Vico Guest Blogger Series

10 Reasons Why Project Managers Should Champion 5D BIM Software

Posted by Holly Allison on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 08:46 AM


We’ve penned articles enumerating the 10 Things Every BIM Manager Should Know, and Why Superintendents Just Get Vico, and even 5 Pieces of Advices for GCs Considering BIM.  But the rubber hits the road with PMs because Project Managers have only one goal: bring home a profitable project with a predictable cash flow. So why should they want to incorporate 5D BIM into their task list?


1. PMs help organize the project schedule and budget during preconstruction. So the more scientific information they can capture from a 3D BIM model, the more accurate their schedules and budgets will be. And the smart PMs know that the model-based schedule and model-based budgets don’t get thrown away as precon moves to the field. An integrated 5D BIM model immediately updates both the schedule and budget when any design change occurs.


2. Speaking of design changes, the Project Manager needs to work well with the Design Team to help keep the project on track. The Model Progressions Specification keeps everyone organized and providing information at the correct level of detail. And by using the integrated 5D BIM model to visualize and explore the impact of changes, s/he can keep project scope in check and become a trustworthy liaison between the designers and Owner.


3. The PM is also responsible for hiring the Subs on the job. So having a handle on clash detection and coordination plays a key role in keeping Subs’ work predictable. And utilizing a flowline schedule based on locations, quantities, and crew productivity rates helps ensure the Subs there won’t be stops and starts. This all adds up to getting the best pricing from Subs: you know the quantities, you know the schedule, so you can double-check the Subs’ bids and negotiate.


4. RFIs and Change Orders can bring a project to a halt. By starting the coordination process much earlier utilizing Coordination Resolution in preconstruction, these numbers can be brought to near zero. (Want proof? Check out this webinar case study about a project in which the Owner demanded no change orders.)  This means more off-site prefabrication and streamlined installation on-site. This means no surprises for the Owner. This means a predictable cash flow.


5. Lean construction techniques like flowline scheduling give PMs a project dashboard instead of a rear view mirror. By continually monitoring Subs’ performance (actual productivity rates on-site), the PM and Super can automatically get a two week look-ahead schedule that give alarms when a crew late start or delay is likely. By applying location management techniques to the problem, these schedule interference points can be averted and the schedule kept on track. And when the schedule is on track, the budget is on track.


6. The GC’s reputation is confirmed by word of mouth referrals and repeat business. And it’s the PM’s responsibility to optimize the Owner’s experience and satisfaction. There is no greater influence on satisfaction than a project delivered on time and on budget. In addition, the Owner received a big injection of confidence in the GC when the PM showed him/her how design decisions impacted cost and schedule.


7. Project closeout, including operations and maintenance, offers another opportunity for BIM to help the PM exceed Owner expectations. New reporting capabilities and light-weight model presentation modes allow the PM to present a 6D BIM – a facilities resource with information on warranties, specifications, maintenance schedules, and other valuable information. (Even more “I” in BIM.)


8. Let’s be honest. Profit margin is incredibly important in this economy. Balancing the need for the best bid with the margins required is very hard to do. But BIM works in both a hard bid and a GMP setting. And by thoroughly understanding the project in 5D, the PM has more tools at his disposal to keep tight reins, and more reports to monitor progress: cash flow reports, work in place reports, look ahead schedules, and even earned value analyses.


9. Who wouldn’t want to be on the A Team? Who wouldn’t want to run the most exciting projects? Progressive Owners are mandating BIM on their projects: museums, hospitals, stadiums, and skyscrapers. Becoming the BIM expert, in both preconstruction and out in the field, makes the PM invaluable and a key player.


10. To the victor comes the spoils. The project’s success with 5D BIM means the opportunity to grow the firm’s reputation and helps the corporate team win new business.


discussing project


Sure, the Project Manager has a lot on their plate.  But BIM software and methodologies are creating a whole class of tools with which to control project success.  PMs should be the champions of 5D BIM and help speed its adoption throughout the estimating and scheduling departments and out into the trailer.


Vico Community, what’s your experience implementing BIM tools throughout your organization?  Post your comments on the blog.


One new resource that PMs can dive into is our video training series - a step-by-step guide to our 5D virtual construction workflow with video tutorials. These videos are just 2-5 minutes in length, but illustrate how to use a particular piece of functionality. You can access the video library index and view just what you need, or download the complete set of training videos. We have training videos for Estimators, Schedulers, Supers, and anyone who does CM Reporting.

Tags: cost planning, bim software, construction software, 5D BIM, clash detection and coordination, flowline scheduling