BIMForum 2018 Talks LEAN, Process, Quality, Contracts and Project Delivery

  • October 4, 2018
  • Author: Brian Skripac

The 2018 BIMForum conference spent two days covering numerous topics the industry is focused on advancing learning around. This year our call for proposals was left open-ended so we received a pulse on what the AEC industry wanted to discuss and LEAN, process, productivity, quality, coordination, contracts, and project delivery all rose to the top of the conversation. These were all topics Barbara Jackson form the University of Denver summarizes in her keynote address titled “Delivering the Future.” Barbara challenged the attendees to identify opportunities to create the most value, which are found at the edge of disruption. Here at the intersection of the old and new is where the most complex problems, with the fewest solutions, are found. She also went on to describe the following key disruptive factors for our industry:

  • High segmentation, fragmentation (we’re too siloed)
  • Low productivity gain (1% during last 20 years)
  • Low adoption of digital technologies
  • High level of waste
  • Culture

With Barbara setting the stage, many of the BIMForum presenters took a deeper dive into identifying where the excess, redundancy and wasted resources are in their firms and projects while highlighting how we can all drive new business platforms help to eliminate these layers, which was the focus of the process track sessions I helped organize and moderate.

One presentation titled LEANing Coordination demonstrated the opportunity to apply lean principles and practices to the clash prevention/detection process. Identifying waste areas like unorganized clash reports, gathering information at the wrong times, defining the level of development needed and “who moves construction elements and systems when,” can be key steps in optimizing the process. The team from Rodgers Builders also shared their coordination pyramid, which drives this LEAN coordination process providing benefits such as; prioritized trade scopes, defined order for model population, avoiding rework in the BIM, schedule ownership from trades and increased efficiency – time/cost.

Another further example of leveraging LEAN in the design and construction process was the Modular + Virtual Design + Construction (VDC)  presentation by Tocci Building Corporation. The team demonstrated its approach/strategy/perspective on VDC, which was probably one of my favorite slides of the conference:

  • Starting VDC during the design phase is non-negotiable
  • VDC = risk management + construction management
  • VDC allows for comprehensive project ownership
  • VDC professionals continue to step into roles of larger project responsibility

Moving beyond Tocci’s strategic approach to VDC, the team also demonstrated the value of this process in how they installed more than 780 square feet of modular construction every 30 minutes for a 125 unit residential project in Boston.

Another key topic at BIMForum was the continued evolution of Level of Development (LOD) and the emergence of Level of Accuracy (LOA). As defined by the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD), Level of Accuracy (LOA) enables professionals to specify and articulate, with a high level of clarity, the accuracy and means by which to represent and document existing conditions. To further explore this topic, the USIBD leadership collaborated with our LOD committee to provide insight into why these two concepts are important, as we understand the model can be perfect, but the building is not. More importantly, how do these standards work together to specify the requirements of an existing building conditions model. This also plays an important role clarifying LOD defines what will be done and what we think was done as compared to LOA which covers what has been done.

The last major component of the larger project delivery process track at BIMForum was exploring some of the contractual and procedural hurdles with BIM/VDC. Thinking about contract models, and what our final deliverables actually are, was the focus of the “Illegal BIM” presentation by Benjamin Crosby of Yates Construction. Making sure that our contracts outline what is reliable and is being handed over were two key components. While these are still challenges for the industry, it is critical that our contracts clearly define these outcomes and begin to think about how we redefine our process and final deliverables to respond to this cultural shift in project delivery and move from producing drawings to delivering models.

In closing, the presenter provided some consideration for the audience to use when “contracting wisely” such as; not changing the Spearin Doctrine, what design models are reliable, intended use of design and trade models, copyright and intellectual property as well as owner use of models.

As usual, the BIMForum conference provided insight to the future direction of the design and construction industry while outlining areas of innovation in our project delivery processes and workflows. I’m excited to share I will be the chair for the 2019 BIMForum event, so any ideas for what you would be interested in hearing more about, please feel free to let me know as I’m starting to develop the call for proposals.

IFMA Talks BIM for FM and What Owners Need

  • March 26, 2018
  • Author: Brian Skripac

On March 19th the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) hosted a BIM Pre-Conference Event at their annual Facility Fusion event in Chicago. This was the fourth annual conference specifically designed to address BIM for owners, facility managers, and service providers with a theme of providing Practical & Effective BIM for Facilities Management (FM) and beyond FM. Speakers shared key insights into the reality of BIM and related technologies, workflows, legalities and case studies reflecting the current state of BIM.

