Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a broad concept that incorporates guidelines and principles that govern the process of modelling construction projects such as buildings, bridges, tunnels or highways (Eastman, Teicholz, Sacks & Liston 2011). BIM can also be viewed from its generic nature as an environment that enables architectural and engineering infrastructural projects to be virtually designed, viewed and analyzed through 3D model based technologies. This gives engineers and construction professionals a good insight to monitor, plan and manage infrastructures and projects in an efficient manner (Volk, Stengel & Schultmann 2014). BIM has really improved the decision making and general performance of building projects.
Levels of BIM Adoption
There are a number of BIM maturity levels- 0, 1, 2 and 3. They are as outlined below (Howard & Björk 2008):
- Level 0 – it incorporates the unattended CAD(Computer Aided Design)
- Level 1 - incorporates managed Computer Aided Design
- Level 2 – it incorporates the presenting infrastructural projects in intelligent 3D designs using capable environments.
- Level 3 – has not yet been defined in details
BIM level 2 has come to be the most popular Building Information Modelling concept and has come to be generally accepted as a criteria that complies with BIM principles. In the UK, BIM level 2 is the required criteria for all construction projects, a requirement that is part of the 2016 government requirements (Succar 2009). Level 2 BIM is distinguished from level 1 in the manner in which it achieves its collaboration. In level 2 BIM, collaboration is realized through sharing the model in an appropriate format of a file that is commonly called common data exchange (CDE) (Zhang, Teizer, Lee, Eastman & Venugopal 2013). The most popular file format is industry foundation classification (IFC). This is what makes it possible for the architectural professionals to integrate models with their own views so as to create federated models. These resultant federated models can then be combed in order to comply for proficiency. The models have to comply with the stages of predefined digital plans that have been specified by the employer. The project module information assessment then becomes the asset information module because of the information that it stores. In the future, asset information modules can be used for implementing operations and maintaining preventative procedures (Su, Lee & Lin 2011). Since BIM utilization skill level is varied, contractors need to establish whether they have the required skills in order to use a particular BIM level. The figure below shows the various levels of BIM utilizations and the skills that would be needed in order to employ them.
Implementation of BIM Level 2 Standards and Processes
Projects that implement level 2 BIM must first come up with decisions to agree to use the model and must have all the information that will be required at every stage of the construction process in order to address each of the identified decisions (Smith & Tardif 2009). This requisite planning will ensure that the relevant information concerning the particular project is properly relayed and shared in the appropriate format so as to ensure that informed decisions are made throughout the process of project construction (Motamedi & Hammad 2009).
Details of relationship, sequencing and flow of information in Level 2 BIMM Process.
PAS 1192-2 mainly focuses on the project delivery, where the majority of graphical data command and graphical data and the documents which are normally referred to as project information model are accumulated from design and construction activities.The intended audience for the standard normally include; organisation and individuals who are responsible for the procurement, design, construction, delivery, operation and maintenance of a building and infrastructure assets where possible, generic language has been used but where necessary specific definitions are included.
The level 2 Building Information Modelling Management (BIMM) criteria that is currently on use has specifications, principles and standards that have been interconnected (Pikas, Sacks, & Hazzan 2013). These sets include Digital Plan of Works (DPoW), government soft landings and BIM Execution Plans (BEP). The information deliverables that would be involved in the building process include file models, data files, documents that harbor information about the building facilities and spaces, components and floors. These deliverables combined together form the digital replication of the assets that are being built by modelling their design in order to reflect how they are actually build and installed (Arayici, Onyenobi & Egbu 2012).
Every stage of the level 2 BIM process involves the decision of the employer, whereby the employer is in need of the particular information that is required so as to make a decision on whether the project has been satisfactorily developed or not. It is at this stage that the employer decides whether the project should go on or not. Let us take an example of a successful building project of ‘CAD-BIM requirements for concrete blocks masonry design process.’ The research that was done on this construction project indicated that the modelling capacity that was provided by CAD, a major modelling environment, was feasible (Pärn, Edwards & Sing 2017). There was the implementation of parametric objects, which did away with much of programming. The success of the project was also majorly dedicated to a good demonstration of proper inter-coordination of the various information deliverables involved in the project (Pärn, Edwards & Sing 2017).
