Understanding the Foundations of the BIM Convention (Part 1)

To successfully carry out a BIM project, it is imperative to begin by establishing the foundations of the BIM Convention. This is an essential document that dictates the rules, standards, and protocols to be followed.

Understanding these fundamental elements is the first step in drafting an effective BIM Convention. It will support the success of your project. So, get ready to explore these crucial basics of BIM and discover how they will lay the groundwork for your BIM project.

Identifying the Actors

Stakeholders and Roles

The BIM Convention requires a precise identification of the actors and a clear definition of their roles for effective coordination. This ensures a smooth execution of tasks and responsibilities.

  • Architects : Architects are often the project initiators. Their role includes overall design, aesthetics, functionality, and compliance with building codes.
  • Engineers : Engineers, on the other hand, contribute their expertise in structural, mechanical, electrical, etc. They ensure that designs are feasible and meet technical standards
  • Contractors : Contractors implement the project on the ground. They use BIM models for planning, workforce management, and material procurement. 
  • Owners : Finally, owners are the end clients. They play a crucial role in defining project goals, financing, and making major decisions.

Importance of Communication and Coordination

Effective communication and close coordination among all stakeholders are crucial to ensure the success of a BIM project. Architects must work closely with engineers to ensure that designs are feasible.

Contractors must precisely coordinate their activities to avoid costly delays. On the other hand, owners must stay informed and involved to make informed decisions.

By understanding stakeholders and their specific roles, and by emphasizing communication and coordination, a BIM project can be executed more efficiently with higher overall quality. Each stakeholder plays an essential role in the project’s success, and collaboration is the key to fully realizing the benefits of BIM.

This is where BIM becomes an indispensable tool, acting as a centralized medium through the digital model. It helps anticipate needs, facilitate communication, and ensure seamless coordination among all stakeholders. By defining clear exchange protocols and leveraging the digital model as a common reference, BIM contributes to minimizing errors, optimizing resources, and accelerating decision-making, thus ensuring a smoother and more efficient project execution.

Clear Objectives

Definition of Objectives

First and foremost, it is essential to consider multiple dimensions of BIM objectives to cover all aspects of the project. This includes time, cost, quality, sustainability, safety, client satisfaction, etc. Each of these dimensions must be carefully defined to guide project planning and execution.

Next, SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) are crucial. For example, instead of defining a vague objective like “improve quality,” a SMART objective would be “reduce the number of construction defects by 15% by the end of the year.” This specificity allows for a clear definition of what needs to be accomplished and how to measure it.

SMART objectives

Success Criteria

It is crucial to define performance indicators that will measure the success of the BIM project. These indicators may vary based on the dimensions of the objectives, but they should be clear, quantifiable, and aligned with the previously defined goals. For example, for a cost reduction objective, an indicator could be “reduce construction expenses by 10% compared to the initial budget.”

Success criteria should also be directly linked to the objectives. Each objective should have one or more associated performance indicators to measure the extent to which the objective has been achieved. This ensures that objectives remain concrete and measurable throughout the project.

By defining clear objectives and establishing specific and measurable success criteria, a BIM project benefits from a robust roadmap to guide all phases, from planning to execution. It also ensures that stakeholders share a common understanding of the project’s goals and success measures.

With SMART objectives and appropriate performance indicators, a BIM project is more likely to adhere to timelines, budget constraints, and quality standards while achieving the desired outcomes.

Standards and Protocols

Selection of BIM Standards

Choosing appropriate BIM standards is crucial to ensure compatibility and interoperability of data across different teams and software. Standards define data formats, naming conventions, classifications, levels of detail, and more. Using the right standards ensures consistency throughout the project.
Among commonly used BIM standards, ISO 19650 is notable. This standard establishes principles for information management throughout the project lifecycle. Other specific standards may be relevant based on the region, industry, or project type. For instance, the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is a neutral data model standard used for information exchange between different BIM software.

Organisation et numérisation des informations relatives aux bâtiments et ouvrages de génie civil, y compris modélisation des informations de la construction (BIM)
BIM – ISO 19650

Establishment of Protocols

  • Development of Modeling and Collaboration Protocols : BIM protocols actively define the creation, management, sharing, and use of BIM data throughout the project. It is crucial to specify model creation, standards, stakeholders’ responsibilities, quality control processes, etc.
  • Customization of Protocols to Meet Project Needs : It is important to customize protocols to address the specific needs of the project. Each BIM project is unique, and protocols must be adapted based on the project’s size, complexity, goals, and requirements. For example, a high-rise construction project will have different needs compared to a home renovation project.
  • Collaboration and Communication : Protocols should also emphasize collaboration and communication. They must define how data will be exchanged between stakeholders, how conflicts will be resolved, and how updates will be managed to maintain model consistency throughout the project.

By selecting appropriate BIM standards and developing customized protocols, a BIM project can benefit from effective information management, coordination among teams, and assurance of data quality. These elements are essential to maximize the benefits of BIM and ensure project success while avoiding potential issues related to data interoperability and model consistency.

Structuring the BIM Convention

Organization of the Document

A BIM Convention must follow a logical and clear structure. This will enable stakeholders to navigate more easily and find the information they need. A basic structure could include the following sections:

  • Cover page and title page.
  • Table of contents.
  • Introduction.
  • Identification of stakeholders.
  • Objectives and success criteria.
  • Standards and protocols.
  • BIM data specifications.
  • Rights management.
  • Change management.
  • Training and awareness.
  • Annexes (if applicable).

The table of contents is essential to guide users through the document. It should be clear, detailed, and reflect the document’s structure. Each section should be numbered and titled consistently for easy navigation.

Easy Navigation

Well-organized BIM Convention is essential to facilitate information retrieval. Stakeholders will need quick access to specific sections, allowing them to solve problems, make decisions, or clarify responsibilities. A consistent structure and clear presentation make this possible.

For even easier navigation, it is recommended to use internal bookmarks in the PDF document. Hyperlinks to specific sections and a detailed index at the end of the convention can also be added. This allows users to jump directly to relevant information.

Sections of the convention should follow a logical organization. For example, information about standards and protocols should be located near details about BIM data specifications, as these elements are closely related. A logical organization helps users understand how different parts of the convention fit together.
A well-designed convention contributes to a smoother implementation of BIM in the project, ensuring consistency and compliance throughout the project lifecycle.

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, understanding the foundations of the BIM Convention is essential to ensure the success of a construction project based on this methodology.

The BIM Convention serves as a crucial framework for information management, team coordination, data quality, and communication among stakeholders. By following the principles and foundations outlined in this article, you will be better prepared to develop a comprehensive and effective BIM Convention for your project.

Stay tuned for our next article ! You will discover how to develop a comprehensive and effective BIM Convention.