The conference began with an overview of a recent IFMA survey to better understand how facility mangers are taking advantage of digital data. The survey’s initial findings revealed only 32% of facility managers are using CAFM or CMMS applications and most are simply using AutoCAD and Excel as their way to manage digital data. While there is an appetite for BIM in FM, adoption continues to be slow. With most current BIM activity relating to new construction, it is our current existing building stock that represents one the biggest challenges in the implementation of BIM for FM. This coupled with the fact that most facility managers are currently manually updating their facility information, making it difficult to keep digital data current and thus the forward thinking use of BIM for FM is strained due to capabilities of current staff.

Even though we realize these are existing challenges, the group also shared strategic ideas to help facility mangers better understand how to move forward with BIM for FM. Many of these conversations revolved around the idea that implementing BIM for FM should not be a technology conversation, but instead a discussion focused onprocess. One speaker quoted Barbara White Bryson’s book The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry.  During the book, Barbara shares that ‘ours is the only trillion dollar industry in the history of the world in which misguided owner’s demand processes that increase cost and reduce quality.” She also provides the perspective that “BIM is the perfect complement to collaborative teams, especially ones that care about the fluidity of information sharing and the coordination rather than the sanctity of drawings.”

Both of these quotes very clearly outline the need for owners to better understand the BIM handover process so they can fully leverage BIM in operation throughout the lifecycle. To accomplish this, many speakers challenged facility managers to identify and articulate their goals for what they want as a project deliverable, not the process or tools to get there. This idea of being descriptive and not prescriptive is the exact approach our VDC team took in working with the Ohio State University on their BIM Project Delivery Standard and was shared by one speaker when highlighting the quality of this standard and the 7.1% potential cost avoidance opportunity through its ongoing implementation.

The development of these guidelines is essential to setting up the “fluidity of information sharing” that was discussed earlier. In addition, this gives the facility manager the opportunity to define a meaningful data capture strategy that can and should start in design and construction phases (not at handover) so it can more immediately taken advantage.

One final recommendation for facility managers stemming from the conference was to watch out for misunderstandings with data requirements, especially when dealing with the idea of the Construction Operation Building Information Exchange (COBie) as a deliverable, where the old adage of just because you can doesn’t mean you should comes in to play. It was echoed by multiple presenters that COBie is a schema and its intended use is a simple one-time data load, nothing more. A value point of interest is to start small with the information you need, then grow from there. Expanding beyond just COBie, facility managers always need to keep in mind that best intentions can also cause confusion if the specifics are not clearly defined. The last thing you want to require are blanket statement like a full COBie, LOD 500 model or UK BIM Level 2 deliverables without a specific understanding or use case for the information, because those best intentions can turn into the truth of BIM…a specific ambiguity, which only drives confusion.

It was an important and engaging discussion and I appreciate IFMA continuing to offer a platform through which it can take place. Advancing our collective understanding of the BIM for FM will only strengthen our built environment into the future.

AIA Project Delivery Symposium: Delivering the Future

  • March 15, 2018
  • Author: Brian Skripac

On Tuesday, March 6 the AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community held its 2018 Symposium titled Delivering the Future at the AIA Headquarters in Washington D.C. The event provided an interesting overview of how project delivery methods have evolved to their current state and how we need to continuously improve and evolve them into the future. This need for innovation and disruption came through clearly during the opening keynote when Barbara Jackson, Director of the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver, told the group “the sweet spot for disruption is where the most complex problems and fewest solutions intersect.” This was a great message to set the stage for a diverse group of perspectives on project delivery, which came across through the following panels discussion topics

  • Project Delivery Strategies
  • Owners Panel: Public & Private
  • Trade Contractors and the Architects
  • Modeling and Research Panel

As the opening keynote continued, Barbara Jackson raised awareness to the external perceptions that the construction industry is low tech, archaic, using outdated business models, wasteful and has a low level of productivity which was clearly illustrated throughout the day in multiple charts/graphics from the recent McKinsey Global Institute’s recent report, as illustrated in the value-added graphic below.

