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.