This guide outlines a structured, four-step BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure, along with appropriate implementation guidelines. The implementation of this procedure has been performed on seven projects and within three organizations. By analyzing the successes and challenges encountered within these implementation case studies, the following ten recommendations for successful implementation were identified.
1) Each project team needs a BIM Champion. A project using the BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure is more likely to succeed when there is at least one person with a strong desire to develop the BIM Plan. These champions take time to learn the procedure and work to help compile the final BIM Plan. They also market the value and necessity of the process to the other project team members. It is important that the champion(s) on a project encourages the team to take the time to plan the work, even if there is strong schedule pressure to begin developing model content prior to the completion of the planning process. The BIM champion could be from any primary organization, or even a third party, but within the case study projects, these champions were primarily from the owner or construction manager organization.
2) Owner involvement is critical throughout the entire process. By providing the guidelines for model and information deliverables, the owner can emphasize the importance of BIM implementation for reaching their desired end goals for the facility. Owner involvement and enthusiasm regarding the process can encourage project team members to seek the best processes that will benefit the entire project. Owners should consider writing a BIM Project Execution Plan into their contract documents to ensure that the planning process is performed to a level of detail which meets their expectations.
3) It is essential that the project team fosters an open environment of sharing and collaboration. The BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure requires organizations to provide information regarding their standard practices, including information exchange requirements. While certain contract structures can lead to collaboration challenges, the goal of this procedure is to have the team develop a BIM process containing deliverables that will be beneficial to all members involved. To achieve this goal, the project team should have open lines of communication. The team members must buy-in to the process and be willing to share their intellectual content with other team members.
4) The BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure can be adapted to different contracting structures. The BIM process has the ability to be more comprehensively adopted in more integrated project delivery approaches. However, none of the case studies used to validate the procedure were used with a specific Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract. The core steps of the procedure are helpful no matter which delivery method is used, but there are added challenges when implementing the planning when all core team members are not involved in the early stages of the project.. Depending on the contract strategy, additional steps may be needed to ensure project planning success, and early assumptions may be needed to plan for future team members.
5) There is great value in early planning. If planning does not take place early, extra time may be needed to resolve inconsistencies downstream. This often results in more time and resources used than the original planning would have needed.
6) The BIM Plan should be treated as a living document. When beginning the BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure, it is valuable to understand that the BIM Plan will be need to be flexible and the plan should be reviewed and updated on a periodic basis. It is unrealistic to assume that the project team will have all information necessary to avoid assumptions that may need to be made to develop the BIM Plan at the inception of the project. It will take time to populate the information because additional and new information must be incorporated as project team members are added.
7) Once an initial plan is developed, it must be reviewed regularly. A revision schedule should be set based on a frequency that the project team deems appropriate. Throughout the life of the project, it is important to keep the initial project goals in mind to ensure that the team is working towards their completion. If there is any deviation, reassessment of or rededication to the original goals should occur.
8) The appropriate resources must be made available to ensure planning success. It is important to keep in mind that the level of effort needed for this process should not be underestimated. Project teams must consider the time allocated for planning when generating both the project schedule and project budget. Due to the learning curve associated with this process, teams should overestimate the time it will take to produce a BIM Project Execution Plan. The time associated with the learning curve can be reduced by educating involved team members before delving into the process. Without proper planning before the project specific meetings begin, many unexpected issues may arise that could have been solved at an earlier time.
9) Developing an organizational BIM Project Execution Plan before project inception can decrease project planning time. By performing organizational level planning, the team can reduce the amount of time spent on each step of the planning process and maintain a manageable planning scope by defining their standard goals, uses, processes, and information exchanges. You may wish to reference the BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners, available at http://bim.psu.edu, for additional information related to BIM planning at an organizational level.
10) The BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure can be adapted for multiple uses and situations beyond the original scope of the project. Even if project teams take only what they need from the procedure and do not complete the entire process, these projects can still create detailed BIM Plans. Teams have the ability to revise the template documents to fit their specific processes, without modifying any of the core steps of the planning procedure. These teams then have the ability to eventually add other portions of the procedure, which will further assist with their planning.
The BIM Project Execution Planning Procedure has helped project teams develop detailed plans for their projects. These plans outline the goals, process, information exchanges, and infrastructure for BIM implementation. By developing and following these plans, the teams are able to make a significant impact on the degree of successful BIM implementation. The procedure does take time and resources, particularly the first time an organization is involved in this level of planning, but the benefits of developing the detailed plan far outweigh the resources expended.