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BIM Implementation: complete guide to BIM strategy

Explore the numerous benefits of digitization and the implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in your company. A comprehensive article that delves into BIM strategy, challenges, and steps towards digitization

Integrating Building Information Modeling (BIM) within an organization is a strategic choice that offers numerous advantages. In this article, we will explore why you should seriously consider BIM implementation in your organization and how to adopt a BIM implementation strategy to enhance the quality of your work and optimize resources. If you are involved in BIM or interested in this new methodology, I recommend trying a BIM management system for managing your projects collaboratively and efficiently.

Digitalization for increased efficiency

Adopting BIM enables the creation of digital models that encompass all the necessary data for successful construction project management. These models facilitate comparisons and analyses at every project phase. When internal processes are intelligently digitized, efficiency increases, resulting in significant cost savings related to personnel, construction costs, and operational expenses.

Automation for enhanced precision

Implementing BIM in architectural firms and professional practices brings substantial advantages in terms of efficiency and quality. Automation streamlines the reduction of required efforts, while error verification based on Clash Detection software reduces the risk of overlooking critical conflicts in the project. Furthermore, data visualization provides a quick and thorough understanding of conflicts, significantly expediting the resolution process. A high level of BIM expertise also enhances the company’s reputation and image within the construction industry.

Comprehensive BIM Strategy

BIM adoption entails a comprehensive organizational strategy. This strategy encompasses essential considerations for creating value through digital methods, identifying key applications, defining training concepts, and fine-tuning processes. The strategy should be like a set of specifications that clearly indicate the desired added value, such as project control, cost transparency, timeliness, project quality, internal efficiency, and cost savings.

Alignment with business objectives

The BIM strategy must align with the organization’s objectives to ensure a fruitful investment. The measures to be taken should consider the company’s current performance, goals, and other strategies. This is achieved through an analysis of the gaps between desired objectives and the current situation. Only after this analysis should the BIM implementation commence, a strategic process that often requires replacing the old with the new.

Challenges of BIM implementation

Implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) represents a significant milestone for any organization involved in the construction industry. However, this transition is not without significant challenges that require attention and adequate preparation. Let’s delve into the main challenges associated with BIM implementation.

Temporary Reduction in Productivity

One of the most discussed aspects of implementing BIM is the temporary reduction in productivity. This can occur during the initial adoption phase when staff must adapt to new processes and tools. Learning and training take time and can negatively impact initial production.
However, it is important to note that this reduction in productivity is often temporary. Once the staff becomes familiar with BIM and becomes competent in using new tools, productivity tends to increase significantly. This is due to the advantages offered by BIM, such as error and conflict reduction, translating into long-term time and resource savings.

Training and initial investments

BIM implementation requires adequate training for the staff. This initial investment in training can be demanding in terms of time and financial resources. Employees need to be trained in the use of BIM software, new work methodologies, and data management. Specific e-learning platforms, such as ACCA’s BIM training, offer structured and progressive training courses on BIM and AEC software online training.
Furthermore, investing in hardware and BIM software is necessary to ensure that the organization is ready for digitization. These investments may seem significant initially, but the long-term benefits, such as improved operational efficiency and cost reduction, typically outweigh the initial costs.

Redefining contracts and billing rules

The adoption of BIM may require a redefinition of contracts and billing rules within the organization. This is particularly important because BIM changes the dynamics of interactions among parties involved in a construction project. New contractual rules and billing methods must be established to account for digital workflow and data sharing. This process of contract review can be time-consuming and require negotiations with business partners and clients. However, it is essential to ensure that all parties involved are clear about the obligations and benefits associated with using BIM.
Addressing these challenges requires careful planning and a long-term vision. Although BIM implementation may entail some initial difficulties, the benefits of digitizing processes and managing data benefit from well-considered investments and adequate preparation. The adoption of BIM represents a milestone in the evolution of the construction industry and offers significant opportunities to enhance project efficiency and quality.

Evaluating BIM Maturity Level

To understand how your company is positioning and can differentiate from its competitors, it is essential to evaluate your BIM maturity level. This depends on internal processes, human resources, staff performance, and IT infrastructure. BIM maturity levels can vary, from the absence of a BIM strategy and non-systematic use of BIM software solutions to the adoption of advanced organizational strategies and targeted use of BIM software.

BIM Maturity Levels Model (Bew-Richards) - reworked image

Revised image of the BIM Maturity Levels Model (Bew-Richards)

Defining BIM Maturity Levels

Evaluating BIM maturity levels involves a series of phases and key criteria that determine an organization’s maturity. Typically, different BIM maturity scales are used, such as the “BIM Maturity Level” according to the AIA (American Institute of Architects) classification system or the “BIM Maturity Level” according to the BIMForum classification system.
In these scales, BIM maturity levels are classified from 0 to 5 or from 1 to 7, depending on the system used. Each level is associated with a set of skills, processes, and technologies that an organization should possess to reach that level of maturity. For example, Level 0 may correspond to the absence of a BIM strategy, while Level 5 may correspond to advanced and strategic use of BIM in all projects.

