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BIM Coordinator

What’s a BIM Coordinator: all you need to know about roles, what they do and how to qualify to become one.

A BIM Coordinator operates in a single BIM oriented process coordinating workflows between BIM Specialists, according to the general directives and standards as defined by the BIM Manager. Here are the typical tasks and tools that are commonly used.

In recent years, we have seen a progressive and constant widespread adoption of the BIM methodology, which has radically changed the way of “thinking” about a construction project and has also affected the way we deal with design, creation and management over time.

Any sort of construction project will see several technicians involved and each with well-defined tasks: among the key figures is the role of the BIM Coordinator, considered to be one of the most fundamental roles.

What is a BIM Coordinator? A BIM Coordinator definition

The BIM Coordinator is an expert, with interdisciplinary skills, and performs the delicate task of coordinating information flows within a single order, carried out according to the BIM methodology.

Moving the threads of the entire project and its governing processes, BIM coordinators act as a connecting element between the role of the BIM Manager and the BIM Specialist: that coordinates and supervises the BIM Specialist team, ensuring efficiency and compliance with management guidelines as defined by the BIM Manager.

Roles and Responsibilities of a BIM Coordinator

If the BIM Manager is responsible for the organisation and management of the various BIM models, the BIM Coordinator operates in relation to the individual order. Here are the typical tasks that Coordinators need to take care of:

  • ensuring the correct implementation of a BIM strategy;
  • establish coordination workflows to be carried out according to time schedule objectives;
  • define and verify the model levels of detail and relating drawings;
  • define and apply model control and validation methods;
  • manage geometric and information interferences;
  • takes care of procedures for modifying the information content following coordination.

The BIM Coordinator can also assist the BIM Manager for drafting Information Specifications, the Information Management Offer and/or the Information Management Plan. The process to adequately carry out coordination activities is quite articulated: to optimize the management of interdisciplinary models, with data related to each area of design, such as architectural, structural or MEP design, it’s also useful to have a good knowledge and practicality in the usage of the different BIM Tools for modifying, verifying and validating models.

With these basic but fundamental aspects in mind, the first recommendation is to start downloading and using the free 30-day trial of:

  • a Clash Detection software for checking interferences between different objects, processes and IFC models;
  • an IFC checker for controlling and validating data within an IFC model with respect to the design requirements;
  • an IFC editor to work directly with and edit IFC models.

How do you become a good BIM Coordinator?

To become a good BIM Coordinator, capable of outlining an optimal information flow management, it’s definitely a good idea to also get familiar with the regulatory apparatus, with all BIM standards and processes. Focussing on project objectives and a reliable methodology for developing and producing documental, operational and technical elements, this is obviously another core component of the coordination process.

In order to make the workflow even more efficient, it’s certainly useful to define the so called “Process Mapping“.

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities are broken down among the various stakeholders through the use of conventional and shared mapping schemes, such as Diagrams, Flowcharts and BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) schemes. They are nothing more than conventional representations that make it possible to outline, in a sequential and clear manner, the various processes that need to be carried out, with the scope to identify the purposes and responsibilities for each phase of the process.

Example of a BPMN diagram

Example of a BPMN diagram

A key element of a coordinator’s work is of course the BIM coordination project: working on a single federated interdisciplinary model (obtained by combining several disciplinary models in the IFC format), shared among the design team, allows to have a global vision of the design choices, improving them and making them more functional.

This also ensures a rapid detection of interferences in order to solve any issues in advance and therefore avoid any negative drawbacks during the execution phase.

To collaborate in your team, to optimize and coordinate the BIM operational flow, you obviously need to use collaborative systems and platforms. In this sense, my recommendation is to start using:

  • usBIM: a BIM Management System that acts as an integrated online system designed for individual professionals who need to collaborate, share, store and manage data in a single work environment. Being an online solution, you don’t need to install any desktop applications. With the creation of a simple account, you can access it from any device (PC, smartphone, tablet) and get 12 free online applications and 10 GB of cloud storage space.
  • usBIM.platform: a BIM Collaboration Platform designed for large organizations that manage a network of users in a single administration. It allows you to manage collaborative workflows, creating a shared Common Data Environment (CDE).

These systems make it possible to communicate directly and exchange documents with other technicians, avoiding redundant file duplicates while working on multiple revisions simultaneously.

BIM Coordinator Certification

In order to become a certified BIM Coordinator, any construction industry professional or technician needs to complete a period of training and a final examination that puts his knowledge and skills in this particular field to the test.

The ISO 11337-7 Standard prescribes a series of requirements that are necessary to access the final examination:

  • a higher education school diploma equivalent to at least and upper secondary school diploma;
  • at least three years of general work experience in the technical field;
  • at least one year of specific work experience using the BIM method appropriate to the required professional profile.

You also need to demonstrate specific work experience by participating in the development of at least one project using the BIM methodology.

The exam consists of three main tests:

  • a written test: based on 30 multiple-choice questions to be completed in maximum 1-hour;
  • a practical test: an applied management, coordination and verification case study of different disciplinary models, completed in accordance with a proposed Information Specifications, in maximum two hours;
  • an oral exam: which can only be taken after passing the previous two exams consisting of a discussion, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, relating to the examination and competence topics.

The Certification is valid for five years and is subject to an annual verification by ICQM relating to the maintenance of skills, as required by EN ISO/LEC 17024.

The BIM methodology is constantly evolving: it is essential to keep constantly updated and to have hours of training and field activities. At the same time, obtaining certification can be difficult.

For this reason, if you don’t feel totally ready to take the exam, maybe the online BIM Coordinator course could help you along the way: theory and practical lessons focused on the use of BIM Coordination Tools, with which to apply the acquired knowledge.

This way you’ll also be able to acquire the necessary skills to work as a BIM Coordinator and therefore deal with the examination phase with more confidence.