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The benefits of BIM for project managers

Paul Sancandi
December 12, 2012

This article follows on from Building information modelling and the project manager

Previously I explained how project managers need to set up the implementation of building information modelling (BIM) on projects by preparing a detailed brief of the BIM requirements to be implemented in the project. This BIM brief needs to be part of the scope of services of the entire project team with the view of a detailed BIM Execution Plan being delivered by the project team and participants.

To date, the primary implementers of BIM have been the architects and engineers during the design process with recent take up of BIM by contractors who see the advantages BIM can provide with scheduling their construction. When it comes to project managers, some project managers have only basic knowledge about BIM, which makes it difficult for them to see the uses and benefits of BIM in building and infrastructure projects.

In fact, where BIM has been used on projects it has been identified that BIM actually makes the task of delivering a successful project by the project manager easier and more effective. Once the BIM Brief is established and accepted as part of the project team’s scope of services then the BIM Execution Plan will set up the BIM Process of delivery and compliance auditing.

With BIM, being able to see the project in 3D and show this to the client and stakeholders makes it easier to understand and see the consequences of any project decision. Therefore BIM provides the benefits of better communication and quality control for project managers. The communication benefit allows the project manager to communicate with stakeholders more effectively, which is important for confirming a better understanding regarding goals of the project.

Using the technology of BIM, the project manager can see the progress in the development of the 3D model during the entire design phase, which gives the project manager a much better basis for assessing the progress in the design program and cost planning.

Even though the benefits of BIM do not apply directly to the project manager, if the project is undertaken more effectively and efficiently the project manager positively benefits by delivering a successful project.

With regard to the overall project manager’s role in a BIM project delivery; this should essentially remain the same in BIM projects as in traditional project delivery. However, the project manager will need to learn some new skills and terminology related to working with BIM as well as becoming familiar with the different delivery processes involved with BIM.

Starting with the need to develop the all important BIM Brief, the project manager will need to at least have a basic understanding of the following to be able to effectively manage the use of BIM on their projects:

  • BIM goals and uses
  • BIM team structure, roles and responsibilities
  • Process flows for BIM activities
  • Information and data exchanges and management
  • Project infrastructure to support the BIM implementation
  • Legal and contract language as related to BIM
  • Delivering BIM for asset management
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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