Exchange Information Requirements: What is an EIR in BIM?
The Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) is a document drawn up by the client defining all the requirements related to the information exchanges of a BIM process. Find out more about its organisational aspects during the pre-tender phase.
The BIM methodology presupposes a collaborative workflow and the creation of information models rich in graphic and textual data that characterize all the elements belonging to the model, for its entire life cycle.
The information package that characterizes each model is outlined by the needs of the client, who has the responsibility and the ability to define, upstream of the design of a project, what information is useful, how it should be exchanged and when this should take place.
It is in this perspective that the EIR (Exchange Information Requirements) is defined.
What is an Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) document?
In a tender carried out using the BIM methodology, the EIR is a pre-tender document that defines standards, information and requirements of a BIM process and constitutes the initial input of the tender process to which building industry professionals and contractors respond with their relating offers.
Referring to the PAS 1192-2 standard, which defined EIR as the “Employer Information Requirements“, today this acronym now refers to the “Exchange Information Requirements”, as changed by ISO 19650, which refers precisely to the “Information Exchange Requirements”.
The difference between these definitions underlines a clear change. If the information requirements, produced and delivered in both cases, play a predominant role, this new meaning makes us understand how a greater attention is now focused more on how this information is exchanged.
The EIR then focuses on the methods to be performed for the sharing of data and the generation of documents, focusing on the management of information content among the various stakeholders and on the methods of verification, storage and delivery of models. It forms a text type document in which the following are identified:
- reference regulatory aspects, priorities and objectives;
- models to be implemented for each design phase with levels of information appropriate to the reference step.
Objectives must be achieved through a collaborative work methodology of the various proposing teams, which includes contractors, technicians, suppliers and any subcontractors and sub-suppliers, obtainable with an optimized data exchange and with the use of BIM management system.
Even today we often find ourselves faced with proponents who find it difficult to draft these types of documents, sometimes due to the fact that they’re not fully involved in the BIM methodology. Others because it’s often difficult to pinpoint order objectives, data exchanges and management.
What are the client’s information requirements?
We’ve already seen that the EIR, as defined by the client, provides the precise management characteristics of the assignment, outlining the production and delivery process. But what specific information requirements do you have to define?
The information requirements that must be defined are linked to various aspects such as:
- management methods (for example, the use of collaborative platforms);
- production methods;
- coordination methods between the models and the team (use of BIM tools, coordinated analysis of the models, etc.);
- verification and control methods;
- level of detail relating to the elements and in general to the specific model to be implemented during each phase;
- exchange modes (e.g. interoperable formats);
- delivery times, deadlines and phases;
- delivery mode (output formats, file naming, etc.).
Why do we need an EIR document?
The Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) is a key document, part of the BIM methodology, because its main scope refers to the basic idea of BIM itself: “Begin with the end in the mind”, according to which it’s crucial to start any project with a clear idea of the final objectives.
To effectively achieve the final objectives, the EIR certainly represents a functional part of the BIM procurement process, identifying the entire workflow to be followed in great detail, managing the entire construction process in advance.
An EIR is also beneficial for:
- the client as the creation of realistic and information-rich Digital Twins guarantees the proposer a real vision of the projects and allows him to evaluate a series of factors (construction phases, resources, costs and times, management and maintenance processes);
- a streamlined process with clear guidelines in which designers and collaborators are able to be more productive, reduce errors and avoid delays.
What should an EIR contain?
There are several documents that flow into the Exchange Information Requirements and that contribute to its preparation:
- OIR (Organizational Information Requirements) – contains the information necessary to define the objectives of the proposing party;
- AIR (Asset Information Requirements) – contains the management aspects and technical procedures of the property;
- PIR (Project Information Requirements) – contains the information necessary to implement the objectives in relation to the particular order.
To fully frame the EIR within a BIM order, simply refer to ISO 19650-1, which defines the flow and hierarchy of information requirements that develops in a BIM process.
The order is completed with the drafting of:
- PIM (Project Information Model) – contains information related to the design and construction;
- AIM (Asset Information Model) – contains information related to the use, management and maintenance of the property.
To prepare a correct EIR, the following template, divided into three parts, represents an important basis:
Each part consists of a series of typical contents, outlined in the table below:
This part describes the technical requirements of the order:
- exchange formats – the file formats (possibly also versions) with which to carry out the data exchange, so that everything takes place in a format that can also be used by the proposer;
- level of detail – for each model and for each technical element of each model, the minimum level of detail, geometric and informative, to be achieved, according to the design needs, must be defined;
- software platforms – the software infrastructure and collaborative platform of the order must be clarified;
- coordinates – identify a common system of coordinates for all, because project models must have the same point of coordination;
- level of training – the client must define the BIM training necessary to be able to participate in the preparation of the offer and the signing of any assignment.
This part outlines the project process management requirements:
- standards – procedures to be followed to ensure the correct flow of information, data exchanges, delivery and process security;
- roles and responsibilities of stakeholders – it is advisable to direct bidders to specify all roles and responsibilities of the design participants;
- data security – security measures to protect sensitive data;
- coordination process – methods of control and interferences, tolerances resolution, etc.;
- collaboration process– it is necessary to clarify the collaborative methods that the team must follow;
- scheduling of model review meetings – control program and assistance to the design team, during the performance of the assignment;
- design health and safety management – design requirements related to site safety to be guaranteed;
- constraints – for communicating any constraints or limitations present in the order;
- compliance plan – related to the definition of methods to ensure the quality of the produced information and data;
- asset information delivery mode – for the definition of a minimum standard and data schema through which the asset information can be managed.
In this part, however, the requirements related to the project goals and objectives are listed:
- strategic objectives – purpose of information requirements;
- BIM results to be achieved – these must define the results to be achieved in detail, in terms of modelling, computerisation and coordination;
- skills assessment – through which skills and competences of bidders in the management and exchange of information are analysed.
How is an EIR different from a BEP?
EIR and BEP are both necessary documents during a BIM order but differ in purpose:
- the EIR serves to identify the needs and information requirements required by the client;
- the BEP serves to indicate how the intention to respond to the needs expressed in the EIR are to be covered.
Therefore, during the implementation of a BIM oriented design, production and exchange of information, as defined by the EIR, allows bidders to draw up the BEP (BIM Execution Plan).
The BEP (BIM Execution Plan) highlights the methods and tools aimed at achieving the objectives required by the EIR. Depending on the phase in which we are, two BEPs are drawn up: the pre-contractual one (preBEP) and the post-contractual one (BEP).
The pre-contract BEP is drawn up during the bidding phase (pre-tender phase) by each participant.
This is why it precisely outlines the way in which we want to respond to the client’s requests, planning the main “steps” of design (in the form of PIM – Project Information Model) focusing on their level of competence, on operational capacity and the resources and technologies being used.
At the conclusion of the tender, the winning party, following the contract agreement and signature phase with the proposing party, must submit an additional plan, namely the the Post-contractual BEP.
If the pre-BEP had formally constituted an offer, the post-contractual BEP frames the actual methods of project realization, control, exchange and sharing of the final designs and the models that need to be produced. This plan is enriched with documents such as the responsibility matrix, the MIDP, the TIDP, detailing procedure management, processes to be followed, delivery strategies and standards.
At this point we can finally say that it is precisely the BEP that all actors in the process understand with clear references to objectives and usages of the BIM model, defining an efficient, functional and compliant proposal.