3-step BIM strategy for project owners

Paul Sancandi
January 14, 2013

Starting with the need to develop the all important building information modelling (BIM) brief, the project manager will need to at least have a basic understanding of the following to be able to effectively implement and manage the use of BIM on behalf of owners and their projects:

  • BIM strategy
  • BIM uses
  • BIM process
  • BIM information and data
  • BIM infrastructure
  • BIM and people

This article, including extracts from the Pennsylvania State University BIM Guide for Facility Owners, will cover BIM strategy and what the project manager needs to know and do as a minimum to ensure the owner’s mission, vision, goals and objectives and are defined and met.

The Strategic Planning for BIM procedure will direct the planning team through three steps to develop a detailed BIM Owner Organisational Execution Plan.

The three essential steps in developing a BIM Organisational Strategic Plan:

  1. Conduct organisational assessment
  2. Establish desired level of implementation; and
  3. Develop advancement strategy.

Conduct organisational assessment

The strategic planning procedure should be initiated by an individual or group able to adequately direct funds and guides the procedure. It is important that an individual with authority, leadership, and motivation is selected to champion this process. The assessment includes evaluating the organisation, both internally to determine its status and externally to determine its performance within its business environment. The goal of this process is to identify possible areas of adoption and implementation of new processes and technologies.

The organisation should also consider stating a mission for the individual facilities groups within the organisation. Therefore, missions of the facilities group must be stated as performing their internal objectives with an aim toward enhancing organisational mission.

During BIM organisational strategic planning, the planning committee should measure the maturity of the aspects of an organisation, or BIM planning elements that are critical for its BIM implementation.

Establish desired level of implementation

The second step to achieve BIM goals is a strategic alignment of the organisation. Once the organisation has conducted an internal assessment of its status, the BIM planning committee then establishes a desired level of maturity for each of the planning elements. Additionally the planning committee will need to determine future BIM objectives and BIM uses for the organisation.

Setting goals is an important step following the establishment of a mission by the strategic BIM planning committee. As a first pass in the strategic planning process, the goals identified can vary in scope and degree. These goals can be based on organisational performance and include items such as invest in BIM, reduce operational and lifecycle costs, improve operational workflows, understand and define information needs or develop internal quality assurance systems. Goals can also target the workforce and their capabilities by providing training and education to the team members or developing supporting infrastructure.

Once the BIM planning committee has identified organisational goals, BIM objectives are defined. Objectives are more specific and measurable steps for achieving a goal or a long-term vision. When developing objectives, the planning committee has to consider each identified goal in detail and analyse it further to identify the steps required to attain each objective. Once the objectives have been determined, they should be ordered based on time and priority.

After determining the organisational goals and BIM objectives, the organisation should determine the BIM uses to achieve their goals. A BIM use is defined as a method or strategy of applying BIM during a facility’s lifecycle to achieve one or more specific objectives.

The BIM uses at this stage of the planning process are identified based on the goals and objectives, for example, if an organisation wants to manage as-built records and maintenance information on the building equipment, record modelling and asset management could be potential BIM uses. Some goals and objectives may directly imply the specific implementation of a BIM use, while others may require several uses to support a goal.

Develop advancement strategy

BIM strategic planning does not stop with developing short-term goals and long-term visions, but with a final step of developing an effective advancement and implementation strategy. The implementation process will vary from one organisation to another depending on the goals and objectives; the size of the organisation; time and financial investment; experience with BIM and the available resources.

Advanced planning helps the planning committee determine a defined approach to avoid the risk of escalating costs and misdirected time and resources. Strategic planning established a baseline to track progress at predetermined milestones or points in time.

Once the planning committee has documented their advancement strategy, the organisation will benefit from developing a roadmap. Roadmapping is the process of displaying the integration of strategic changes in a business process. A roadmap quickly communicates the key components of the organisations strategic plan in a simple graphical representation or snapshot view.

By following a comprehensive strategic planning procedure, including an assessment of the mission, vision, goals, planning elements, and developing a roadmap, a project manager on behalf of the owner can document the information necessary to support decisions to integrate BIM within an organisation.

In summary, the process which begins with an assessment of the organisation helps benchmark its status in the market and identify gaps. Understanding organisational missions and goals helps determine the primary BIM objective of the organisation to assess how it is currently achieving the organisational goals. Aligning the process by determining its vision for the future helps determine the BIM objectives and uses that enable better facility throughout the lifecycle.

The advancement strategy helps the organisation develop future strategies by identifying important milestones and the key players. It helps the organisation determine what elements need to be approached and in what manner to ensure the BIM process is focused.

With appropriate documentation, the project manager on behalf of the owner will be able to successfully begin the next stage of BIM rganisational Execution Planning, where the planning elements and aspects of the organisation identified during the BIM organisational strategic planning will be assessed in greater detail.

Author avatar
Paul Sancandi
Paul Sancandi is a senior design manager with InfraSol Group. He has a technical background as a structural engineer, owned an architectural and engineering practice and has worked in Australia, Asia and the Middle East on a wide range of small to mega projects over the past 32 years.
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