Barbara also talked about looking for a “challenge driven approach” that is proactive and not reactive. She encouraged everyone attending to instigate solution finding for the challenges existing all around us. We should also look beyond just buildings for an innovative ecosystem and look at project financing, insurance and risk management as well and regulation, zoning and permitting opportunities.

Another common theme that permeated the event was the idea of how culture can define delivery models and the industry’s need to prioritize relational organizations more than transactional.  Our industry also needs to evolve from the idea of collaborating (agreeing to work together) to integrating (agreeing to work together as a team to achieve a common goal). That common goal is also one that should be defined by the client, not just the architects or contractor. We need to accept and best understand our clients are also looking for collaborative teams to bridge the gap in the differences within the standard of care between the architect and builder.

While many of these complex challenges exist across the industry, it’s exciting to be part of the integrated services team at CannonDesign that is emerging to provide these types of collaborative solutions for our clients. Taking advantage of just Lean, Integrated Project Delivery, co-location, BIM or anything else will not provide the full or best solution. Instead, we require a strategic approach with a repeatable process to best grow as design firms, innovate, and provide these types of project delivery solutions for our clients. We should be advocating for qualifications-based and/or best-value selection processes like those found in Progressive Design-Build and also looking to engage Design-Assist partners to drive opportunities for schedule alignment and cost control measures as integrated pieces of the design process.

These efforts will also catalyze greater prefabrication and modularization opportunities driving positive outcomes to accelerate delivery, provide design certainty, improve quality and enhance safety. This facet of the industry is an ideal scenario where the “most complex problems and fewest solutions exist” per Barbara Jackson’s earlier comments. It also where CannonDesign’s Integrated Modular Design (IMD) team is looking to disrupt the industry as a positive change agent for design and construction with our national alliance of partners and thought leaders focused on advancing project delivery.

At the end of the AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community event, Phil Bernstein form the Yale School of Architecture provided the chart below, which was an interesting perspective on how our industry should transform its perspective on risk from one of mitigation to management and embracing it as a driver for additional value resonated.

This risk vs. value diagram mirrors how CannonDesign’s Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) initiative is achieving predictable outcomes by driving a process for a new standard of care in the development of reliable multi-disciplinary model-based deliverables supporting the Design-Construct-Operate continuum at CannonDesign driving bottom line cost savings which also enables the implementation from greater service line integration and Progressive DesignBuild strategies to achieve these outcomes. Phil also left us with his David Letterman style top ten key takeaways from the 2018 Project Delivery Symposium, which provided and excellent summary of what was a great event:

  • Construction may finally be entering an age of innovation.
  • Design and construction are integrating in various ways but culture is still a problem.
  • Technology is opportunistic, but not deterministic.
  • More collaboration and cooperation is better than less.
  • No single delivery model fits all, and we need to be smarter in choosing them…
  • …but delivery models are constantly evolving, so try to keep up.
  • Design is about iteration, construction is about optimization. Can they co-habitate?
  • We need more data on actual results (help us GSA!).
  • Outcomes are more valuable that commodities, but AEC is primarily transactional.

New methodologies need to be more socialized across the industry.

All in all, it was an interesting, inspiring and important event that will should help us advance project delivery as an industry in the year ahead.

The Ohio State University Releases Version 3 of its BIM Project Delivery Standard

  • January 19, 2018
  • Author: Brian Skripac

Our Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) project team is excited to share it has kicked off 2018 by collaborating with our client team at The Ohio State University (OSU) to release Version 3 of their BIM Project Delivery Standard (PDS). The standard is available for review on the university’s website: – under Design Guidelines, Specifications, Standards).

While looking to embrace an environment of continuous improvement, our team has focused efforts of this release on the lessons learned and project adjustments that have stemmed from the wide range of current projects using the standard, while placing a strong emphasis on the turnover data process. To help this effort, V3 includes the initial release of the OSU BIM PDS Tools including instruction and configuration files for the Revit Model Checker and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) Exporter tool to automate the setup, export, and validation process.

Merging what needs to be modeled, with what will actually be used and maintained for planning and operations, has provided an optimized outcome in V3 for what will have the best return on investment for the university. While the identification of a COBie worksheet has always been part of the BIM PDS, V3 refines the facility information matrix to specifically outline when and how parameters will be included in either the COBie or asset worksheet. Leveraging the COBie extension tools we’ve been able to predefine the specific property, building, floor, room, and asset parameter mappings, while automating the process of integrating this information so it can efficiently be shared with the university to take advantage of during the operate phase of the building lifecycle.

