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.

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.