The current BIM level 2 document set is made up of different interconnected specifications,
standards and agreed protocols. This set includes but is not limited to the BS 1192: 2007 +A2:
2016, PAS 1192-2, PAS 1192-3, BS 1192-4, PAS 1192-5, CIC BIM Protocol: 2013, UK Government
Soft Landings (GLS), COBie, Uniclass Classifications, Digital Plan of Works (DPOW), RIBA Digital
Plan of Works (RDPOW), AEC UK BIM Protocol and CPIx BIM Execution Plans (BEP).
Plan of Work and Public Procurement Methods
This section presents the most popular and widespread public procurement methodologies and how each one of them might impact the make-up of the design team and the BIMM process activities including the Plan of Work Stages.
The plan of work incorporates well-structured stages that make sure that all involved parties deliver information consistently and as required (Melzner, Zhang, Teizer & Bargstädt, 2013). However, these stages may not be identical all through the process because various procurement methodologies influence the plan of work stages differently. The type of procurement method also determines the personnel that will be involved in each stage. Knowledge of the procurement methodologies therefore is key in understanding the most appropriate BIM level to be adopted in a building project. Procurement methods are classified widely into ‘traditional’ and ‘innovative’ methods. The following are the most common procurement methods (Hajian & Becerik-Gerber 2009):
- Design bid build
- Design Build
- Construction Management
- Design Build Operate
- Design Build Finance Operate
Modern approaches that are getting increasingly popular include:
- Integrated project delivery
- Early Building Information Management Partnering
- Project Alliancing
- Two-stage Open Book
- Cost-led procurement
Design Bid Build (DBB)
This one of the most popular delivery system in BIM. Hence, it is commonly known as a ‘traditional’ methodology. In DBB, the client directly receives the designs of the project while the contractor only gets involved in the actual construction process (Dore & Murphy 2012). More than one parties are therefore involved in designing and construction process. By the time the most appropriate contractor is identified, the drawings of the infrastructure would have progressed a good deal. After bidders have estimated the cost of the project, the bidder who presents the lowest bid is normally taken as the contractor of the project and maintenance of the project is normally performed by the client (Logothetis, Delinasiou, & Stylianidis 2015).
The main steps of this method are as follows (Tang, Huber, Akinci, Lipman & Lytle, 2010):
- Establishing need for carrying out the work
- Definition of the requirements of the client
- Developing the deigns and drawings
- The client’s approval of the designs
- Preparation of the tender documents
- Selection and invitation of tenders to the tender.
- Preparation of proposals by the tenders
- Contractor selection (Contract establishment)
- Actual construction
- Building testing
The employment of object oriented documentation that are data rich in promoting e-procurement immensely impacts the BIM processes. Implementation of e-procurement, viewed form the perspective of the designer, seems to limit the dissipation of data and thereby promotes automation. In order to understand well the impact that procurement methodologies may have on the design team, we need first to have a general knowledge of the current situation of the design phases (Wang, Truijens, Hou, Wang & Zhou 2014). The design phases incorporates the planning phase, management of the design and procurement. The planning phases involves the preparation of the main plan and project scheduling as well as the project budget. The procurement stage involves the proposal of various methods, in which the bidding process begins in accordance with the project conditions. Note that these conditions are established in the pre-contact stage of the project, preceding the establishment of the procurement type and the final conditions. Just as the importance of the procurement process is connected with all the design factors of the project, so does final contract.
The European Commission, 2017 establishes that for the compliance of quality, time and budget, public procurement regulations should be established (Zhang, Teizer, Lee, Eastman & Venugopal 2013).
Tendering Process and the Document Verification
The project information model involves the integration of graphical and non-graphical data that forms a virtual model of the infrastructure in construction. The aftermath virtual model of the construction is then transferred to the most competent construction supplier, after which the supplier gives it to the employer at the end. However, the steps followed may vary depending on the procurement methodologies that have been employed.
In the year 2013, reacting to an enacted policy that required all construction projects to adopt the required minimum Level 2 of BIM protocol, the UK government established a BIM protocol known as CICBP (Construction Industry Council BIM Protocol) which was tasked with the responsibility of establishing mechanisms that would run a BIM environment (RIBA, 2013). The CICBP provides that construction contracts and appointment files should bear the rights of the CICBP as an addendum in order to provide the necessary obligations and rights of employers and the party that has been contracted. The CICBP protocol can also act as a legal agreement in contracts and in so doing is intended to be a document to seal contractual transactions. In the tendering process, a supplier must provide a number of documents to show that they have the required skills of working with the level 2 BIM environments.
