BIMForum - Phoenix



The BIM-train has just left another station!

It seems that we are ready to begin the BIM-journey to a one-model destination… it was just great to hear Christof Spieler (Morris Architects) opening the BIMForum with some particularly encouraging words by first laying out the difference between "BPM" and "BIM" (Building Prettiness Modeling and Building Information Modeling) and then stating that Architects should now be providing "construction ready" models to the GC.


As much as we enjoy hearing the quote “why use one model when five will do” we should hope that with this move for construction caliber models from architects, the days of having separate models for concept planning, visualization, documentation, construction, and fabrication could be numbered… but for that to happen it would require wholesale change in many BIM processes that are yet to even be completely finalized…


Christof’s diagrams below show how poor quality modeling can produce a visually respectable output, albeit an extremely erroneous model for documentation and quantity takeoff (left). With quantities being especially important for the GC, who may be attempting to make use of a ‘design’ model from the architect, this accuracy is imperative (right).

 Image courtesy of Morris Architects


Whilst opposing the question “why do we need yet another model?” from a "BIM fresher" can sometimes be painful to explain, we should know by now that the differences can be quite astounding (for example: concrete columns do not get cast from floor 1 to 23 in one pour!). A complete rebuild is sometimes the fastest and most accurate way to get to a model robust enough for the contract team to use for estimating (5D) and scheduling (4D).

It is increasingly unfortunate when there are multiple models designed for exactly the same purpose. Take for example a project being bid where the owner has requested “BIM” in the RFP - in the current economic climate that could mean 15 initial bidders all producing their own construction quality model (we witnessed this exact occurrence on a recent project in California) …we had heard somewhere that BIM was supposed to reduce rework?  Sadly, in the end, the client always pays for the waste.



Ask yourself how many separate models, for how many purposes, by how many parties do you have in your projects?

Depending on contract engagements, a move to a one-model project can be quite scary from a litigious stance. However, when done correctly with involvement from the top of the food chain (owner-lead), all parties will benefit. If savvy owners want to get the best from BIM they should be jumping at the chance for their architect to get on board with CONSTRUCTION READY MODELS that can be fed to their construction team.


Wouldn’t it be great if owners could employ architects like Christof to produce a construction quality BIM? This could be used for communication, shared with bidders, sliced for documentation, exploited for accurate quantities, virtually split for location-based scheduling, added to by the GC and Subs, kept live throughout the project and handed over as a final deliverable by the collective project team.

Wouldn’t it be even better for owners to have a transparent platform in which the BIM design, GC costs and time data from all bids could be evaluated? Stand up Vico Office.

However the question still remains - to whose specification should this one BIM be built? One logical answer: to everybody’s collective specification via an agreed upon Model Progression Specification (MPS). An MPS allows all parties (Owner, Architect, CM, GC, Subcontractors) to provide their model based requirements per aspect (model, estimate, schedule, LEED, etc) per project stage before "mouse to mouse pad."



As a next step investigate how you could employ an MPS one-model process on your projects.


Here are some resources to get you started:

Webinar: Webcor and the MPS

Webinar: Developing a Content Plan

Blog: Will One Model Do - or - Shall We PolyModel-Doodle All the Day?

Blog: 200 Models?! - I Rest My Case!

Paper: Why Construction-Caliber Quantities Matter


At the meeting in Phoenix we also enjoyed hearing our own customers speak to their successes with 4D and 5D BIM:


Frank Haase from Webcor Builders described their Virtual Building Process showing how each element in the building is connected to the cost and time data. He complemented this by displaying how the tightly integrated BIM driven cost plan can be shared and explored live with Vico.


Claire Stein from McCarthy Building Company provided insight on an OSHPD project in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She explained that schedule compression is the first and foremost goal of an OSHPD project.  Why?  Patient care and hospital readiness need to be 100% as a matter of public safety.  But building these complex projects is anything but speedy.  MEP coordination and in-wall coordination efforts are critical backbones for hospital operations and this takes time.  The seismic requirements have a stringent inspection process that can shut down a site indefinitely if not adhered to.


As lead of the virtual construction efforts, Ms Stein illustrated how 3D/4D/5D BIM practices are being utilized for look-ahead schedules, subcontractor productivity rates, resource allocation, and cash flow.  Granted, ground has not been broken yet, but already the Preconstruction efforts have helped the team to gain confidence in meeting a target schedule of 9 months earlier than the contract completion date. 


Bill Klorman, the President and CEO of Klorman Construction in California, also spoke to the benefits of virtual design and construction (VD&C).  Mr. Klorman explained that BIM allows for the pre-building of the entire project and understanding its unique conditions.  His presentation included advanced budgeting/cost control, dynamic planning, optimum scheduling, and utilizing the model as the ultimate in communication and coordination.


Follow this link for a sample project from the Klorman presentation which illustrates the use of Vico Control for flowline scheduling on an Amtrak Station.  .

As always, we left the BIMForum knowing we have so much more work to do.  With 49% of GCs using BIM, we still have 51% of GCs to reach! 


Get started today with the BIM Master Class Series, over fourteen hours of coursework for your firm.  If hard bids are still dominating your market, learn how you can incorporate BIM strategies into a hard bid: 2D-3D-4D coordination, 4D scheduling, 5D estimating, and building a knowledge base of cost and time elements.  Review the BIM in a Hard Bid series with your team.


We hope to see you in Kansas, June 17-18!

Read reports from past BIM Forums:


AGC BIMForum Lake Tahoe


AGC BIMForum Washington DC


AGC BIMForum La Quinta


AGC BIMForum Dallas


AGC BIMForum Philadelphia