Internal analysis and gap identification

Evaluating BIM maturity levels begins with an internal analysis of the organization, involving a thorough review of existing processes, human resources, staff performance, IT infrastructure, and the company’s strategic goals. This analysis allows for a clear understanding of the starting point.
Once the internal analysis is complete, you can identify gaps between the current maturity level and the desired level. These gaps may involve the absence of specific skills, inadequate processes, or insufficient technological infrastructure.

Defining BIM objectives and action plan

Knowing the current maturity level and identifying gaps allows you to define clear and realistic BIM objectives. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, an objective could be to achieve Level 3 BIM maturity within a certain time frame.
Once the objectives are defined, it is crucial to create a detailed action plan that outlines how to achieve them. The action plan should include specific steps to address the identified gaps, including staff training, IT infrastructure upgrades, and the implementation of new processes.

Continuous monitoring and adaptation

Evaluating BIM maturity levels and implementing the action plan are not static processes. It is important to constantly monitor progress and adapt the plan based on the organization’s needs and changes. This involves collecting data and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken.
Assessing BIM maturity levels is a critical step towards successful BIM implementation. It provides a clear view of the starting point, identifies gaps, and enables the definition of specific objectives and targeted actions to achieve the desired maturity. Continuous adaptation and progress monitoring are essential to ensure an effective transition to BIM and fully leverage its long-term benefits.

Data security in the digital age

BIM implementation increases digitalization within the company, making data security a critical aspect. Effective data security measures include creating a data security plan, data encryption, and establishing an effective data access structure on servers or cloud platforms. These hierarchies must be constantly evaluated to prevent unauthorized access, information loss, and data corruption.

Legal aspects

Implementing BIM also entails a range of important legal aspects that organizations must carefully consider. These aspects mainly involve responsibility, copyright, and legal liability issues. Here is an overview of these legal matters.

Responsibility and Data Sharing

One of the main legal challenges associated with BIM implementation is the issue of responsibility for data shared within the BIM model. Since BIM involves collaboration among various stakeholders, including designers, builders, and owners, it is essential to establish who is responsible for the data entered into the model and how such data can be used.
The involved parties must clearly define responsibilities and data access rights in the contract. For example, it is important to establish who has ultimate control over the model, who can make changes, and who is responsible for data accuracy. Data sharing should be regulated to avoid future disputes and conflicts.

Copyright and intellectual property

Another critical legal issue is related to copyright and intellectual property rights for BIM data. Data entered into the BIM model, including drawings, 3D models, documentation, and specifications, are subject to copyright and may belong to different parties involved in the project.
It is essential to determine who holds the copyright to BIM data and how those rights are managed and shared. This can be regulated through contracts that define usage rights, rights to modify data, and distribution rights. Additionally, it is important to anticipate how BIM data may be used in the future, such as for renovation, maintenance, or future improvements.

Legal liability

BIM can affect legal liability in case of errors, omissions, or disputes during the design and construction process. The parties involved must consider how BIM may impact the distribution of liability in case of disputes. For example, if an error in the BIM model leads to additional costs or construction delays, who is responsible for these consequences?
Contractual clauses and insurance policies should address these issues clearly and specifically. Involving experienced legal consultants in drafting BIM contracts is essential to ensure that they are compliant with the law and the needs of the parties involved.

Regulatory compliance and data privacy

Finally, BIM implementation must comply with local, regional, and national regulations regarding data privacy and information security. Since BIM involves the management of sensitive and personal data, it is crucial to respect data privacy laws and ensure information security.
Organizations should establish policies and procedures for data management and protection to avoid privacy breaches and potential legal sanctions.

In conclusion, BIM implementation offers significant advantages but also involves a range of complex legal issues. It is essential that organizations involved fully understand these legal challenges and take appropriate measures to mitigate associated risks. Expert legal counsel is an essential step to ensure that the legal aspects of BIM implementation are adequately addressed and regulated.

Steps toward digitization

Steps toward digitization include evaluating the current situation, defining opportunities, creating a strategy, selecting the right tools, training staff, and continuously monitoring progress. Implementing BIM is a holistic organizational decision that requires thorough strategic planning. Despite the initial challenges, the long-term benefits in terms of efficiency, cost control, and project quality justify the investment.
Investing in digitization and BIM implementation is a fundamental step to remain competitive in the construction industry. If you are already involved in BIM or interested in trying it, explore usBIM, the BIM management system for collaborative project management.