Integrated information sharing

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The use of new information and communication technology in building leads to major changes in the way in which buildings are designed and built. Project partners (clients, architects, consultants, contractors) work together via electronic communication platforms (project websites), where all the project information is saved and managed centrally. 3D modelling packages allow for efficient and consistent drawings, lists and specifications of building projects. The advanced software allows for a lot of non-geometrical information to be added to a model and ‘enrich’ it to make it a BIM.

BIM Modeling

A BIM can be defined as a digital model of the building, in which all relevant information regarding functional and physical characteristics is saved, managed and accessed. The BIM is shared by multiple stakeholders in the building process. The core of a BIM is a 3D building model that consists of multiple 3D aspect models per discipline. All parties involved work via the BIM with the same information, which is continually available and always up to date. The information in a BIM is the starting point for (and is supportive to) activities and decision making throughout the lifecycle of the building. For example, a BIM can be used to visualise the design in three dimensions, and to simulate and analyse the “behaviour” of the future building. Connecting the 3D model to a plan can allow the implementation process to be simulated. The potential possibilities are wide-ranging and the impact on collaboration in the building process extensive.

The information flow that is required to collaborate efficiently is dependent on the contract. The diagrams that are added to the protocol clearly show that a traditional contract allows for less information sharing than that offered by an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) organisation model.

Collaborating efficiently

The book “BIG BIM little bim - The practical approach to Building Information Modelling - Integrated practice done the right way!” by Finith Jernigan, addresses different techniques and tools that can help the team to collaborate efficiently. These tools are elaborated on in the BouwQuest-Spekkink IPDP guide in such a way that they can be used practically:

  • Enrich the BIM models per phase and reuse the rich information in each phase of the project (in other words: input as much information once and reuse it, rather than re-inputting the same information for each phase or rebuilding the model);
  • Keep the project information up to date and available in the different phases of the process (initiation, design, planning, quoting/procurement, implementation and exploitation);
  • Provide analysis instruments in order to provide timely insight into ‘clashes’ between elements such as supporting beams and air ducting, the manufacturability of the building, the construction costs, the energy consumption, the indoor climate, etc.;
  • Such analyses can help the project team to make well-founded decisions about material use, energy and installation concepts, sustainability, etc. They can also help to prevent alignment problems during implementation.
  • Use open communication platforms such as central Document Management Systems (DMS) and/or project websites, where team members can share project information in a structured way and that offer additional functionality for supporting the team process.

The protocol that aligns the information structure in advance can be found in the Appendix.

Implementation of BIM for the whole project (BIG BIM) requires those involved in the project to take a different attitude than that taken in the traditional process. In “BIG BIM little bim” Jernigan formulates seven “rules” for this:

  1. Be self-aware and know your own work.
  2. Do not linger too long when faced with a failure or a faulty process.
  3. Involve others sooner in the process, focus on collaboration.
  4. Increase the knowledge and productivity at the beginning of the project.
  5. Adapt the fee to the changed procedure.
  6. Manage the responsibilities and risks.
  7. Improve quality and productivity.

This is also an iterative process where the risks are reduced every time people work together in a subsequent project. There are already many companies that have formed alliances with other companies following this principle.