Dear TeamCAD website visitors,
We continue to cover interesting topics related to the BIM workflow. As I announced in my previous article, “Data Management In The Digital Twin Of The Building“, in this article, I am going to cover a topic about BIM Execution Plan – BEP.
I think it would be very useful to define the terms at the very beginning of this article that I will use extensively throughout this article.
What is BEP
BIM Execution Plan – BEP is the default and necessary document of every BIM project in the construction industry. The role of BEP is to define various aspects of the BIM project process implementation, in addition to the contract between the designer, contractor and investor. Since BEP does not yet have the power of a contract, it is usually attached as an addendum to the contract between the designer, contractor and investor, thus introducing an orderly and predefined relationship between participants in the BIM project process.
At the very beginning of the article, it is important to note that BEP development is entrusted to the BIM manager on the project, which is, in most cases, employed or hired by the investor himself. It is important to note that no clear recommendation or law is governing the obligations of participants in the BIM project process, regarding obligations on the responsibility of BEP design, but it seems most logical that BEP design falls into the domain of investors for the following reasons:
- the investor finances the entire project process, including the preparation of project documentation at all project stages, then the construction itself and finally the development of a BIM as built model, which the investor will use as a digital twin to calculate the operating life cycle costs of the facility and the equipment built into it;
- By designing a BEP, the investor clearly and unambiguously sets the required BIM standards to be applied by the designer and contractor, which will best fit into the formats and workflows of the investor;
- By designing BEP, the investor ensures the consistency of modeling, convention of naming objects or parameters in BIM model disciplines to establish a process of automation of data generation;
- By designing BEP, the investor ensures consistency of BIM data generation and BIM modeling, which at the end of the design process will allow the investor to efficiently reach the digital twin of the facility and the equipment built into it.
A characteristic BEP usually contains the following typical BIM project management chapters:
- Project management;
- Format for delivery and exchange of BIM documentation;
- Technical details of the BIM project;
- BIM multidisciplinary collaboration;
- LOD – level of development of BIM elements
- CDE – a common data environment;
Below, we are going to look at each typical BEP chapter individually by giving a detailed explanation of their purpose as well as their content.
The purpose of the BEP chapter on project management is to define the scope of implementation of BIM technologies, for all participants and disciplines in the BIM project process. This chapter also assigns investor requirements and roles to teams and disciplines in the BIM project process and key dates for the start, completion and delivery of BIM project documentation. Also, the project management chapter defines the process of approval of BIM project documentation by investors.
Format For Delivery And Exchange Of BIM Documentation
The BEP chapter on the BIM documentation delivery format is intended to define in the BIM project process all aspects necessary for the successful and optimized functioning of the entire project team in all disciplines in the project. In this chapter of BEP, the most commonly defined are units that will be used during all project phases. Then, the BIM model formats (.rvt, IFC, nwd, xlms, etc.) are defined to be exchanged between disciplines during the project process and later, BIM model formats to be delivered to the investor. Other BIM project documentation formats such as data formats (.xlsx, db, odbc, etc.) and various reports and specifications (.doc, xlsx, pdf, bcf, etc.) are also defined.
Technical Details Of The BIM Project
The chapter on the technical details of a BIM project aims to standardize and classify data, to regulate how it is generated and delivered at the end of each project phase or the end of the BIM project process. It is common for this chapter to include “BIM modeling convention “, which defines naming conventions for BIM elements to achieve BIM design process automation and the ability to update and monitor all BIM data parameters after handing over a BIM digital twin model to an investor at the end of the BIM design process. In addition to the aforementioned parts of the chapter on technical details of the project, in this chapter, it is also desirable to define the geographical data of the building that is the subject of the project design. Then, it is useful to define the software that will be used in the BIM project process. Last but not least, In the chapter on technical details of the BIM project process, it is common to see a detailed description of the output standard related to graphic documentation and data from the BIM model of all disciplines participating in the BIM project process.
BIM Multidisciplinary Collaboration
I believe that the goal of the investor is to get a fully coordinated project at the end of the BIM project process without collision between different disciplines in the project. In reality, that implies that the investor is going to get a fully coordinated multidisciplinary BIM model at the “as built project” stage done by the contractor. This BIM model means the BIM model of each discipline in the project process, which is combined into a multidisciplinary BIM model and where all BIM discipline models are fully coordinated ie. have the status of “zero clash BIM multidisciplinary model“.
This kind of makes perfect sense, given that the building and the equipment built into it are completely collision-free, so it is quite expected that the BIM model will be a perfect digital replica, ie. a digital twin of the building. I have written three articles on the topic of digital twins and their purpose, which detail the purpose and methodology of their creation – “What Are The Digital Twins?“, “Digital Twins In The Construction Industry“, “Data Management In The Digital Twin Of The Building“.