While the evolution and development of an owner-specific BIM PDS has been an exciting project to work on, the VDC team at CannonDesign looks to further explore how these different project delivery methods can further bring value to more of our clients across the world.

Read this whitepaper for more on our BIM efforts with The Ohio State University >

3 Key Takeaways from the Fall BIMForum

  • November 21, 2017
  • Author: Brian Skripac

It was a great experience to attend this year’s Fall BIMForum which was co-located with the AGC’s BuildCon conference in Dallas, TX and focused on “Professional Coordination: Exploring the New Standard” – a theme that allowed unique perspectives to be shared throughout the event.

Under this thematic focus, the conference examined the changing standard of care for designers, builders and owners. It also dedicated extensive discussion to model-based coordination, a topic that has always been important and relevant, but the industry is dedicating more focus to it with increased understanding that constructability issues can almost always be resolved more cost-efficiently in the virtual world rather than on the job site. Exploring best practices in professional coordination, many presenters focused on the people and processes while sharing the importance of establishing a collaborative environment and organized coordination process. As one presenter stated, it is critical to implement an effective model-based coordination review strategy, which evolved to avoiding an emphasis on clashes (software detection overlaps) but aiming to resolve conflicts (an issue in design or construction).

Beyond model-based coordination, the Fall BIMForum also dedicated focus to prefabrication, level of development (LOD) and design assist across numerous sessions and presentations. Here’s a look at how BIMForum advanced discussion on these important topics.

One of the first presentations explored how prefabrication is changing the face of engineering and construction from strategic, operation and tactical levels. Sharing the findings in the 2017 FMI/BIMForum Prefabrication Survey, the presenters focused on how the biggest barrier to change and transformation as it relates to prefabrication is not technology, but actually people, culture and understanding how a firm’s prefabrication strategy fits within its overall strategy of delivering a project.

Level of Development
During the conference, our LOD Committee announced the formal release of the 2017 version of the BIMForum LOD Specification In additions to new sections including, but not limited to, georeferenced models, grids, levels, rooms, concrete formwork, this 2017 LOD Specification focused on copyright issues and clarifying the use of the specification. This is significant due to the far-reaching adoption of this document around the world. Being able to provide the proper attribution and inability to alter the document will enable the AECO community to have a higher level of consistency and understanding in the use of the LOD definitions, which will drive value for the industry.

In addition to the continued development of the LOD Specification, the BIMForum elaborated on the work of two other initiatives, the BIM Execution Planning Guide and Coordination Guide, which will be released in the near future. To help further these initiatives, click here to take the BIMForum / Pankow Foundation – BIM Execution Planning (BxP) Guide Survey 2017.

Design Assist
While time was spent covering the evolving efforts of the BIMForum to provide industry leading perspectives on LOD, BIM Execution Planning and Coordination Guides, one presentation was able the highlight the value of all of these documents being applied in unity on the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Erleen Hatfield shared how the use of LOD was critical to creating a clear understanding of how the BIM could be utilized during the handoff from design coordination to construction, which further enabled the ability for the team to leverage Design Assist in their delivery model. For this, the engineering team’s development of structural framing members to an LOD 300 allowed Erleen to achieve the project expectation of a model being something the contractor could reply on while serving as a deliverable for the project. One of Erleen’s closing statement proved highly impactful…”the team had to go fast, we didn’t have time to do drawings so we relied upon the model, which will someday be the new standard of care.”

This will be the last time we have a Spring and Fall BIMForum as we will change to a longer once-a-year year event cycle. I’m looking forward to planning and attending the next event in Las Vegas next September.


European BIM Summit – The Exciting Evolution of BIM

  • May 30, 2017
  • Author: Brian Skripac

This past week, Christy Cavataio and I had the opportunity to present at the European BIM Summit in Barcelona, Spain. This third installment of the European BIM Summit had France serve as the guest country and drew more than 500 attendees from across the European Union, with an additional 1,200+attending online. The attendees ranged greatly with teams from not only Spain and France but also Lithuania, the UAE, India, UK, US, and Canada, to name a few. The conference highlighted the “latest advances in the management of the information generated during the life cycle of a construction, which has become indispensable to obtain a constructive process aimed at improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of any project, construction work and civil work.”

