What are the 4 stages of BIM?

What is BIM?

According to Autodesk, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the foundation of digital transformation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. As the leader in BIM, Autodesk is the industry's partner to realize better ways of working and better outcomes for business and the built world.
It can also span into the operation and management of buildings using data that building or structure owners have access to (hence the Building Information Management). This data allows governments, municipalities, and property managers to make informed decisions based on information derived from the model— even after the building is constructed.
There are a few stages in BIM as a process, lets understand them in detail.

What are the Stages of BIM?

Like any form of change management, implementation of BIM would require great planning & preparation. Change implementation has to be in a phased manner with proper planning and execution, let’s look at some of the four key phases in BIM implementation.

The 4 phases in BIM are:
  • Evaluation/Assessment / Pre BIM
  • Preparation for the Transition / Project Pre-Planning / Modeling and Designing
  • Execution of the Plan / Construction / Collaboration
  • Operations and Maintenance through Experience and Expertise

  • Let’s get to know each of the stages in detail.

    1. Evaluation/Assessment / Pre BIM

    Publish the implementation plan and intent for Building Information Modeling in your organization as part of an internal assessment procedure. The following steps are some of the best practices which would help you in the initial phase of BIM implementation.

  • BIM Ready Evaluation – Evaluate your teams capability in terms of technology and processes
  • Feedback – conduct feedback sessions on with internal team about adopting technology, processes and workflows
  • Due Diligence – Evaluate the legal contracts and deliverables expected from each party
  • Management take – Ensure that the higher management fully supports the decision to adopt BIM

  • With BIM, a very useful tool for simulation, prototyping and analyzing during these stages, the inclusion of data works as a repository for the optimized design and performance analytics.
    By implementing it, considerable savings can be made, not only in terms of time but also in terms of resources. Many times, unforeseen situations or incompatibilities can occur during a construction process –for instance, a pipe colliding with another element or non-compliance with regulations– and these are situations that traditionally would have to be resolved on site.
    However, through BIM we are now able to avoid these issues thanks to the fundamental role that BIM plays in the planning procedures, and thanks to the early detection of potential problems in any of the different parts that make up a project.

    2. Preparation for the Transition / Project Pre-Planning / Modeling and Designing

    Project pre-planning is paramount for successful transition to BIM. Standardization in technology processes and trained people is critical for the success of technology implementation.

  • Standardization: Make provisions for uniform standards for software implementation ensure to lay down a process flow for information exchange, archiving and updating data on a real-time basis so that no crucial information is lost
  • Training: The Internal Team has to be equipped with the new software so plan for numerous Training and Development sessions to increase their expertise in using BIM.

  • Detailed design is where collaboration is supposed to shine the most. Performing regular coordination meetings with different participants of the project (engineers, estimators, schedulers, architects, project managers, construction managers, etc.) allows for every participant of the project to be involved in the process and provide their feedback on possible issues or setbacks.
    Additionally, it’s also highly recommended to perform interference checks and clash detections on a regular basis. Some might say that this is a time-consuming process, but correcting a previously undetected error in an existing building takes way more time and resources than finding it at the design phase and fixing it before the construction even gets to that point.
    The design phase is also where the BIM model could be used in several different ways, and not just its original purpose. The existence of BIM process management as a whole allows for a BIM model to be used in scheduling, elevations, walkthroughs, sections, and many other processes – potentially saving a lot of time and money within that project internally.

    3. Execution of the Plan / Construction / Collaboration

    We can describe the construction phase as the implementation of a design envisioned by architects and engineers. In both design and construction, numerous operational tasks must be performed with a variety of precedence and other relationships among the different tasks. As BIM enables many stakeholders and people involved in a project to come together and facilitate their collaboration, the exchange of information with project managers through smart tools, the monitoring of the construction work done on site, and the coordination with suppliers and others in the supply chain becomes much more streamlined and efficient.
    BIM enables the state of construction to be visualized, meaning therefore that it is possible to compare this with the expected evolution as indicated in the initial project planning at any given time. This offers optimum control of the deliveries of the different elements of a project and makes it possible for possible obstructions to be detected.
    The execution of the plan must be decided collaboratively in accordance with every stakeholder in the project. This phase defines the social interactions of the project team throughout the BIM construction life cycle. A BIM execution plan includes:

  • Portfolio management
  • Test case based planning and implementation
  • Spatial planning
  • Team restructuring
  • Information handover
  • Defining new roles and responsibilities
  • Measuring performance

  • If the employer will be responsible for operating the development once completed, an in-house or outsourced team should be appointed to witness testing and commissioning, ready to take over the running of services once practical completion is certified. If they have not already done so, the employer may also wish to appoint site inspectors.
    The word ‘contractor’ is used in this stage to describe the supplier that constructs the development. If an integrated supply team has been appointed to design and construct (and perhaps operate) the development then they will be the contractor.
    Contract administration tasks (such as certifying payments) are attributed to a contract administrator. Under some forms of procurement they will work for the employer, however, on private finance initiative (PFI) projects, the body funding the integrated supply team may appoint the contract administrator.

    4. Operations and Maintenance through Experience and Expertise

    One of the last legs of a functional building´s lifecycle is essentially, one of the most important ones. Beginning with the handover and commissioning of a building once the construction phase is done, implementing virtual platforms that integrate BIM technologies can help make the process smoother and more seamless.
    Since the BIM methodology goes far beyond just construction work, once the infrastructure has been built, this can also provide the client and facility managers with the correct tools to operate MEP and HVAC plus deal with maintenance issues via a digital twin: installation date, materials, lifespan, etc. Take a look at our previous blog entry regarding smart buildings to read a further explanation of how BIM plays a crucial role in the implementation of sensors and smart technologies that guarantee that operations and maintenance of assets are done in the most efficient and innovative way.
    The high level digital model built in the design phase can be taken as a base for operations and maintenance phase as well. The best practise is to use building data from this model and rework on it, to incorporate operations and maintenance for the facility,
    Here are some the factors that determine if the high levels design model can be used for used for operations and maintenance:

  • Which elements were integrated into the model in its design phase?
  • Was the digital model regularly updated to include the most recent and accurate information?
  • Were all stakeholders who are authorized to access the digital model able to retrieve data with ease?

  • Every organization requirement and structure is different and activities performed in these phases might differ as per their requirement
    Different phases of BIM implementation propose standard procedures that can ensure smooth transition to BIM technology; however the success of BIM implementation would largely depend on the willingness and capability of the current organization. Hence it’s advisable to lay down step by step process and then execute diligently for successful implementation.