However, it should be borne in mind that during the BIM project process, starting from the conceptual design, at the end of each project phase (except the as built project), the BIM multidisciplinary model does not imply a multidisciplinary BIM model without collision between different disciplines in the project. The process of moving from coarse BIM discipline models to a fully coordinated multidisciplinary BIM model is achieved by BIM virtual coordination meetings (VDRs ), where a visual review of the BIM discipline model is performed and a collision detection test is performed. It is expected that as project phases progress, there is going to be fewer collisions, but it is unrealistic to expect a BIM multidisciplinary model without collisions between different disciplines until the as built project, because many collisions can be solved on the construction site, while on the other hand there is no sense in solving some of the collisions in the early stages of the project due to the investor costs, as long as those collisions do not significantly compromise the coherence of the project of different disciplines.
It would be best if the whole process of BIM virtual coordination meetings (VDRs) is managed by a BIM Manager or a BIM Consultant on a project, either employed or hired by the investor. The process from coarse BIM models to a fully coordinated multidisciplinary BIM model can save a lot of money for an investor if it is managed by an experienced BIM Manager or BIM Consultant. The frequency of BIM virtual coordination meetings cannot generally be defined, but it is common for BIM virtual coordination meetings to be held once a week or once every two weeks. It is desirable for the BIM Manager or BIM Consultant to keep a record during the BIM virtual coordination meeting and, after the meeting, to report on the progress of the BIM discipline models and project coordination ie. coordinate the BIM disciplines with each other and submit that report to the investor.
At the very end of the chapter on BIM multidisciplinary collaboration, we should mention that there are LOD (Level Of Development) Engagement Protocols, which in some countries respect the predefined format of BIM parts, during the various project phases. However, most commonly, the level of development of the BIM elements in the project process is related to the different project phases and is usually attached as an integral part of the BEP. The level of development of BIM elements is going to be discussed in the next chapter.
LOD – Level Of Development Of BIM Elements
This chapter defines the level of development of BIM elements according to the project phase in which the project teams of each discipline in the BIM project process are. In this BEP chapter, the investor defines the levels of development of BIM elements during all stages of the design process and places them before the designer and contractor, not only in terms of the graphic requirements of the BIM model but also in terms of the data that the BIM elements contain.
The consistency of the level of development of the BIM elements and the project phases is a very broad topic, of which I am going to give much more detail in my next article, and therefore I ask the readers for some patience on this subject.
CDE – A Common Data Environment
The last typical BEP chapter, as its name clearly suggests, defines the environment where the BIM project will be done. This means in practice that this chapter defines how to exchange models of different disciplines in the BIM project process, then the frequency of BIM model exchange, the server where the BIM models and the data related to them will be uploaded, etc. The traditional way of exchanging BIM models, data from the BIM models and generally the complete project process does not give the investor the ability to check the progress of the BIM project process at any time during the project process. However, this can be compensated by an investor hiring a BIM Manager or BIM Consultant.
Therefore, it is very useful for all participants in the BIM project process – including designers of different disciplines, contractor and investor – to work in a cloud-based project environment where there is no upload of updated BIM discipline models. In a cloud-based project environment, BIM discipline models remain virtually in the cloud all the time and are updated in real-time, and BIM models can be considered “alive”. This means that every change in the BIM model made by the participants in the project is reflected in the BIM model of discipline in the cloud. This provides maximum transparency to all participants in the BIM project process and helps to identify multidisciplinary problems in the project process faster and to solve them in the early project stages.
It is not my intention to give a final judgment or impose my own opinion, but after really many projects in different cloud common project environments, my opinion is that the BIM 360 provides the best opportunities for permanent coordination between different BIM discipline models in the BIM project process, because all changes are visible after the data in the BIM discipline model is synchronized. Such a BIM workflow enables the investor or his BIM Consultant to constantly monitor the progress of the project and the level of compatibility of the BIM model disciplines at any point in the project process.
At the very end of the article, I would like to make a summary of everything I have outlined in the article.
BEP is a necessary document for the successful implementation of BIM technology on a project where the investor places a BIM claim on the project participants. It is logical that BEP development is the responsibility of the investor, as he pays for all project life cycle costs – from the conceptual design to the as built project. Depending on the experience of the BIM Manager or BIM Consultant hired by the investor to design the BEP and oversee the implementation of the requirements contained in the BEP, the investor himself can make significant savings at all stages of the project process. In the end, it is possible to have a BIM as built model with installations – a future digital twin of the facility, which he can hand over or sell to a future facility user to track the life cycle cost of the facility and the equipment built into it. If an investor is also a future user of a facility, creating a BEP by the investor, by hiring a BIM Manager or BIM Consultant and overseeing the implementation of the requirements contained in it, seems like the only logical option.
I would like to conclude with an article on “What Is BEP And What Should It Contain?” and my view of how it can help an investor in many areas by optimizing costs and achieving better functionality, both for facilities that are not made or built and for facilities that are built. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce to you my next article “What Is LOD – The Level Of Development Of BIM Elements”.
If you have any questions, comments or want to know more details about the topic I covered under “What Is BEP And What Should It Contain?”, please contact TeamCAD, who will be happy to provide you with additional information.
Also, if you need any help with BEP development or BIM consulting services to optimize the BIM project process, TeamCAD will be happy to support you.
Until next time,