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BIM process map what is it and how to design it

BIM process map: discover what it is and how to implement it

The BIM process map identifies the implementation process for each Model use and for the project as a whole. Discover its potential and how to design it

Most likely, if you are starting to apply the BIM methodology to your projects, you will also be wondering what is the best way to set up a BIM process.

In this article, we will see together an example of a BIM process map that can help you with any future application.

What is a BIM process map?

A BIM process map is a graphical representation of the BIM process aiming at identifying the information exchanges and processes necessary for the different BIM uses.

If you already know what a BEP is, you will also know that the first step for its drafting consists in identifying the BIM uses. BIM uses are part of Model uses, which are a set of project-specific requirements, tasks, and results that define the characteristics of the BIM models to which they refer.

Once clarified this concept, we can start with the design of our BIM process map.

After defining Model uses and BIM uses, you must identify the implementation process:

  1. for each Model use;
  2. for the project as a whole.

These two phases constitute the design of the BIM Project Execution Process, the process that defines the steps to create and implement a BIM execution plan through the production of BIM process maps.

Thanks to the development of these phases the work team can:

  • understand the entire BIM process related to the specific project;
  • identify what information needs to be shared and with whom;
  • identify through which methodologies and which processes to reach the various BIM uses.

A BIM process map is also useful for determining other features or topics to be implemented in the midldle of the process itself, including:

  • setting up the contract;
  • delivery requirements of the model;
  • technological infrastructure for information management;
  • criteria for assigning roles within the work team.

How do you develop a BIM process map?

The creation of a BIM process map is developed on two levels:

  1. development of an overview map of the BIM process referring to the specific project: thanks to this first broader phase, the work team identifies and shows through a diagram, how the various BIM uses will be addressed and developed;
  2. production of detailed maps relating to each BIM uses previously identified: these maps identify in greater detail the methods of implementation of the BIM process in the various design phases (planning, design, construction and maintenance), identify roles and responsibilities within the team for each process, analyse the information content and methods of sharing.

Let’s now see in more detail how to deal with the development of each level.

Creating an overview map of the BIM process

This first level is in turn developed by following the steps below:

  1. once the different BIM uses have been identified, the BIM mapping process can begin by “placing” and defining within the flowchart the different BIM uses while developing each one as an indivdual process;
  2. the team proceeds by arranging the BIM uses in an orderly manner according to the general design sequence. One of the purposes of the overview map is precisely to identify the phase of each BIM use and provide the team with the implementation sequence;
  3. identification of the persons responsible for each BIM project process. It is possible that the person responsible for a process is one or more than one and it will be your responsibility to indicate the information necessary for the implementation of the process as well as that produced by the process itself;
  4. identification of the information exchanges necessary for the implementation of each BIM use.
Example of a BIM Process Overview Map

Example of a BIM Process Overview Map

Creating Detail Maps

At this point, the team develops a detailed map for each BIM use identified in the overview map. A detail map includes three types of information, listed on the left side of the map:

  1. reference information – information resources necessary for the application of BIM;
  2. process – logical sequence of the activities that make up the process of that particular BIM use;
  3. information Exchange – BIM deliverables of the specific process potentially useful for other BIM uses.

The steps that the work team follows to produce a detail map are as follows:

  1. hierarchical breakdown of the specific BIM use in a set of processes;
  2. definition of connections among processes. This phase identifies and indicates the predecessor and successor of each process;
  3. development of the detail map including reference information, information exchanges and responsible parties;
  4. reviewing and saving the detail map. It is possible to repeat BIM uses more than once within the life cycle of the same project or use them in other projects. For this reason, it is useful to review, refine and save the detail maps.
Map | Example

Map | Example

During project progress, it is useful to update the detail maps to reflect the actual workflows implemented in the project.

At the end of the project, it may be useful to review the BIM process map, both the overview and the detail map, to compare the planned process with the one actually developed.

The correct organization through a BIM process map is the first step for the success of a BIM project.

The BIM process map is one of the many means that the BIM methodology makes available to operators working in the AEC sector and is the first step towards the success of a BIM project. To start using the benefits that the use of BIM brings, I recommend downloading a trial version of these free BIM software.