In my article, I look at the 5 BIM phases in terms of the digital project organization. In many discussions, BIM is mostly about using the digital technical model and object data. But BIM itself desires to be organized differently and better digitally.
In all areas of life, digitalization is taking hold. We refer to digitalization in building construction as Building Information Modeling, or BIM for short. BIM considers a building in the 5 phases: development, planning, construction, maintenance and demolition. Most of the colleagues from the BIM Group are integrating Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) into the BIM strategy. A part of the CAFM Group rightly opposes this. It always comes to the angle of view. BIM considers a single building over the complete life cycle while CAFM considers the sum of a company’s buildings. Digitization now interlocks the data streams with each other. So far, everyone in his segment has always looked at the data he needs. However, digitization makes it necessary for everyone to be involved in the creation and data management where they are responsible.
However, digitization in the construction industry is not fully automatic. The big BIM process has to be organized. Up to now, everyone in his field has been able to organize the processes of his work independently of the other areas. If, however, the objects and the data are completely generated and processed digitally and through, the processes must also be digitally controlled in the future. Consider the status quo of the 5 phases with regard to digital project organization.
Before I look at the individual phases, I would like to introduce explanations of the concept at this point.
CPM: Critical Path Method. The critical path method is found in products such as Microsoft Project and others.
Lean Construction: Lean Construction is the modification of KANBAN technology for construction. Planning is done using a manual whiteboard in the meeting room. At the beginning of a working week, everyone gathered in the meeting room and together plan the work for the upcoming week.
LSP Load Planner Method: The LSP method first considers the project in a coarse structure. The project is then gradually broken down to the jobs to be completed in one working week.
In phase 1 (development), the developers (builders, companies, investors, etc.) organize future construction projects using Excel tables. The comparison of benefits, costs, income, … can best be achieved with one or more tables. In a rough schedule, MS Project or similar products are used every now and then. Communication takes place via projet meetings and via MS Outlook.
In phase 2 (Planning) the project manager of a planning office usually organizes the projects with MS Outlook. A real digital time management does not take place. There are many and regular project discussions with the client and the other involved planners as well as many e-mails.
In phase 3 (construction), it is usually more digitally coordinated. Projects plans are regularly drawn up. When you visit a planning office or a construction company, you will immediately notice the bar graphs on the walls in the offices or in the meeting rooms. When building a building, there are specific sequences that must be followed. First comes the foundation plate, then the walls and columns and then the ceiling. In this phase, the CPM method only works. It will continue until several unpredictable events occur. Then it is urgently necessary that the plans in MS Project be updated. At this point, I’m not asking if this really ever happens. For example, various construction companies have discovered the topic of Lean Construction.
In the phase 3.5 ….. Stop! This phase is not supposed to happen! For me it is the phase of the defect detection and correction of defects. Here, only a conditional digital project organization takes place. There are some software products for defect detection and defect removal, which would actually be superfluous in this form if a digital project organization would be used throughout all phases. The correction of defects can and should be integrated as part of a digital project organization. This also includes the necessary documentation.
In Phase 4 (maintenance), most CAFM systems provide a variety of digital process processing, for example, maintenance and maintenance. CAFM systems do not work without a database. Project plans or a project organization in the sense usually does not take place. Larger conversion measures or renovations (phase 2 recovery) are carried out by the companies through external planning offices. In this case, the Facility Managers will again take part in the countless project discussions and receive various e-mails with information. This also continues in the creation (jump-back in phase 3).
In phase 5 (demolition) we then find products like MS Project. However, the plan is usually set up once and then not maintained. In very difficult projects, such as the demolition of a power plant, more and more companies resort to the LSP method.
Let’s return to my question: „Can I organize the BIM process using the CPM method?“ The answer to this question is „No“. In Germany BIM finds more and more followers. Those who have already had the opportunity to participate in BIM projects have noted that cooperation has already changed in the framework of the projects. But the organization of the BIM projects is still running with the old IT tools and the usual strategies. This can also be better organized digitally.
The digital project organization saves even more time, the number of project meetings decreases significantly again and the projects are organized more transparently and efficiently in the sense of BIM.
If you want to increase the efficiency of your projects and have an interest in saving time and money, I would be glad to help you.