Building Information Modeling (BIM) has had a substantial impact on the AECOO* industry. BIM has been adopted by design firms of all disciplines from large to small across the world and is utilized on projects from the design phases through to construction, operations and maintenance.
Due to the increased use of BIM, there has been a need for a role that facilitates the project BIM needs, increasing the demand for qualified, experienced BIM Managers. A role that is worlds apart from the traditional CAD manager who would typically manage CAD standards. BIM Management encompasses so much more than drawing standards and is integral to any firm that utilizes BIM in the development of its deliverables.
Recently I have had a number of conversations with firms that wish to either adopt a BIM workflow or wish to improve their current BIM uses. Unfortunately, they feel that by hiring a BIM Manager they will be able to achieve these goals. I say unfortunately because even though a BIM Manager is a crucial element in the success of any BIM-enabled firm, they are ill-equipped to provide the high level of understanding required in developing and executing an organizational BIM strategic plan.
BIM Managers are not necessarily knowledgeable in providing and implementing an organizational BIM strategic plan. Managing BIM projects, including the project team and the project deadlines, are already very challenging.
The two roles are distinctly different, and require completely different skill sets. Finding one person that “fits the bill” with the experience and skills to assess and implement a concise, BIM workflow that meets the organization's specific needs, as well as managing BIM projects is a bit of a Unicorn.
I have met a few of these “unicorns” (people who are experienced and skilled in both BIM project management and Implementation) and they are few and far between.
Here’s a brief description of each role and the differences between the two.
The goals and objectives of a BIM Manager are to:
Ensure the project teams meet the goals and objectives of the various projects and are responsible for how best to complete the technical documents using the firm's approved applications and processes.
A BIM Manager leads the organization in the production of BIM projects and typically includes duties such as the maintenance of the BIM resources including; content libraries, templates, supporting projects through planning, coordination and troubleshooting projects.
The role typically includes:
- Responsible for developing, maintaining and enforcing BIM standards and content.
- Provide hardware and network support as it relates to BIM production.
- BIM project setup including model set-up, BIMx and PeP documentation.
- Supervise the creation of content like Revit families in response to project needs.
- Troubleshoot BIM Project modeling issues.
- Manage the distribution of digital models (file sharing) for project model coordination.
- Ensure quality control on data generated and collected.
The BIM Manager plays a crucial role in the delivery of all projects and in supporting the organization in delivering the demanding needs of a BIM project. It’s an important role in the ongoing success of any firm.
BIM Implementation and Workflow Specialist
The goals and objectives of a BIM Implementation and Workflow Specialist are to:
Build upon a firm’s successful use of design technology, by leveraging the use of existing and emerging technology, processes, skills and experience to successfully deliver their mission.
The BIM Implementation and Workflow Specialist manages change in the organization. This is someone who can recognize the potential for improvement and who can strategically plan and implement improvements to the workflow utilizing BIM and digital tools, ensuring that the resources and processes are in place that encourage the effective use of technology.
An effective BIM Implementation specialist understands the process and management of implementing change.
- Facilitate digital innovation through evaluation and improvement upon the current use of design technology and propose appropriate changes making it possible to achieve the firm’s goals.
- Report on the current and projected state regarding organizational BIM maturity.
- Assess existing technologies and budget for future technological/processes adoption that aligns with the company goals.
- Create a culture that encourages individuals and teams to utilize design technology.
- Provide thought leadership and become the organization’s trusted advisor on all matters concerning BIM.
- Develop tools to facilitate data harvesting through various actors during the construction process.
- Provide general, and project-specific training (at all hierarchical levels).
- Create upgrade and deployment strategies for BIM implementation including:
- Assess: Evaluate current workflow, strategies, projects, and staffing;
- Plan: Create an Implementation plan. Who are the team members, what is the project(s), what are the goals;
- Solve: Execute the plan, implement and deploy the software, create templates, undertake training, support pilot projects;
- Confirm: Be able to demonstrate the success of the BIM project by evaluating the goals that were established during the Assessment Phase.
Ensure that the resources and processes are in place and encourage the effective use of technology.
- Recognize the demand for learning new skills, provide coaching and guidance. Provide training resources that raise staff’s skill levels and increase productivity and quality.
- Utilize existing experience, knowledge and technology, encourage sharing of knowledge at all levels. Sharing knowledge by utilizing existing skills, facilitating a culture of technology in the design process.
- Agility is required when developing and implementing any form of change in an organization.
- Position the organization as a leader in the industry through engagement, promotion and marketing initiatives.
As you can see, the two roles are distinctly different and each requires a unique set of skills.When your organization is considering hiring a BIM Manager, consider the skills required and seek out a professional to fill that need. When an organization wants to implement an effective BIM Workflow or analyze their existing utilization of BIM, a specialist is required to be able to do this effectively.
As the demand for Building Information Modeling increases within the AECOO industry and the ever-increasing need for shorter project timelines and budgets, design firms are seriously looking at their production efficiency. Underutilizing BIM, inefficient processes and inconsistent modeling practices have a significant impact on the ability of a firm to reach its maximum potential. Do not hesitate to contact us if you too wish to transform your organization and take full advantage of the potential of BIM.
*AECOO = Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owners and Operators Industry.