BIM – Building Information Modeling or Building Information Management? IT is all about information


BIM – Building Information Modeling or Building Information Management? IT is all about information


Currently, we are dealing with a different approach to the subject of BIM. It is an incredibly developing and intriguing experience, because by exchanging opinions with experts, we can encounter many contradictions, inconsistencies, and sometimes agreements on many levels. And who is really right? Probably it cannot be stated unequivocally, but we can only keep on enriching with information obtained from every single expert.This applies to both purely technical knowledge, but also to management processes.

BIM – Building Information Modeling

Building information modeling is a process of collecting all the necessary information about a facility that will be used in the next stages of the investment process. Depending on the purpose for which the model will be used, completely different parameters are taken into account. Including them in the model is a multi-stage and continuous process. Once created, a model does not end (or at least should not) its history in the next stage of the project. It is still alive and keeps on “maturing”. It acquires more and more information, some of it changes or becomes more detailed. In the ideal process of information modeling, there is no duplication of activities, disinformation and loss in the model. The ideal process is based on properly defined requirements, which of the basic fundamental functionalities are then expanded in a structured, thoughtful and documented manner.

If we only consider the issue of information modeling itself, then we can base our knowledge on tools and specialists in a given field of activity. After all, the modeler knows how to include specific information in a given software, he is even a specialist in it! On the other hand, the modeler is not necessarily able to define how the given information will flow through the subsequent stages. Hence, there is a need to properly manage the given information.

BIM – Building Information Management

Even before approaching the modeling stage, the project defines the initial requirements regarding, among others, type, scope, budget, quality, functionality, etc.

These requirements grow from week to week and step by step. Each meeting of the stakeholders of a given project may provide an opportunity to add new requirements. They should be collected in the EIR document (Employer’s Information Requirements). The best solution would be for the document, once created, to remain the only EIR at all stages of the investment process. It should simply “mature” constantly. Subsequent stages and the people responsible for these stages should enrich and saturate such a document. On the other hand, in response to the EIR, the BEP document, once created, should similarly expand its content. At a time when we treat all stages completely separately – we duplicate the work, effort and time put into the project, and at the same time we cause many mistakes. It is as if someone who builds a house made only the foundations, then at the next stage someone created the walls, not necessarily referring to the laying of the foundations, and completely new people who do not have sufficient knowledge about the previous stages took responsibility for the subsequent floors. This has the right to succeed, but it is more likely that at some point something will eventually collapse.

Information modeling phases

The construction investment process involves many parties, many entities and often the structure of contractors and subcontractors is very extensive. It cannot be denied that in order to collect all information from every person involved in the process, it requires appropriate logistics and management methodology. So we need both in this regard

  1. knowledge of information modeling in a given tool
  2. knowledge of consolidating this information with other tools
  3. knowledge on the flow of information through the subsequent stages of the investment process

The following roles are similarly responsible for these things:

  1. BIM Modeler
  2. BIM Coordinator
  3. BIM Manager

Each of these roles is essential and each of the competences covered by these roles is crucial to a properly functioning information flow. Each one of these roles has assigned tasks for which it is responsible and contributes to the modeling, transfer and development of information about a given project in a different scope.

However, looking at the multi-scale and holistic approach, the methodology is the key to combine all phases of the project and to treat a given building as one “maturing” product throughout all stages of the investment process.

BIM and IT? Building life cycle versus software life cycle

There is always talk of technological backwardness in the construction industry. At the same time, the issue of conflicts between the parties involved in the process is raised so often. Cooperation between individual entities is based to a greater extent on communication leading to finding a fault, rather than seeking an appropriate solution. The construction world somehow stopped at the stage of developing only technical knowledge and hard skills, while somewhere in all this, soft skills were lost – more and more emphasized in terms of importance in management.

In the rush of new construction investments, few companies have found time to stop to rethink the way they have been operating so far and analyze it also in terms of BIM technology, information management and team management. However, by acting schematically, not drawing conclusions and not trying to improve the processes, we will stop in a place from which it will be harder and harder to get out with time. That is why it is worth considering the adaptation of working methodologies – both production and management.

The point of reference here may be the IT sector, where work methodologies are currently at an incomparably higher level. Especially since it is so easy to find reference points for the analogy of the IT world to the construction investment process. It is enough to compare the building life cycle and the software life cycle.

Looking at the above comparison, you can boldly look at the object as an application that is constantly evolving and adding new functionalities depending on the user’s requirements and depending on the stage of the process. In architectural and construction projects, it actually works exactly the same way. The requirements set out in the EIR by the contracting authority can find here a report to User Story – that is, to the user story regarding the functionality expected from a given application. In turn, BEP has a direct reference here in the methods of solving a given product functionality.

This similarity directs the direct application of agile methodologies to the BIM world. It shows us the direction of the development of project management and changes in awareness of hard and soft skills. The more you delve into the agile methodology, the more you can see how, thanks to the appropriate rules and principles, you can also organize project and building management. The fundamental principles of the Agile Manifesto will certainly be the guiding principle in designing the entire process relating to the entire life cycle of a building.

The last time when a pandemic hit us and the world slowed down its tempo, allowed entrepreneurs to stop, analyze and draw conclusions. Perhaps it is also a good time to change your way of looking at the management process of the investment process. And when the world starts to pick up pace again, in whatever direction, the company can be adapted to agile management adjusted to sudden changes and continuous improvement.

Magdalena Olearczyk
Scrum Master, BIM Coordinator

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