With an increasing number of A/E/C companies using BIM technology, it is important to incorporate a BIM Execution Plan or BIM standards within your firm. Michelle Hart, BIM Specialist with CE Solutions, gives us best practices for setting up and sharing files as well as good communication processes to increase project efficiency and realize project success.
Develop a project template. No need to reinvent the wheel every time a new project starts.
Develop project standards. This allows staff to know what drawings, details and notes are to be used for each project type.
Develop a clear process for team collaboration. A BIM Execution Plan helps communicate how the files need to be set up, standards and procedures to follow, and contact information for those working on the project and their roles and responsibilities. When file sharing on an FTP site, it helps to have a schedule for uploading files on a weekly basis or a procedure to notify other team members when information is available. Although you can see model updates instantly when using cloud-based file sharing, it is still important to let others know of major changes to help eliminate the possibility of missed items.
Develop and share typical details within the company. We house these details in a shared folder, so they are easily accessible to add to a new or existing project. An important issue to keep in mind is software versioning. It is not possible to downgrade a Revit version. We keep these files saved to an earlier version so that details can be copied into newer projects with minimal effort.
FILE SHARING - CLOUD-BASED VS FTP
The greatest advantage of cloud-based technology is the ability to see model updates instantly. It eliminates the uploading/downloading process of sending models between people and disciplines. There is never a question of whether one is working within the latest files.
One disadvantage of the Cloud includes a concern with accessing too much information. Access to models or other files can be limited for each project member in order to prevent accidental editing of the project file by another discipline. For instance, the structural team members would have the ability to view the architectural model; however, they would only have access to open and edit the structural Revit model. Another disadvantage could be costs. A license is required for each person that needs access to the models. This could prove to be cost-prohibitive.
When working in an FTP site, it is easier to keep record of when information was exchanged and what changes were made. For example, we save received files into dated folders. It is also possible to save an archived version of our model before a major change. If it is necessary to salvage information, the archived version allows us to revert to the original design. When working with cloud-based file sharing, there is not an easily accessible record of what may have been updated between a model from a week versus a month ago.
Sheet setup – The title block is shared with the project team and contains project information, sheet numbering and naming, and details for drawing submissions. The scale of the drawings, key plans, and sheet ordering are determined at the beginning of the project to provide consistency between all drawings.
Recognizing the BIM Level of Development (LOD) of the models is based on what has been agreed upon contractually. We traditionally develop our structural BIM models to the extent necessary for design intent and interdisciplinary coordination (LOD 300), not to the extent necessary for fabrication, material / quantity take-off, construction scheduling, etc. For example, framing and columns need to be modeled, but the connections would be covered with graphics and written explanations.
Determine who is responsible for various aspects of the models. For example, who will host masonry walls in their model – architectural or structural? This should be communicated early in the process.
Regular interdisciplinary coordination meetings should be held. Determine who will attend and how information will be shared and updated.
With a good BIM Execution Plan or BIM standards, your projects will have better collaboration and efficiency. This assures the design and construction teams begin on the right footing leading to happier end users and owners.
Michelle Hart, LEED Green Associate
BIM Specialist, CE Solutions