It’s been extremely interesting to see the evolution of BIM in Barcelona, as I’ve had the opportunity to present at all three iterations of the event. Much like the UK BIM Standard, government agencies from across Catalonia have been engaged in the conversation and conference, which has recently yielded the development of eight key BIM documents highlighting the fact that they are beginning to request BIM in new tenders, providing a top-down leadership to drive adoption with other agencies. This initiative will look to provide a full BIM launch in 2018 that will “merge the brick with the click.”

While Barcelona considers itself the capital of BIM in Spain, they have found their biggest hurdle to be supply and demand, and spreading the word about BIM has taken longer than expected. In addition to the importance of a commitment from government, the team in Barcelona has found it to be equally as important to capture the same level of commitment from both design/construction professionals and the public around the use of BIM. This, combined with the need for more training and more cost effective software, will help to drive the future on BIM in the region. In continuing to move BIM forward in the future, Barcelona has established key milestones every six months, which will include the publishing of a public procurement guide, BIM execution plan, user guides (including sustainability and operations) and interoperability documents. They will also continue to work with the EU BIM Task Group to monitor the implementation of BIM across the European BIM Union while developing an innovation and internationalization plan.

Beyond this continued evolution of BIM in Barcelona, there were key examples of leadership with BIM from across Europe and the globe which included the presentations that both Christy and I provided. Our sessions on LOD and CHUM were both extremely well received and positioned CannonDesign as leaders at a global scale.

Christy’s presentation titled “Strategizing the BIM-enabled Delivery of North America’s Largest Healthcare Project” was part of the “Best Hospitals Case Studies” track and focused on how to successfully execute the award winning, 3.5 million square foot Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) project. Christy explored how the project team was able to develop a robust BIM-enabled project delivery plan that would allow the model to have integrity and value from day one through the ten-year delivery cycle.

My presentation was part of the “Strategy for BIM Standards” track where I had the opportunity to represent the work being done in the United States along with a representative from Spain and France. During my “Strategizing Model Development with the LOD Specification” presentation I had the chance to share how the BIMForum Level of Development (LOD) Specification has become a key industry standard in the United States. In addition, I was able to elaborate on how it is enabling architects, engineers, contractors and owners to specifically describe the evolution of their model elements, an essential component to outlining a successful strategy for their project’s BIM deliverables.

Needless to say, the 2017 European BIM Summit provided some great insight into what Spain, France other countries are doing with BIM while continuing to highlight that the work CannonDesign’s Virtual Design and Construction team are doing are top examples of the work being done across the world.

BIM: What do Owners Want?

  • April 12, 2017
  • Author: Brian Skripac

BIM ForumI recently had the opportunity to moderate the Spring BIMForum conference (Conference Theme: BIM: What do Owners Want?). The conference hosted almost 500 industry leading architecture, engineering, construction and building owner professionals from across the country including two of our clients from The Ohio State University and University of California at San Diego who each had the opportunity to present. The conference provided a continued evolution from past BIMForum events including the Fall 2012 BIMForum which focused on BIM for Facilities Management. While only a very few owners were approaching the BIM for FM discussion at that time, the conversation has dramatically changed in 2017. As my co-moderator stated in our introductory comments, “we’ve come a long way baby.”

Now more than ever, owners are becoming extremely focused on leveraging BIM to deliver their projects. Moving beyond the simple request to state that projects be designed and/or constructed with BIM, owners are creating project delivery specifications and turnover guidelines that are BIM-centric and outline innovative BIM-enabled processes (like the work we’ve done at the Ohio State University) to successfully deliver their work. This evolution was further reiterated in the conference’s opening remarks with comments about “avoiding the BIM hangover” and “making sure we strive to have BIM done right – just requiring it is not enough. Not only did these statements reflect our need to advance BIM in the AECO community, but they also challenge us to continuously improve while generating results that evolve our processes and focus on creating high-performance projects. This is an exciting opportunity to raise the bar for BIM.

While “BIM, in and of itself, is not the end but rather the means to a number of potentially valuable project delivery outcomes for the Owner” it’s important for all project participants to “think inside other people’s boxes” to better understand how our work can provide value and identify project delivery needs from the outset. Here are three examples of how we can grow stronger in this effort.

