BIM may be discussed, network at industry events or review contractual requirements and risks to the business. I believe ensuring senior management teams in any organisation have a fundamental knowledge of the BIM delivery and management process is a must. Although this would not be classed as a Non-Conformance, because organisations will of course decide which grade of employee requires training and the type of training required. I would consider BIM Awareness training for management if not in place, as an opportunity and area for business improvement.

Tip: Always maintain attendance records for any company education or training sessions, whether these are BIM related or not, to ensure no individual remains untrained. Wherever possible extend BIM awareness education to senior management and ensure the content is relevant, BIM contract inclusions, risk management and roles and responsibilities are always good areas to focus on.           

Keep an eye out for my next instalment in January and see which other non-compliant areas I have observed along with my tips to keep on top of this.

In the meantime, explore our regularly scheduled BIM training course here.