How can an architect introduce BIM?

I actually wrote this post for the architects in Germany. My English-speaking readers are more advanced with the introduction of BIM usually already. Usually are they there – or?

With the introduction of BIM already many experts, advisers and consultants deal. Because I I put the question, whether it makes sense to add yet another publication. There are now some large reference projects, which were presented at various BIM events in Germany. At these events, usually whenever the same speakers come to Word. All speakers repeating mantra like the benefits and advantages of the use of BIM. Each lecture is based on personal experiences of the speakers. Each depicts how he is approached on the subject and what he has experienced in the implementation of projects.

Germany is still not a BIM country. We are only at the beginning of the development. Other countries have an experience advantage of up to seven years. We can also notice that have their own experience the companies in each country and drawn up the knowledge. And each country has also at the start in the direction of BIM had different technological input requirements.

BIM is underway in Germany to become a serious movement. BIM is more just than adherence to standards and guidelines but. The introduction of BIM in Germany is now regarded by many as a cultural change in the construction industry. We all are faced with this cultural change. We all need to understand him and so deal. Only if we achieve this, will give us an introduction of BIM also succeed.

Yes, maybe I succeed with my article a or to motivate other undecided, the first steps in the direction of BIM to make.


Make a decision

People like no change. People would rather that all remains as it is. BIM cooperation of people in the construction industry will transform. Meet everyone, no matter whether entrepreneurs or employees, must at some point on the subject of an opinion formed and make a decision. Because BIM in cooperation changed, everyone of them must be convinced or convincing. Who not really by BIM believes should not be with the introduction of BIM begin. You can not afford timidity as an entrepreneur. With the statement „We can try yes even a little“ you surrounded the skeptics enough room immediately to use small setbacks or failures, in your company against the introduction of BIM mood to make. Show from the outset that you as an entrepreneur by BIM convinced. Make a lonely decision to introduce, but take your employees on board from the outset. It is not enough that only a few in your company are convinced. BIM is teamwork. Only if the team plays well together, you create it. Also, it is not enough that you are convinced themselves that are all a team. Are all real a team? Ask yourself the question and answer the question yourself to honestly. If you are not sure, look for an external sparring partner and openly discuss the situation with him. Your goal is it, that the introduction of BIM succeed on the first attempt and not only at the second attempt.

BIM to make, just because others no basis for a decision, but only a start is wanting you to do it, to think about. BIM to start with, because you are expecting others to a competitive advantage is an interesting goal, but too short thought. If after two or three years all BIM, the advantage is gone. Then you need to come up with a new objective on the subject of BIM and that will be hard. You are too much to your advantage and that has nothing to do with the culture change. There is also the introduction of BIM, only the first step. You will notice it in the course of the introduction that it is useful, the BIM in your company continues to perfect.


Formulate your goals

You have made the decision in your company BIM to introduce. The decision is not easy you like, but you could take the most in your company. This isn’t without skeptics. In the next few weeks we will maybe you and your team, to convince the skeptics. Who behaves still skeptical after a successful introduction of BIM always is is itself always further away from the team.

In the decision-making phase, it has issues with security the why, the how or the why. You have spoken about possible targets and scenarios. Now is the time to formulate concrete objectives and set periods of time. All components involved come to the test: your software, your hardware, your network, your communications, your suppliers, your partners, your subcontractors and – last but not least – your knowledge. In all considerations, forget not your customers! At this point, you should leave nothing to chance. You can take matters into their own hands or to consult an external consultant or facilitator on time. The external could then also ensure adherence your goals and timely countermeasures. The first introduction of BIM is to be successful. A fundamental second introduction of BIM is much more difficult. It is so not a real new beginning. Your team must be motivated again and have already time and money invested and you need to invest again.

Tip: Use the introduction of BIM also your own project organization to change. BIM you can not as a conventional construction project after the CMP method (critical path method) organize and implement. On site bar charts are useful and uncluttered, but your project of introduction of BIM does technology work best with the kanban, for example with the software Lean4Team. In this case you can use the same software in two projects: 1. the introduction of BIM and 2. for your first BIM project. Something „more agile“ and „Leaner“ may already be the introduction. Motivate your BIM Manager to use this media. Reduce the time and cost-intensive project meetings from the outset to a minimum. Attacking with include from the outset all persons involved in the BIM implementation project. Take it seriously with transparency and efficiency. If you have further questions, you can contact gladly me.