Define process flow and data needs early

As most owners have multiple systems that share (duplicate) data supporting various tasks, it is critically important we define the process flow and data needs from the outset as the integration of BIM post-occupancy is not about technology, it’s all about the process. Confirming this approach, other presenters at BIMForum spoke about the need to focus on not only what BIM can do, but what value BIM can provide businesses. This idea of “task over technology” allows owners to focus on the delivery of an as-maintained model that can serve as the connective tissue between design-build and facilities management for the lifecycle of the building.

This connective tissue will need to be carefully strategized and defined, as only good geometry and data can generate reliable information to serve as the basis for a useful decision-making process. This is ultimately the basis for the transition of BIM to owners, which comes with the understanding that incomplete or delayed information risks the perceived integrity of the entire system.

The OSU Buckeye BIM Initiative Map


Seek out collaboration

Defining a transition to facility lifecycle management also requires collaboration with industry partners for sharing ideas, risk, goals, successes and failures. We need to be better at acknowledging the business case (it is a business and people must make money to stay in business) and understanding what can be shared and what cannot. Russ Manning of Penn State presented on this idea during the conference and he shared that “making money may not be making money the same way you did in the past. It may be making money by delivering what owners actually need more efficiently.” This was a powerful thought that resonated with the audience. Russ then left everyone with his believe that “owners shouldn’t pay more for BIM, but they should pay differently.

Transform your project deliverables

Renée Tietjen from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shared very actionable ideas regarding the development of our project deliverables the AEC community should embrace. Renée challenged us to collaborate and evolve our project delivery processes to not simply design for bidding, but design for construction. She also commented that the VA is working to establish the Design-Intent BIM as the AEs primary design deliverable, which will take precedent over two-dimensional drawings. In addition, she also shared that the non-editable Federated Design-Intent Model (.NWD or equal format) will be the instrument of the contract used for the construction award. These statements were extremely well received by the audience, including myself, and became a talking point throughout the conference.

While these goals are a huge step forward in the industry and the VA’s leadership is greatly appreciated, we as a design and construction community have to hold up our end of these statements. With owners defining BIM project deliverables, simply turning over a model will not be enough value. The next step evolving BIM for the design and construction industry is to strengthen the quality and integrity of BIM deliverables. While not all BIMs are created equal, they can be a “hot mess” or the “devil in disguise” as Cindy Baldwin of VDCO Tech stated during her presentation. The need to improve, measure and control deliverables are key to any project’s success, and the owner’s lifecycle strategy is an area the AEC community will need to address.

Achieving “BIM done right” and looking to provide reliable information for our clients to support their facility lifecycle management strategy is an exciting next step in the evolution of our industry. These ideas and conversations are well matched with many initiatives and goals within CannonDesign’s Virtual Design & Construction team that will ensure we don’t fall into any “BIM hangover” while enabling us to provide a greater partnership and more value to our clients in the achievement of high-performance projects.

Get the Strategic Insights – Defining a Holistic, Owner-Driven BIM Project Delivery Standard at The Ohio State University >



retooling PRACTICE

  • January 5, 2017
  • Author: Brian Skripac

retooling PRACTICE is the theme of the upcoming AIA Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Building Connections Congress on January 9th at the AIA Headquarters in Washington D.C. For those unfamiliar, TAP is a knowledge community within the AIA focused on expanding knowledge and education on the use of computer technology in the practice of architecture.

A compelling facet to this year’s Congress theme is the exploration of how the “introduction of these new technologies in the practice of architecture has brought about underlying changes in the historical approach to the design, delivery, and operation of buildings that necessitate a critical examination of how we function as professionals.” This topic is of keen interest to me personally as CannonDesign has launched our Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) initiative which positions the evolution our digital practice and transition from the traditional Building Information Model (BIM) management approach to focus specifically on the process orientation of the BIM-enabled VDC delivery process across the firm. I’ll be speaking specifically about this evolution at the Congress, and below is more info about the topic.


In leading this initiative at CannonDesign, our strategy for VDC is about driving a consistent project delivery framework by leveraging past experiences to define best practices in our BIM-enabled processes, workflows and modeling standards. Documenting and sharing these processes across the firm is critical to raising the bar in driving consistency in our deliverables.

