MPS History and Evolution

The Model Progression Specification (MPS) was pioneered by Vico and Webcor, refined by the technology subcommittee of the AIA California Council’s IPD Task Force, and was adopted by the AIA in late 2008. It is also known as the AIA E202.  Since then, we at Vico have refined the approach twice.  Version 3 of the MPS was developed to further hone virtual construction planning and eliminate the fractal tree effect of countless stages and their aspect/class iterations. 


First and foremost, the MPS strives to unite all the project shareholders around a building plan.  Just as you would not develop ten different ways to construct columns on your project, you would not model the same column ten different ways in your BIM. Secondly, the MPS recognizes that there can and should be many more model versions than traditional design phases.  These model versions need to add information richness to the project and therefore, need to be planned to support the decision making process for that stage.  Thirdly, some portions of the project will be more difficult to model than others.  Some systems will be developed earlier and some later.  This is not a problem as long as all parties understand the level of detail pace.  And finally, many teams are working together from different geographies, so enhanced communication and planning means no balls are dropped and items don’t fall through the cracks.


As we have said before, you do not need to plan your virtual construction project if you are simply using a BIM model for visualization.  But if you want to use the BIM model(s) for coordination, scheduling, and estimating, then the MPS is essential.



As we started working with more and more builders on what had become the second incarnation of the MPS (or MPS 2.0 to use software-speak), we learned that each Aspect traditionally develops its Class over time.  But what we found was that we need to tie their progression together as Target LODs (level of detail).


MPS Matrix Aspect Class Target LOD


The Target LODs are then assigned to Building Element Categories per Stage to show the desired information richness for that point in the project (see below).


Target LODs Tie Building Element Categories to Stages

In the latest MPS 3.0, we incorporated goal matching Primitives should be select per Building Element Category to reduce the number of element definitions required.


These Primitives are then used by design, estimating and scheduling teams to define the 3D content warehouse, 4D task list, and 5D cost assemblies for that project Stage.


Here's a Primitive example for a Solid Wall:


LOD Modeling Guide

Caption: This level of detail modeling guide defines the modeler's responsibility for diversification, geometry, penetrations, and connections for each progression.  Note, too, that requirements are also laid out for the estimating and scheduling teams.


The MPS has certainly come a long way since we started 5D content planning in 2005 and its adoption into the first version of the AIA E202 contract in 2008.


If you are creating more than just 2D documents from your model MPS is a must have.


We also support the MPS process with a one-and-a-half day MPS 3.0 Workshop, to get each BIM project started in the right direction with a detailed modeling plan which complements the work you've done with your BIM Execution Plan.


The MPS is a meaty topic.  To learn more, please navigate through these additional resources:


Webpage: The History and Evolution of the MPS

Webpage: MPS Terms and Definitions

Webpage: What is the BIM Level of Detail?

Webpage: The MPS as Sheet Music for an Orchestra

Webpage: What Is a Purpose-Built BIM Model?

Webpage: Who is Authoring the BIM Model?

Webpage: What You Need in Your Virtual Construction Toolkit

Webpage: Rollout the MPS to a New Project

Webinar: Webcor and the MPS

Webinar: Using the Content Plan and MPS

Webinar: Understanding the Model Progression Specification

Webinar: The MPS 3.0

Blog: What Can Be Done to Improve BIM Model Fidelity?

Blog: Why You Need an MPS on Every 5D Project

Blog: The 5D Data Pack Is Your Shortcut to 5D BIM

FAQs: MPS Frequently-Asked Questions