Top 10 Tips to Create a BIM Execution Plan You Will Actually Use

#1 – Ask the people who do the work

Talk to your lead BIM modelers about their biggest pet peeves on projects. Is it architects who change the file name every week? Engineers that don’t send their models until after the deadline? Designers that only work in plan so everything in the model is floating at strange heights? Set up the expectations in your BEP so you can eliminate the headaches for your team.

#2 Yes, the version of Revit matters

This may or may not seem obvious, but if your team all agrees to “use Revit” and everyone goes off into their corner and starts their models, you can have major problems. If your architect is working in Revit 2016, but your mechanical engineer is in Revit 2015, they won’t be able to see each other’s work. Everyone has to be on the same version of Revit in order to share and link their models.  To resolve this problem, the mechanical engineer would be forced to upgrade to 2016 – not when IT is ready, not when the budget allows, but right now.  This can have a big impact on the project budget and timeline.

#3 You’re going to use BIM for that?

If the team decides to use the model for estimating, but your structural engineer doesn’t model any of the bracing (just shows it in a linked CAD detail), you’re going to have some pretty big holes in your cost estimate.  If the team decides to produce renderings from the model, but the electrical engineer doesn’t pay attention the heights of any of their light fixtures, you’ll have a rendering with objects floating all of the place.  Define the expectations for the project in the BEP.

#4 Shared coordinates are a nightmare…

if you don’t set them up correctly when you create your models. In the BEP, include the location of your base point and building base point, and make sure they are set up correctly in your model BEFORE you send it to the team. Otherwise, every week, the team will spend way to much time trying to line up all the models correctly… or close enough… or just unlink them because it’s become a pain.

#5 Track your changes

Nobody has time for this, right? Well guess what, nobody has time to look through your model to find the changes either. If they don’t see it, they don’t know you changed it, and they don’t know they need to fix something. If you don’t say that you raised the ceiling by 3 feet, no one knows that they need to re-route all the ductwork, plumbing, and sprinker heads there. And structural doesn’t know that they need to re-design the system because their trusses don’t fit anymore.  Don’t assume the rest of the team is working in the same part of the building you are and will see this change. Include a bullet point list of changes each week with your model upload.

#6 Don’t assume the BIM Manager will clean up your mess

Make it clear to each team member what exactly needs to be delivered – what files, which formats, and by when each week. Define it from day 1, and expect the team to carve out the time to hold up their end of the deal. It should not land on your BIM Manager’s shoulders to export files all day because a consultant forgot or ran out of time.

#7 Include a Task List

It’s not that people don’t know what to do; it’s that when teams are juggling multiple deadlines on multiple projects, it’s too easy to get things mixed up.  Make it easy for everyone and include a list of the tasks you expect each team member to complete each week.

Examples can include:

  1. Attend weekly meetings Friday 8:00 am
  2. Upload models and dwg exports every Thursday at noon
  3. Resolve assigned clashes by model upload on Thursday
  4. Document design changes that occurred throughout the week – summarize and upload with the model on Thursday

#8 Get off your island

If the project was under construction and there was a conflict, everyone would be called out to the job site. We would all stand there and stare at the issue, talk through solutions, weigh everyone’s input and find the best way to proceed.  Do it the same way during design – solve the conflict in a meeting, while everyone is looking at the problem on the screen in the model – not through 30 emails over the course of a week. If the problem cannot be explained in a few simple sentences, add it to the next weekly meeting agenda.

#9 Pencils down

No one wants to turn over a messy, uncoordinated drawing set, right? Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Why? Because we all work up until the very last minute and hit print… but we don’t factor in the Pencils Down time.  In order to coordinate and resolve conflicts, we ALL have to put our pencils down two weeks before the deadline.  Then, exchange models, review the clashes, and adjust for the next week. Exchange final models, then NO MORE CHANGES.  This last week is for detailing, noting, and QA/QC before the drawings go out.

#10 Everyone needs a cheat sheet

Keep your BEP short, sweet, and to the point. Refer to the other guides for in-depth explanations. Only include the project specific info your team needs to complete their work.


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