3 Essential Tasks for BIM Success

There are three factors that are critical to the success of a BIM project. But what does success on a BIM project even mean? According to the SmartMarket Brieft: BIM Advancements No. 1, success on a BIM project means reductions in construction cost and schedule, fewer RFIs, and reduction in site waste, rework and downtime. Basically, using BIM during design and construction, produces a higher quality project in shorter time frames and at lower cost.

So let’s not re-invent the wheel - the SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancements No. 1 shows us the impacts these tasks have on our projects.  Dig into the data here

Here are 3 proven tasks that will increase your chances for success on BIM Projects:

#1: Assemble a BIM-Savvy Team

The most important task that you can do is make sure your teams have these key qualities – ability and enthusiasm to use BIM and willingness to work collaboratively.  No amount of BIM standards, plans, or meetings will solve the problem of having team members that are not interested in the BIM process.  Your only solution is to vet the team that you are putting together or the team you have been asked to participate on for the key qualities listed above.

The biggest obstacle to BIM success is  team members that do not support BIM.  Over 60% of contractors, engineers, and architects agree that this lack of support has the highest negative impact on teams.  The best team members will embrace the technical and cultural shifts that occur during the transition from 2-D drafting to 3D modeling.

The second biggest obstacle to BIM success is team members that do not work collaboratively.  Just under 60% of contractors, engineers and architects report that when team members do not work together to solve problems, BIM success will be undermined.  Teams that share information frequently, exchange models regularly, and ask questions when challenges come up will be much better off in the BIM process.

ViewAR 2D plan 3D Model

#2: Create a BIM Plan

75%  of contractors, engineers, and architects report that having a BIM Plan in place, early on in the project, is the most important process on a BIM project. It’s not surprising then, that not having a BIM Plan in place was the third biggest obstacle to BIM success.

So, if the majority of people agree that a BIM Plan is critical to success, and it has a huge impact on the outcome of a project when it is skipped, why doesn’t everyone do it?  Generally, it’s because the BIM Plans out there are dense, long, and complicated – Penn State’s  BIM Execution Planning Guide is over 100 pages.

Instead, create a cliff-notes version for your company – highlight the most important items your team needs to agree on and discuss them in the kick-off meeting. The top items to include are:

  • the software version and year
  • the BIM objectives for the project
  • model exchanges – how they will be sent and how often
  • file naming
  • model object responsibility
Penn State BIM Objectives

#3: Hold BIM Project Meetings

75% of contractors, engineers, and architects said that attending BIM meetings – where the models are used to identify challenges and develop solutions together as a team – was the most important team activity on a BIM project. The statistics are showing us that these meetings are an excellent use of the team’s time.  Across the board, contractors, engineers, and architects all reported strong support for including these meetings in their core project activities.

These meetings lead directly to big benefits to the project team:

  •  everyone can understand an issue, even those not seasoned in reading plans and details
  • questions can be answered by “standing” in the model, looking at the conflict, and discussing different ways of resolving it
  • conflicts are identified much earlier in the process and can be fixed long before construction begins
  • owners and clients are given a preview of what the project will look like as changes are made


 Danpitkin cm_bim-team-shot
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