Create the conditions

You have formulated your business goals with or without help. Now you need to create the conditions. Your company is a part of the digital chain in the construction industry. We need to differentiate now create the condition. There are investors and building owners, there is a large group of different sectoral Planner, there is the building supply industry and the various contractors and the building and building owner and whose construction entertainers come to the conclusion. All are involved in the BIM processes. Buildings and structures be created real and at any time, digital data are generated and added to. Each of these large groups use their own digital tools. In the following discussion, I concentrate on the Group of planners. Building information modeling uses a three-dimensional digital building or structure model as a basis. The next paragraphs are now characterised by technical issues, of which the one or other you often on BIM events has heard. The introduction of BIM has to do with digital and emotional moments. Now it is a little technical and digital.

Meanwhile, almost every Planner uses a CAD software. Therefore, check whether you are using your software able to create three-dimensional objects. BIM assumes that you intensively replace these files in the team in the planning process with other specialist planners. We distinguish two cases. The two variants are called open-BIM and closed-BIM. If you and your partner take advantage of all of the software products of the same manufacturer, you can replace the data in the planning process on the basis of closed-BIM. If you use different CAD software products, then you are working with the open BIM Variant. Then, the participating software need a functional IFC interface. The wall of the architect must appear in the structural engineer and the engineer of the building as a wall in the editing. If this is not the case, then you should seek external help. Best you ask someone who is neutral to all software manufacturers. To the BIM cultural change is also to not will be looking for culprits, but that obstacles be eliminated quickly by the team. In this case it is difficult yet the different CAD systems houses, to give a neutral and open answer. The IFC interface is standardized. But not every software manufacturer to comply this ISO standard as the user would expect. A good solution might be closed-BIM in the short term. Germany or the BMVI relies on open BIM but clearly in his projects. And you do not know in what projects you will join as an entrepreneur in the future.

Check also your complete hardware, network and communication environment whether you there must make changes or extensions, in order to replace easily digital data in a team with internal and external employees. Get external advice and external support for this part. Clarify these points at an early stage and not only if you want to implement your first small concrete project.

And your knowledge and the knowledge of your employees to the test concludes. You have checked your CAD software and the digital environment. Can your planners, designers and technical draftsman to construct three-dimensional with the software? It is not enough to have tried it. Everyone on the team must perfectly master their three-dimensional CAD tool. Everyone must or should at least be able to take advantage of all three-dimensional objects. A wall is a wall. A prop is a prop. A ventilation duct is a ventilation duct. A support is no railing posts and a roof is no ramp for the underground car park. The mastery of the 3D-CAD-Werkzeugs is an essential basis for successful implementation of BIM! Once you have said yes to BIM, and once you have validated your software, you should promptly apply CAD training, if not the knowledge or is insufficiently available.


Set the fundamental roles

You have the prerequisites for a successful introduction of BIM created in your company. Now you have to worry to the people involved and their roles in BIM projects and in your company. At the word role and the cast roles everyone immediately think of a play or a drama. It’s but more about the tasks of the internal and external employees at the beginning of BIM project to define and to represent transparent for everyone involved. Open, honest and transparent – not locked, dishonest and intent only on the own advantage.

You need a team for each project. This is still nothing fundamentally new. Just the way work together as the team throughout the planning phase, is basically new. All working together on a digital model of the building. Anyone who makes the team, can immediately see how far is advanced planning of the building and when he can begin its task. The entire correspondence and communication with each other is closely linked with this digital model of the building. Everyone assumes a task team. The sum of the functions is defined in the role before the project starts. The structural engineer and the engineer of the building involved from the outset and not only then join if the architect is ready.

The project is to be implemented successfully. The team and the interplay of the individual team members make up the success. Self-promoter or egomaniacs have no place in the team. The team should solve also tricky construction situations together and support each other. The good help feebler ones of course. The weaker or ignorant must have the chance to ask questions and to ask for help. Now it’s time to put forward good ideas and not to shine, if an immature plan with a disproportional high effort needs to be corrected on the site with his knowledge. The team is only as good as the weakest on the team. It is in the nature of things that always one on the team is the weakest link. Also they can be even. Only when each of his role has grown, the team can win. An elbow usage not among themselves in the team, but on the outside for the team is needed.

