Vico Guest Blogger Series

What Can Be Done to Improve BIM Model Fidelity?

Posted by Holly Allison on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 @ 06:20 AM


We recently received a question on one of the construction groups on LinkedIn.  The question read:


How does Vico handle the different types of models that are out there?  Some models come from architects and don’t follow a naming convention.  Some models come from Subs and are at a level of detail for fabrication.  What do you do to normalize model quality?


Model fidelity is certainly an issue for helping BIM move from 3D visualization to coordination, quantity takeoff, scheduling, and estimating.


To help facilitate the practice of building better models, the Vico Team has developed five different approaches:


1.)    The Model Progression Specification.  You might know this as the AIA E202.  It is a language and organizing system that helps multi-discipline teams work together to build models with the proper levels of detail so that the data can be used in downstream applications like scheduling and estimating.  We have great resources on this topic here, including four webinars and four videos – the link above will lead the way.   Also, if you would like detailed training on the MPS, Vico has a 2 day workshop available.


2.)    When you find yourself in a situation where one or more parties aren’t able to provide models, our Professional Services Team can help.  We can model the architectural, structural, or MEP model(s) for you and update the models as more changes are made to the design.  We can also assist with coordination services, model-based scheduling, and model-based estimating services. 


3.)    Whether you are using the MPS or building the model yourself, a great way to supplement the process is the Vico Standard 5D Library (a collection of scheduling tasks, activities, formulas, and values required for many building elements) and the Vico Standard 5D Warehouse (a collection of over 5,000 typical building elements in Revit and ArchiCAD which have been modeled to the accuracy necessary for construction-caliber quantity takeoff).  Using these two resources in tandem can greatly speed your model creation, not to mention your model-based scheduling and estimating.


4.)    How can you tell if the BIM models you received from the design team and subs can be used for construction coordination, scheduling, and estimating?  Vico Services can quality check your model and grade it for completeness, determining if it can be repurposed for construction.  If the Quality Assurance and Refinement service identifies problems with the model that the customer would like repaired, we provide a fixed price proposal for performing the needed work.  We then work in collaboration with the General Contractor ensuring the model meets the strict project requirements. Or your team can take the quality report and a template content plan and repair or add to the model as needed.


5.)    Finally, we have some features in the software that allow you to work with less-than-perfect models.  For instance, you can add manual takeoff items to express elements that were not contained in the model.  Also, the Formula Editor lets you override the quantity takeoff calculation with a formula that better suits your operations.  Additionally, you can also use features of the Location Breakdown Structure to properly assign quantities to a single floor (like a column which may have been modeled as a solid piece from basement to 5th floor).


So yes, accurate models can be an issue.  But we do have the tools and methodologies to work with them and/or provide very rigorous models. 


Just as you plan to put the physical building together, it’s essential to plan before you put the model together.  As a team, you need to define the purpose and the goals of the model, as well as the cost plan and schedule you are going to create.  Once you have your goals, you can determine the properties needed to achieve these goals.  You can even predefine some of this content by using one of more of the available classification standards such as Uniformat or CSI Masterformat.  Once you’ve decided your classification system, you can define names for the content that you will create; and then per category, define your methodology.  You will thank yourself for standardizing with our 5D Warehouse because you can copy/paste elements/cost information/schedule tasks from the warehouse to your 5D model.



cost elements dynamically linked to quantities to 3D BIM model

Caption: The goal of modeling should extend beyond visualization and clash detection. Proper naming conventions and accurate levels of detail help produce models for use in estimating and scheduling.


If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, we’re happy to help.


In the meantime, please access these resources for additional information:
PaperAECBytes article MPS for BIM

Webinar: Model Quality Assurance and Refinement
Webinar: Webcor and the MPS
Webinar: Orchestrating BIM the Vico Way

Webinar: Connecting the Conceptual Estimate to the MPS

Webinar: Understanding and Using the MPS
VideoBIM Level of Detail   

Video: BIM Model Authors and Sources

VideoPurpose-Built BIM Models

VideoOrchestrating 5D BIM with the MPS

Webpage: MPS Frequently Asked Questions

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

Blog: Planning VDC Work for Project Phases with an MPS

Blog: The MPS’ Role in Preconstruction

Blog: One Model versus Many

Tags: MPS, model fidelity, 5D Standard Warehouse, model progression specification, 3D modeling services, 5D Standard Library