VDC for Design Phase Management & Preconstruction

BIM Forum

This past week BIMForum held its fall event with a focus on “Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) for Design Phase Management & Preconstruction”. With more than 500 leaders from the architectural, engineering, construction and building owner community in attendance, the conference had two dominant themes. First, the discussion centered whether or not design phase management has impacted pre-construction workflows. Additionally, the group discussed the role of printed drawings and if they’ve been fully replaced by new mediums for communication. The discussion was enriched by presentations seeking to better understand our BIM-enabled processes and how to make them more repeatable.

BIM – Building Information Management before Modeling

A reoccurring conversation throughout BIMForum was managing the importance and process for setting-up model-based deliverables and expectations from the outset of a project, which is an exciting topic that we’re currently engaged with at CannonDesign in our Digital Practice Group. Not only did presenters discuss how to plan the execution of the project within a well evolved BIM-enabled process, but there were many fresh ideas about benchmarking the use of BIM and having a “BIM scorecard” to track the team’s use of technology and collaborative capabilities while engaging in good BIM behaviors. Tracking one’s BIM maturity and how BIM has made a project better was realized by presenters that discussed their development of BIM Utilization Effectiveness (BUE) and Quantitative BIM Value Analysis tools that have helped project teams drive future innovation while defining processes that can be reused by future teams. The idea validation proved to be a key for a successful BIM-based process creating consistent quality outcomes.

Optimizing Project Decision Making

Furthering the execution of these BIM/VDC management strategies, the conference also explored how to manage and engage in the increasingly transparent and iterative model-based design process. While the benefits of BIM in construction are understood, presenters positioned the conversation around how those opportunities are moving forward into the early design process. The need for model sharing to be an industry standard came up many times as people realized such open sharing and collaboration is the only way to make the most informed decisions possible.

Speakers also explored how BIM is allowing design and construction professionals to spend more time with data analysis and less time preforming data quantification. There was important discussion around validating the constructability of the design intent models and making sure the outcome is “well coordinated.” At CannonDesign this would be our Clash Prevention BIM Use Case. This comment was extremely accurate and presented a needed contrast to the idea of being “clash-free” which is not achievable in the design intent phase of a model’s lifecycle based upon the level of development of model elements at this time.

The conference also included looks to the future of design and construction with virtual and augmented environment becoming part of the process to drive costs savings as well as validate the predictability of design outcomes. All of these early design strategies and focus on “building to the model” (not paper) are leading to better decision making and lower overall risk.

What’s next for the BIMForum?

While the wide range of speakers and presentations did a great job of exploring the conference themes and more, the BIMForum also had three big announcements about the next steps for the group:

The Spring BIMForum will be held April 19-21, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN.

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