BIM is a team sport

During a recent webinar I suggested that delivering a building project using a true BIM process could be likened to participating in a team sporting event.

If we look at any specific project as the game to be played certain things should be in place before you begin to play.

You need to know the objective of the game, the rules and where the goal lines are.

The objectives for your game are akin to goals and end uses for the BIM. It is only logical that you need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you can go about getting it done. By extension, well defined BIM goals, clearly communicated to the team, are critical to the success of any project. They can range from the ‘low hanging fruit’ (traditional 2D deliverables provided more quickly and with better coordination), to reliable quantities and construction sequencing all the way to full on post construction operations and maintenance functionality for the model.

Establishing rules as early as possible allows you to obtain buy in from all parties involved, assign accountability as the job progresses and monitor and enforce standards and protocols for benefit of the project and the team.
Rules can be broken down in any number of ways but in simple terms you’ll need;
  • Modelling rules – best practices based on the defined end uses for the model. How you want to use the model and associated data will go a long way to determining these best practices
  • Data rules – In order to see maximum benefit and value, BIM data needs to be structured, accessible and reusable across disciplines and throughout the life of the project
  • Behaviour rules – knowing what your role and responsibilities are and how that relate to the needs and rest of the project team
Your goal lines are the critical project milestones along the way that help keep a project on time and moving forward. 

Timelines are important but don’t lose site of the fact that milestones aren’t just about dates and times. Only by providing quality information and timely decisions will you be able to determine the true value of meeting a deadline. 

In order to get the game going you’ll need players and a supporting cast to keep you in the game.

Even if all the players on your team might be considered ‘all-stars’ simply getting a ‘dream team’ assembled is not always enough. Regardless of how much talent and skill you have, without a proper game plan things can go sideways pretty quickly.

Your BIM Project Execution Plan is that game plan. It defines objectives, assigns responsibilities and let’s everyone know what their role entails. To use a football analogy, if you design a running play you won’t gain much yardage unless the quarterback hands the ball off cleanly, the offensive line executes the proper blocking scheme and the running back knows where the hole is going to be. It’s not enough for just one aspect of the play to go off without a hitch. In order for the team to succeed, everyone must do their part.

Just as championship teams need good captains, your BIM team needs to identify those who can lead and inspire.

A great team is only as good as the supporting cast. Without proper coaching and trainers even finely tuned athletes can find they quickly lose their skills and ability to compete at the highest levels. The project lead will act as coach and manager to ensure the project team has the appropriate skillsets to achieve overall project goals and the specific tasks assigned to them. If there are shortcomings they need to be recognized and addressed with proper training and mentoring. When everyone is working on the same model it is more difficult to hide the weaker players or relegate them to lower level tasks. It is a far better strategy, both short and long term, to try to elevate everyone’s game rather than trying to limit the damage they can do.

By its very nature BIM demands a more collaborative and team oriented approach than traditional drawing based delivery processes. What are your keys to winning with BIM? 
  • Know what you are trying to accomplish and where you need to get to.
  • Establish a game plan that defines the rules, assigns responsibility and accountability and establishes timelines and realistic targets to be met
  • Ensure you have the right team in place and give them the best opportunities to succeed

Dimitri Harvalias is a Senior Technical Consultant with Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM technology consulting services and software in Vancouver. You can find Summit on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube

You can view his most recent webinar – What’s the game and who’s playing – here

Dimitri Harvalias


Dimitri is a Senior Technical Consultant and Revit Guru at Summit Technologies. He draws on over 35 years of practical experience in the AEC domain. His education as a building technologist and hands-on experience in all facets of design, construction contract administration and CAD management gives him a unique perspective on the integration of BIM technology solutions to the design and project delivery process.

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