Your BIM Plan does not weigh enough

The tale

A while ago, I worked on a project where a ‘BIM Execution Plan’ was required and this indubitable pleasure fell upon myself. The client had engaged a design consultant as the project ‘BIM Consultant’.
I prepared the document and forwarded it to the client and their consultant for review & approval.

The feedback was essentially that the document was unsatisfactory and needed further work.
I requested more details on where it was lacking or exactly what additional information was required. However, it quickly became apparent that they just expected a thicker, heavier document.
I guess they were looking for the satisfying & reassuring ‘thwunk’ of document hitting desk. The content wasn’t so important.

In the end, both the client and consultant couldn’t identity any significant deficiencies or omissions. They sheepishly accepted the document with just a few token changes to make it look like their feedback had been incorporated (and the consultant could justify their fees).

Less is More

Unfortunately, this seems to be a common occurrence in the BIM world, both in specifications and in plans which are bloated with every conceivable requirement & minor detail, or just plain waffle. Many BIM plans are more of a CAD manual or training handbook.

I prefer a minimum of detail, with a focus on the stuff that really matters. So although my plan did have a sparse feel about it, it included all the important information.

It sounds like a cheesy advert for luxury goods, but quality really is more important than quantity. My post ‘Less is More” describes this in more detail.

Why, not how

A plan should not cover detailed steps on how BIM is done, but should clearly define what needs to be achieved, and why, who does it & when.

Tips for BIM Plans

  • Focus on the important i.e what must be done
  • Focus on outcomes, not method
  • Specify who does what and when (not so much how)
  • Don’t get bogged down in too much detail, especially ‘LOD’ or ‘model element author’ matrices or clash detection processes.
  • Don’t use an off-the-shelf template.
  • Write your own plan- an external BIM Consultant can’t do it for you.
  • Use plain language with a minimum of acronyms and jargon.
  • Write it once, then go back through it and delete all the stuff that is not essential.