Jul 03 2015

Implementing BIM – some challenges and solutions

CONJECT CDEAlmost half of the respondents to a recent AEC industry survey into BIM readiness rated their companies as being less informed than they should be about how to meet the requirements of BIM*.  To find out how customers are using the CONJECT Common Data Environment to become BIM level 2 compliant, I caught up with senior product consultant Richard Moyle.


Richard, prior to using the CONJECT Common Data Environment (CDE) how were customers attempting to deliver BIM projects?

Most customers were using generic file sharing tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites to allow project members from different organisations to access, upload and share model files. They would use proprietary applications for viewing and clash detection, with the design team using email and spreadsheets to manage the coordination of model updates.

Considering that our customers are responsible for the construction and ongoing operation of multimillion pound infrastructure and real estate assets, they recognised that these tools and processes have inherent flaws when it comes to managing projects utilising BIM.


What BIM implementation challenges are customers facing?

The immediate problem our customers had was with managing design changes. Without defined information standards or version control, anyone could drop in new versions of models in different formats at any time, causing confusion and uncertainty as to whether the team were working with the latest project data.

Inadequate information management multiplied the risk of incorrect work and project delay. And with the commercial risk of the project success or failure residing with the principle contractor, we are finding that they are the organisations most in need of assistance as they are struggling to control and manage the delivery of BIM projects.

Contractors were also uncertain of how to capture and collate component and object data and to ensure that they were producing complete handovers (as per a Soft Landings approach).

Finally, some of our customers were finding that their exchange tools did not recognise file formats that involve BIM, such as DWG files with 3D objects, DXF, IFC, RVT and NWD files.


How does CONJECT CDE help customers comply with BIM level 2?

The key element we bring to BIM projects is collaboration with control. By configuring the software to include a schedule of deliverables, rigid naming conventions, version control, file status in line with PAS1192, user access control and defined review processes, our customers can bring order, structure and compliance to project teams.

Standardisation of data and repeatability of processes is key to facilitating collaborative BIM on projects and a robust CDE is required to deliver this.  Project managers need to be able to report in real-time on the status of their project in order to identify and react to change.

CONJECT CDE functionality also captures and populates defined folders of component and systems data in readiness for the operational phase within a structured database. Several of our contractor clients are currently taking this approach as they are contractually obliged to operate the built asset for the first year of operation.

More than 100 BIM projects are being supported by the CONJECT CDE, with varying levels of complexity. All of our clients are committed to meeting level 2 requirements, but some are more advanced than others on this journey.


What’s next for CONJECT CDE?

We’re working closely with both client and contractor customers to use our CDE functionality and experience to help them in readiness for next year’s UK Government BIM level 2 deadline. Our CDE is already PAS-1192 compliant, but we are looking at what additional value our clients can achieve from the BIM evolution.

For instance, in addition to standardising processes and managing version control we are looking at providing customers with a better understanding of change. This ensures that at the end of each review cycle they know where they are at, what issues occurred, what caused them, how long they took to resolve and how they could be prevented next time.

Supporting effective collaboration across the built asset lifecycle has always been a primary objective of CONJECT, and our CDE for BIM is just the next step in this journey.


*Survey amongst 813 AEC industry and asset owners conducted by CONJECT 2015.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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