/ Event Coverage / BIM Best Practices Session at #AUINFRA #AU2013

BIM Best Practices Session at #AUINFRA #AU2013

Matt Ball on December 2, 2013 - in Event Coverage, Modeling

Terry Bennett, Senior Industry Manager, Civil Engineering & Construction at Autodesk moderated a session of BIM Best Practices today at the Infrastructure Symposium in Las Vegas. The panel included a wide perspective on current BIM practice as well as the goals and the benefits.

The panel included:

  • Keith Sowinsky, with the Methods Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is involved in the implementation of BIM, and the development of a 3D technologies implementation plan
  • Julian Jameson, BIM Coordinator at Gatwick Airport spoke to Revit usage in the Construction Department and a four-year integration and BIM process implementation with education and R&D work
  • Anne Kemp, director, BIM Strategy and Implementation at Atkins and chair of the Association of Geographic Information is working with the UK government initiative to enable all departments to be intelligent procurers of digital information
  • Cory Dippold, project technologies group director with Hatch Mott MacDonald has been the BIM Champion for the company for the past six years and has recently become the project technologies director to look at the use of digital design tools and processes throughout the 3,000-people and 70-office operations of this civil infrastructure firm
  • Eddy Krygiel, director of design technology at HNTB works on infrastructure projects of many scales including transit, aviation, and rail. The firm uses a lot of LiDAR and BIM, to meet and exceed project objectives.

BIM to improve alignment between owners and service providers:

Sowinsky: Have worked with contractors to improve communication with consistency in the content to remove uncertainty in the bidding and building process. The contractors want to know in order to have confidence in their prices. The owner wants consistency in the data format, using the model through the lifecycle. The bottom line is that BIM improves cost through better certainty.

Jameson: Discussed the problem of requesting BIM off the shelf, with give and take between expectation and what the contractor delivered. The common sense initiatives that the government is promoting is tailoring the BIM deliverable with what is needed. The struggle with maturity of their workforce is a factor in achieving greater consistency, helping those that need a degree of training.

Kemp: Data spreads like a virus, with a need to set guidelines and focus on answering questions with better intelligence and communication to make better decisions, rather than just mandating the delivery of data. The dream is collaborative workflows with an engaged conversation.

Dippold: BIM is in a transient time right now, with nobody really out ahead. On the client side some have established standards, but others don’t really know what it means. There’s an ongoing need for a candid discussion on what the technology can do — capturing opportunities or solving a problem. The model and technology need to underpin efforts, with the level of detail determined based upon a commercial need and benefits. Maturity is happening on how well developed and coordinated the model needs to be, with appropriate level of use for various needs (costing, clash detection, etc.) The industry needs to come together on different classes so that everyone understands the data that is needed and what it can be used for.

Krygiel: The importance of proper planning is something that went very well at the Denver International Airport, with questions to all teams on the client side to understand what everyone wants from the model, down to electricians and even the ground crew. The chaotic project process was improved with good planning, and with the realization that accurate model data could be re-used to reduce rework. The BIM implementation plan was a great help in the process.

The hand-off between service providers and the owners:

Krygiel: With a wide-range of people working on the job,  260 different firms, there is a need to homogenize and provide education to help them understand and create deliverables.

Dippold: The rate of technology adoption includes arguments over technology that didn’t exist when project contracts were signed. The stuff happening today was science fiction three years ago, with a great deal of impact on workflows. In the past, so many meetings were held to review drawings. Now with iPads, those meetings aren’t happening and the project is sped up. There is a new level of trust needed in the industry with this new model-based approach.

Kemp: There is the need to involve the right people early on, including the asset manager and facility manager, accomplishing everyone’s goals and building a trusting relationship from the start for the right information flow. Training development is a big issue, with workshops taking place and different team members assisting with the training process.

Jameson: Contracts for the box of BIM aren’t helpful, and when you push new technology in the middle of a project people resist the change. A lot of work internally is done on the Gatwick brand in terms of customer service, but in construction that hasn’t been the focus. That is changing now, with a discussion of the approach and an ownership that is a helpful give and take relationship.

Sowinsky: Not wanting to be the one chasing the ball, but to be where the ball is rolling. All projects from 2014 on will have to deliver a Civil3D project so that they’re all talking the same language. With larger projects, contracts are separated into 30% increments in order to be able to incorporate newer technologies.

Wish list for what service providers can give to owners:

Sowinsky: Better and more open communication with various steps, including sharing training materials with construction contractors.

Jameson: Wanting contractors to be more honest about where they are in the BIM process, what they know versus marketing hype. Knowing they will get to the end goal faster by not pretending they know more than what they know.

Kemp: There’s a need to level with each other, and acknowledge that we’re on a journey to exploit the technology for its best benefit.

Dippold: The technology should be leveraged for the betterment of the project. He keeps a “They” sign with a slash through it in order to reduce the finger pointing and blaming. When CAD was new, the same technologies carried through, and now there’s a great shift in workflow to improve the process and deliver better projects. Working with strong owners and partners, with those that take the time to vest themselves in what the technology can deliver, results in better projects. The best model in the world is just intended to ensure that the concrete and the steel land in the right place.

Krygiel: The sum of the parts can be greater than the whole, with the digital and real model making sure that everyone wins.

As a wrap-up, we now have mandates both in the United Kingdom and with new processes such as Map-21 for highway modeling and construction. There are differing opinions about the process and objectives, with guidelines and implementation planning there are needs for ongoing dialogue.

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About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is a former editor and publisher of V1 Media.

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