BIM the existing professions will change and there will be new professional figures. In small companies, it can be for a person to assume multiple roles. In large companies, new jobs will be established. It is important that you know all the roles and their responsibilities. BIM is also gradually change and expand. The tasks and roles are also change and expand. It doesn’t matter whether you are an investor, builder, architect, engineer, designer, draftsman, contractors, facility managers or product supplier. Each of you will play a role in the project. The new occupational profiles or roles could BIM Director, BIM Manager, BIM Information Manager, BIM Engineer, BIM Coordinator, BIM Librarian, BIM Quality Manager, BIM-investor Manager, BIM Industry Manager, BIM Construction Manager, BIM Calculator, BIM Facility Manager, BIM Demolition and Disposal Manager, BIM Consultant, BIM Product Manager, BIM Software Developer, BIM Trainer, BIM Professor or BIM Lecturer.

Tip: Make thoughts about the composition of teams and the respective roles that have to be occupied. Plan your planning with the kanban technology. Make your activities transparent. If you are not sure, then ask an outside consultant of you can trust or for example BIM Service Network. The BIM Service Network is an Association of independent BIM specialists.


Looking for a suitable project

You have thought about the roles and their responsibilities. Now, you need a suitable project to successfully start your first BIM project. If you are rich in a few years to many experiences, you are about to worry more, which project is suitable to start. Now, the BIM project to your possible BIM team and the possible BIM team project should fit but.

Think not only of the project and to the team, but also that you get your clients/customers/clients with the team and inform him about how you want to implement the project. Not only you and your team, but all persons involved in the processes and business are affected by the change of culture.

One of the most important changes in the process is that the planning of a building or structure is completely accomplished, before start of the work on the construction site. As a project grows, the harder it is, to make it clear this all those involved and also really respect these rules. Planning mistakes should be avoided and supplements to orders are kept to a minimum. Ideally all those involved in the construction phase will deal only with design defects. The client also plays a role in the digital chain. He must formulate their wishes in the form of building specifications and space books already very concrete. Constant changes and extensions extend the planning phase. All members of the team must incorporate the changes again in the digital model.

There are also very large projects that have a long term and in several sections planned and built. If fundamental changes on the basis of new regulations or changes in the economic situation arising in this long period of time, must be decided in each individual case, how all participants in the project should deal with it. Such a project but is not suitable for your entry in BIM.

Tip: If you are not sure whether your initial project is right for you and your team, then you get outside help. And don’t forget: the planning must be planned for transparent!


Put together a team

You have found a suitable project and in the boat caught with your client. Now it is time to put together a team.

Your planning team consists of an architect and a structural engineer. You think of the project. In the interview proves that it makes sense, even a building technician with add to draw. Please discuss with your team, what roles and responsibilities each will assume and how long each of its tasks will require. A small project with a small team, you will quickly determine a period and determine whether this corresponds with the wishes of the customer. The question of whether creativity is predictable is exciting at this time. Keep writing the roles and tasks. This information is a part of the BAP BIM settlement plan. There’s always a construction schedule. Have you thought about ever to set up a planning schedule? Such a schedule helps you if you after reviewing the project. You and your team to improve in the next project.

Tip: The team is put together. Also here is: If you are not sure, get outside help. By now you should use a software for the planning. The key word is called kanban technology. I like to help you.


Prepare a project

You have to put a team together. So far you are used that the planners after join in the planning. That happens now, but they are better of informed.

The architect assembles a most complete book of space and a description of construction now together with the client. This information is a part of the AIA customer information requirements. On the basis, he can now make a first draft. But he has all necessary things together?

For his three-dimensional design, the architect needs a variety of three-dimensional objects. If you have implemented several projects, you have a large library. But for your first project you need to obtain all necessary three-dimensional objects. The search can prove to be as difficult and slow under circumstances. Product manufacturers and gradually realize that they have to provide their products in three-dimensional digital form for planning, but it takes until all have implemented it. If you want to implement projects on the basis of the BIM processes, then you must think also to these small details. Inform all other team members, they also need the three-dimensional objects for their area of expertise.

In conjunction with BIM spoken repeatedly about the level of detail. If you are using a door object from a software library, this door may have a different level of detail than the door of a door manufacturer. The higher is the level of detail, the amount of data is greater. Talk to other team members about the level of detail. If the digital model of the building to the Builder or general contractor is passed at the end of the planning, each component must be clearly described and be unique in all two dimensional construction plans. As an architect, you need to replace the simple door placeholder against the intended special manufacturer door at some point. The contractor ordered any door instead of the door that is desired by the builders and architects and agreed otherwise.