Influences that might affect the BIMM process
- Information Availability
In the event that the participants do not have a constant access to information, the plan of work phases in the BIM can be greatly disrupted. Furthermore, collaboration amongst the participating parties would be difficult.
- Quality of Data
Effective BIM adaptation heavily relies on the quality of the available data. Format of the information, viewed as a major contributor to data quality, is also a major determinant of how BIM process runs. Research analysis shows that most people in the UK have their own preference to structure of information documents (Building Information Modelling 2015). Furthermore, different software in use have different compatibility issues due to varying formats. These conditions would mean that some phases in the BIM process that rely heavily on data would be immensely imprecated.
NBS Digital Plan of Work
The NBS (National Building Specification) digital plan of Works is a platform that enhances the Building Information Modelling process in an online platform, and is attached to the requirements of the work stage of a particular project (Building Information Modelling 2015). NBS (National Building Specification) provides that clients have the responsibility of definition of the deliverables that would be required at every phase of the construction process. The deliverables definition is held in a Digital Plan of Work (DPoW) platform. The digital plan of work platform covers the whole plan of the project period, that is, from the development of a strategy to management of the assets in construction. A digital plan of work’s major role is to enhance that information that is produced by all the participants is timely and is produced in the recommended way. It does this by following processes that are standardized and agreeable by all stakeholders. Furthermore, a digital plan of work aids the team in the construction project to understand well their duties and make sure that all the deliverables that the client should receive are efficient and they are delivered on time. It also enhances effective decision making throughout the period of the project (Bimdevelopment.bimregionalhubs.org 2015).
Basically, the digital plan of work delivers information to the client in milestones that are labeled as ‘data-drops’ (Hamil 2015). The data drops would be generally aligned to the phases of the project, and the information that is acquired would be a true reflection of the levels of development of the project at the stage at which the project would have reached. One major principle of the Digital Plan of Work is a provision that ensures that a phase cannot be finished unless all the deliverables are confirmed at a common level of definition. This then means that someone has to drive the monitoring and completion process of the DPoW, most likely a person from the design team. However, there are some limitations on the DPoW website that would, in some way, hamper its usage. The website provides that the digital copies or papers of the material that has been downloaded or printed cannot be altered. This would be an impediment to any team that would desire to customize the information for their own purposes. The DPoW needs to be flexible to allow clients to alter the information that they provide, more especially to allow for provision of important feedback from users that would enhance further development (Kell &Mordue 2015).
OIR, EIR, PIM and AIM Level 2 Documents Information flow
Organizational information requirements OIR
Organizational information requirements (OIR) incorporates information that an organization needs in order to effectively manage its assets and carry out its organizational mandates effectively (Kell & Mordue 2015). These requirements basically are organization based as opposed to asset based or project level based requirements. In case a contract is awarded for a particular asset management of activities, asset Informational Requirements (AIR) must be formulated according to the Organizational Information Requirements.
Employer's information requirements EIR
This model defines the information that the client (employer) will require from both internal teams and external suppliers for the entire process of the construction of the infrastructural assets (Sinclai 2015). The Employer's information requirements (EIR) usually carries the specification of the information that is required by suppliers. It also describes the required deliverables in terms of documents and defines information exchange in the lifecycle of the project.
Project Information Model (PIM)
This is the information model that is formulated during the project design and construction phase (Toolkit.thenbs.com 2015). The specifications of the project information model are set out in the Employers Informational Requirements. At level 2 of the BIMM, PIM consists of data that is non-graphical and that is associated with the documentation. The project informational model is progressively developed with the initial development called design intent model.
Asset Informational Model (AIM)
AIM is a model that contains all information that would be relevant to support asset management (Arayici, Onyenobi & Egbu 2012). It provides data that would be required for asset operation to be possible. From non-graphical to graphical data, AIM can provide documents and or metadata that is attached to one asset or to a portfolio of assets. The figure below summarizes shows the flow of information between OIR, EIR, PI and AIM models.