This is important because more than ever, our clients are becoming more focused on leveraging BIM to deliver their projects. With this in mind, we need to make sure our project teams are setting the proper expectations about the use of the BIM from the outset by creating a strategic alignment between their expectation and our deliverables. In creating this alignment by outlining the applicable BIM Use Cases, the collaborative project team can then focus on development and documentation of our VDC approach, including the authoring of BIM-related governing and affiliate contract language, a BIM Execution Plan and a Level of Development (LOD) approach to define the expectations and goals for the entire team.


The implementation of this resulting workflow enables an enhanced certainty of outcome, in accordance with the prescribed reliability of our multi-disciplinary BIM deliverables creating a more efficient process and successful project. Our VDC approach is allowing CannonDesign to provide leadership to our clients in multiple ways. From the outset of a project we have the opportunity to share our process during our early strategic alignment phase to raise awareness and educate our clients on the value of a BIM-enabled project approach well beyond the “use BIM” expectation that occurs in many request for proposals.

This conversation not only occurs in the context of improving the overall design and construction process, but also explores how Cannon Construction Services and our Design-Led Construction, single-source and integrated project delivery methodology can achieve accelerated speed to market, optimal cost and enhanced certainty of outcome, while reducing risks for our clients. Additionally, we can explore what information is most critical at turnover and how leveraging BIM post occupancy can reduce our client’s total cost of ownership.

There is a tremendous opportunity to further the BIM-enabled design and construction process through our VDC initiative and we’ll be sharing more experiences in the future.

BIM for Universities: 3 Reasons to Use It

  • April 13, 2016
  • Author: Brian Skripac


BIM Process Map

For the design and construction industry, using Building Information Modeling (BIM) for effective and efficient project delivery is not a new idea. At the same time, the integration of BIM into the day-to-day activities of a building owner is more of a new concept. This is especially true with colleges and universities who are beginning to make BIM a priority on their campus and are embarking on the creation of their own BIM standards to reap the benefits of this industry—transforming technology and process to reduce the total cost of ownership across the lifecycle of the buildings they own and operate.

The Ohio State University (OSU) initially set out to transform their existing campus from a traditional, two dimensional-based infrastructure to an intelligent, three dimensional BIM-based environment with a goal to…

enhance planning and communication resulting in improved quality and speed of decision-making.

Capitalizing on the BIM best practices that are developing across the design and construction world, the university quickly realized the value BIM could bring to their project delivery and operations processes. They are also realizing the benefits of partnering with a firm like CannonDesign as a trusted thought-leader in BIM and project delivery. I will be speaking on a panel on September 23rd at OSU to present the development and use of these standards along with the return on investments that we have experienced along the way with our client.

So, should your college or university adopt a BIM standard?
Here’s 3 reasons why it’s worth considering…

  1. You will realize more cost savings.
    Bottom line, the cost savings is worth the implementation of BIM. BIM-enabled university projects can drive a more efficient and collaborative project delivery process providing positive impacts to project schedules and budgets. Moreover, BIM can be utilized to drive more sustainable project outcomes increasing energy efficiency goals being set by institutional owners that can which generate additional savings. Design can be a useful tool in meeting the overall goals of the university.
  2. Everyone will be speaking the same language.
    By adopting a BIM standard, owners are able to create a BIM-enabled process where the BIM, its use case, and its deliverables can all be developed around a common language. This common language and repeatable process drives value by setting expectations from the outset of the project, ensuring all project team members are collaboratively working towards a common goal.
  3. Building operators and managers will be more empowered.
    Following the project completion and turnover phase, progressive owners can quickly realize the value of this well-structured BIM by automating and expediting the consumption of geometry and data into their facilities management and operations systems. Historically, this has been a time consuming and manual data entry process which the NIST has summarized to have a cost for owners of $0.15 per square foot associated with it.  Not only is there a direct cost savings generated by this interoperability, but the National Institute and Standards quantifies a reoccurring value of $0.23/sf/year throughout the building’s lifecycle through ongoing avoidance, mitigation and delay costs.

If you were to apply this reoccurring cost on a 100,000 sf building across a 30 year lifecycle, an owner could realize a potential cost avoidance of almost $700,000. Of course this is only one build, but for colleges and universities, this cost can exponentially grow across an entire campus.

The formula outlined would be:

$0.23/sf/year * 100,000sf = $23,000/year… $23,000/year * 30 years = $690,000

Get the BIM Strategic Insights paper here >

3 Takeaways from the BIMForum

  • October 27, 2015
  • Author: Brian Skripac

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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