If you have a small business, one of your employees will undertake the task of a BIM librarian. Large companies can be a stand-alone workstation. You can also access the standard libraries of software vendors in your first projects. The detailed visual representation is then but mostly not consistent and may cause irritation. You must then ensure that the objects have a unique name and article number. Seen in the long term it is not goal-oriented!

Every real building will later be on a real estate. You will also need a digital place to which all persons participating in the project have access for each of your digital projects. There are the wide range of strategies, practices and provider for this. At this point you should first seek external support on all cases.

Tip: All preparations are made now. If you or your team are not sure whether has thought of everything, then you get external help. Ask your external advisor or the BIM Service Network. If you do not manage to fill all positions in your project team, then that will help you BIM Service Network to continue. BIM Service Network can set you up also a digital project.


Implement the project

All project preparations are made. The digital communication channels are tested. Your BIM Coordinator was waiting for the first three-dimensional digital data of project to test these collisions and inconsistencies.

Now, you would have to actually get a little fright. In one of the previous chapters, I talked also about new professions. Even if people work together, digital and three-dimensional you can make mistakes. In any large project errors can creep on unintentionally. Without BIM notice but only those on the construction site. With BIM can but much earlier notice these planning mistakes and eliminate. If and when you need a dedicated BIM Coordinator or a BIM information manager in a project, can answer any lump sum. Only the digital data must be monitored during the planning phase and controlled.

We again assume that your team has implemented the first project. Then pass the complete digital package to your contractors. Often, a general contractor is today. All information is linked directly to the digital objects. The general contractor takes this data, processed in its programs and created the building or structure.

Now comes the last step in the digital chain. My chapter have deliberately limited in the focus to the planning area. The client will not even engage in the building, but chose for an operator. The contractor has created not only the building but also all this created information added to the digital objects. So, a complete and current digital documentation of the operator can be passed now.

Even if your first project has no such large-scale, documenting the emergence of the building or structure with all involved parties to end and passed this digital, current, and complete documentation of your principal.

You have implemented with BIM your first project. Now, you want to start immediately because of the good experiences with the next project. But take a second time for a revision.


Revise the project

You have successfully completed your first project. Because all have worked openly and transparently, everyone knows, what went well but also is less of what went well. But, summarize the results for your team. In the archive of your kanban board, you can once again refer to each single activity and understand.

You and your internal and external employees have made new many things in cooperation and learned many things and learn. Revise your first project at this time.

Have you been in time? Have you done all preparations well? Did you forget something? Digital communication work? Have you saved even time, because the otherwise necessary planning meetings using the kanban technology could be drastically reduced? How did the team work? Are all with the cultural change clearly coped? Must occupy in the future Special BIM positions with new employees? How did your client take the culture change? Must your client be even more intense with installed in the team?

Tip: You see, that there are enough things, which you should discuss once again after the project. Their first BIM project is revised. If you had an external consultant with during the entire phase, you give him the opportunity to be in the revision with this. It can’t hurt. In your first project of external consultants or independent BIM Service Network has the function of the BIM acquired Quality Manager.


Formulate new goals

The first BIM project is completed and revised. You know now, how with the help of BIM can put a project. Why should you set new goals?

Take the opportunity to formulate new objectives for the next project in the context of the revision of the project together with your team. Thus, we would be automatically again arrived at the second chapter. The further development of BIM is also an ongoing process in a company. Make all things regularly to the test. Go through point by point regularly. To identify and to gradually eliminate the weaknesses. You and your team or your team to continuously improve. This is the true competitive advantage, you can achieve.

Tip: Incidentally, this approach is also a quality management. In large companies, I can imagine me also a BIM Quality Manager job description. In small companies that cannot accept BIM this role service network as an independent service provider.



BIM is a cultural change in the construction industry. I hope that I could help a little, to illustrate this.

It goes into projects not to look for culprits and damages to sue them, if mistakes were made, but to detect errors at an early stage in the team and to avoid mistakes. By the way, you and all participants have the chance to develop jointly and continuously to improve the quality of your work. Support the weaker team, forward together with all if something positive is you have managed. You may resent in error also. Share this negative moments with your team. Build on each other again.

If you with BIM would go, but need help at the start, then talk to like me. I’m looking for the matching BIM consultant for you. As an alternative, I recommend that you also BIM Service Network.


Ulf-Günter Krause


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