The project information model is created during the design and construction stage of a project. Commencing of as a design intent model comma level of details we automatically increase and eventually become a virtual construction model which contains all the elements that are required to be manufactured installed or constructed. At project completion the information from the project information model is transferred to the AIM which can be then used within a facility management CAFM system.
Implications of BIM in a legal context
The key benefit of construction contracts is to ensure that design and construction responsibilities are properly distributed amongst all the contract-participating parties. If these contract definitions not be clear, conflicts are likely to arise. The priority of accessing and using the design documents, the meaning of any activity defined in the design or construction phases are some of the issues that are likely to come up if the responsibilities of each participating contractor are not clearly defined (Hajian & Becerik-Gerber 2009).
Generally, the use of BIM in project delivery generally produces risks that are associated with the design and construction procedures. Perhaps, the major legal issue is how BIM collaborates with the project participants and stakeholders. The greatest fear would be the risk of BIM blurring the primary roles and responsibilities that have been assigned to each and every participating party. A look at the Spearin Doctrine would be helpful here.
This doctrine was formulated majorly to protect contractors against a client’s inappropriate claimants of defective or below standard work (Dore & Murphy 2012). The doctrine provides that should a structure be built according to the client’s specifications and yet fail to function as it was intended to, then the contractor cannot be held responsible for the resultant failure. Should defects be identified in the planning and specifications of the structure in construction, the blame is shifted to the client’s architect.
Integrated project delivery refers to a system of collaborative working between all the parties who are involved in the delivery of a project. This is made up of the client, project team and separate team of consultant specialists and contractors. This usually brings together the design under construction activities with maintenance considered as well, whether or not the integrated project team will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the facility these usually involve valued input from all the parties in the supply chain. Integrated project delivery as an innovative contractual structure which always aligns the interests of the client and all contractors.
There are in addition a lot of variants, compound versions or and hybrids regarding all the above four mentioned methods of procurement. Which procurement method is likely to prove the most appropriate in a given situation will depend upon this scope and the nature of the work proposed. How the risks are to be apportioned, and on what price basis the contract is to be awarded the depending on the following;
Common Data Environments
A common data environment is important for delivery of quality renovations, maintenance, repair and construction of new outcomes in relation to budget and timeline of a project. Research has shown that less than 2% of projects are normally delivered on time and on-budget (Yalcinkaya & Singh 2015).
The common data environment part is a very important part in the BIM process. The common data environment is the sole source of all data used to correct, manage and the referred documentation to the whole project team. This means that all the project information whatever printed in the BIM environment or another alternative data format is carefully stored within the common data environment. Using this sole source of information facilitates cooperation between project team members and helps in avoiding multiple mistakes within the projects.
Information transfer within a common data environment can be described within the information delivery cycle in accordance with the RIBA plan of work stages. Adopting a common data environment such as one specified in PAS 1192-2 (2013) by means ownership of information to remain within its originator within the MDT. Procedures of a project should be agreed upon by all members of a MDT at the preproduction stage of a project, this is to include a correct information hierarchy that supports the concept of a common data environment. While most of the project information documents within the building information modelling level 2 processes as contained in the common data environment. These documents are usually known as living documents which are usually required to be updated as required along with information growth recorded within the common data environment.
The requirements of the clients are also scarcely met. Common data environments come in handy to help change this traditional expectation upside down and innovatively change how information is shared. Common data environments ensure that accurate and timely information is shared amongst all parties in a transparent manner and without interruption.
Design Responsibility Matrix (DRM)
The Design Responsibility Matrix (DRM) is one of the areas of development that is connected with the Plan of Work 2013 of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (Ribaplanofwork.com 2013). The DRM provides that all team members of a particular project need to have a clear outline of their responsibilities. This has been traditionally been always carried out from within the project, even up to date. The burden of the DRM is to make sure that all involved parties in a particular construction project are well versed with information on what they are supposed to deliver and what the information would be used for. Since there are no specific definite standards that are followed By DRM, it uses the development specifications that have been developed by the US BIM Forum.
BIM enhances innovative presentation of structural designs in a manner as to increase effective construction of building projects. Furthermore, BIM promotes value sharing and contributes much to presentation of information to a project model and hence enhances multidisciplinary collaboration. However, for BIM to achieve its goals in presentation of its deliverables, the current legal frameworks need to be sufficiently redesigned so as to support fair practice of all the philosophies and principles underlying the platform.
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