BIM Anatomy - An Investigation into Implementation Prerequisites

University dissertation from Lund University Faculty of Engineering, Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This thesis presents the results of an investigation into BIM implementation prerequisites emerging as a set of procedural supporting mechanisms that may enable design, construction and operating (DCO) organisations to advance their deployment of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology, and improve construction project outcomes. Today, BIM is centre-stage within the construction sector the world-over. It is seen as a means to overcome those age-old difficulties in communications and information management that have plagued the industry for centuries. Where other industries have succeeded in leveraging significant benefits from IT solutions, the construction industry has struggled to achieve similar productivity gains for practical and methodological reasons. The utilisation of BIM has become a strategic area of development that may enable organisations to create new business opportunities and more efficient methods of creating, coordinating and sharing facility information through design, construction and operating phases. Whilst BIM has shown promise elsewhere, in Sweden difficulties in moving forward are arising in part as a result of a lack of national guidelines and consistent approach. Here it is conjectured that development in prerequisite standards, information delivery specifications and collaboration support may offer the conditions necessary for success. This work aims to develop methods and processes that support organisations in their use of BIM technologies with the purpose of solving collaboration issues and information exchange obstacles. It is focused primarily on requirements through design phases with close cognisance to the downstream use of construction data. A number of case projects are employed together with industry interviews and workshops to enable theories to be tested that focus on information exchange requirements and unravelling collaboration hindrances. The research method entailed working directly with practitioners to identify and analyse barriers to the routine use of BIM in practice. The underlying hypothesis is that methodical deployment of BIM can provide answers to a myriad of organisational and information management problems affecting the industry today provided the appropriate mechanisms exist to support users. The thesis reports on the necessary standards, information deliveries and the collaboration processed necessary for successful BIM implementation through a rigorous piece of research, integrated case studies, experiments and observations over an intense period of investigation. Based on case materials, theory and literature review, a comprehensive set of process-based BIM procedures emerge as a system of support measures that can be deployed on a project basis. Intended to draw teams together to do the best for the project, the support mechanisms may enable teams to leverage their expertise, tools, and the data they create more effectively thus adding value to the project. Standardisation of BIM working practices, processes and methodologies can be seen as a key issue for the industry, not least for those involved in the early stages when BIM information authoring is at its most intense. With so many processes and people involved over time from concept to maintenance, to reach a steady-state of information order may be impossible. However what is possible is to ensure a number of key procedures are in place to both optimise organisation and stewardship of information that is critical throughout a facilities life cycle.