What is a BIM Execution Plan?

February 23, 2024

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has modernized the construction industry by providing a collaborative platform to plan, design, and build structures efficiently. Its adoption has improved communication and coordination, but BIM alone will not save a construction project. To reach your goals and benchmarks, you need a BIM execution plan. A BIM execution plan can help keep your project on track and ensure you deliver the intended work, but these can be complicated to enact and have challenges to overcome. 

What is a BIM Execution Plan (BEP)?

A BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is a comprehensive document outlining the specific processes, protocols, and methodologies to implement Building Information Modeling (BIM) on a construction project. It serves as a roadmap for general contractors, detailing the collaborative workflows, data exchange standards, and project-specific BIM requirements to ensure effective coordination, communication, and successful utilization of BIM throughout the project lifecycle. The BEP is crafted in the initial stages of a project, specifically during the preconstruction phase. Typically, the general contractor is responsible for coordinating and implementing this plan.

Key Components of a BIM Execution Plan

BEPs are intricate documents with various specifications, aiming for minimal alterations during the project. Key components include but are not restricted to:

  • Project Information: Overview of project objectives, scope, participants, and timelines.
  • BIM Uses: The specific applications of BIM for the project, encompassing design coordination, clash detection, quantity takeoff, visualization, and facility management.
  • BIM Goals and Objectives: Definition of BIM-related goals aligning with overall project objectives.
  • Level of Development (LOD) Requirements: Specifying required detail and development for project elements at different stages.
  • BIM Standards and Guidelines: Outlines standards, protocols, and guidelines for data exchange, file naming conventions, modeling standards, Level of Design (LOD), and ISO 19650 Level of Information.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Definition of project team members' roles and responsibilities in BIM implementation.
  • Model and Data Sharing Procedures: Description of BIM model and data sharing, management, and exchange among project participants.
  • Software and Hardware Requirements: Identification of necessary BIM software and hardware with compatibility considerations.
  • Collaboration Procedures: Details collaboration procedures, tools, and workflows for disciplines and stakeholders, including clash detection.
  • Quality Control and Assurance: Outlines processes for ensuring quality and accuracy of BIM deliverables across the project lifecycle.
  • Training and Support: Specifies training requirements for project team members and ongoing support for BIM implementation.
  • Project Deliverables: A list of specific BIM deliverables at each project stage, with defined formats and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Legal and Contractual Considerations: This section addresses legal and contractual issues related to BIM implementation, such as intellectual property rights, liability, and insurance.
  • BIM Implementation Schedule: Provides a timeline for BIM process implementation, including how the coordinated BIM model will be used for field layout (manual or automated BIM-driven layout). To enhance the value of your investment in BIM, consider integrating your BIM model directly into the field using the Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter®. Its automated layout capabilities and seamless coordination with BIM software make it highly responsive to model changes, optimizing construction efficiency.

What is the Purpose of a BIM Execution Plan?

A BIM Execution Plan streamlines the digital modeling process and ensures effective coordination among project stakeholders. By defining roles, responsibilities, and collaboration procedures, the BEP enhances communication, minimizes errors, and supports informed decision-making. It is essential for project success, serving as a central document that fosters communication, cooperation, and coordination among participants. 

The BEP's clear guidelines optimize workflows, reduce misunderstandings, and minimize mistakes and costs through standardized BIM methodologies. Adherence to predefined standards enhances accuracy in project documentation and decision-making, preventing delays and ensuring project milestones are met efficiently. The BEP also facilitates quality control through model validation, clash detection, and resolution procedures, contributing to safer construction environments.

How to Create a BIM Execution Plan 

Developing a BIM Execution Plan is a project-specific endeavor that demands customization based on unique project requirements. Here's the basic step-by-step process to guide your custom BEP development:

  1. Define Project Goals: Clearly articulate the project's goals and objectives to provide a shared understanding among all stakeholders.
  2. Identify Key Stakeholders: Determine key stakeholders, including those relevant to specific technologies like Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter if utilized.
  3. Compile Project Details: Gather project details, including budget, timelines, scope, and contact information for project members.
  4. Explore BIM Utilization: Evaluate how BIM can fulfill project objectives by consulting with experts.
  5. Establish BIM Standards: Define BIM standards and guidelines to guide the project's digital modeling processes.
  6. Define Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved in the project.
  7. Agree on Procedural Details: Establish practical details such as standards, tolerance expectations, terminology, and communication protocols.
  8. Specify Deliverables: Clearly outline the required deliverables for the project.
  9. Choose Software: Select appropriate BIM software for the project based on the specific needs.
  10. Create Project Schedule: Develop a project schedule highlighting essential milestones.
  11. Decide Quality Control Procedures: Determine quality control procedures and ensure alignment among all stakeholders.
  12. Regularly Review and Update: Keep the BEP dynamic by regularly reviewing and updating it to adapt to changing project needs.

Understanding BEP Types

Differentiating between types of BIM Execution Plans is crucial for effective planning. There are two primary categories:

  • Pre-Contract BEPs: Developed before contract award, outlining BIM requirements, processes, and standards for pre-construction phases.
  • Post-Contract BEPs: Elaborate on pre-contract BEPs, providing additional details on BIM implementation and construction-specific requirements.

Benefits of a BIM Execution Plan

BEPs offer several perks for construction projects. Think of it like this: having a plan is like preventing issues before they become expensive headaches. It makes coordinating with everyone involved much smoother and ensures everyone is on the same page, preventing costly decisions down the line.

  • Improve Collaboration and Cooperation

A BIM Execution Plan serves as a catalyst for real-time communication and collaboration among all project stakeholders, including architects, contractors, and trades. By clearly delineating tasks and responsibilities for each party, this comprehensive document ensures a shared understanding of roles, fostering coordination and efficiency throughout the construction process. With a clear roadmap of expectations, stakeholders can collaborate more effectively.

Moreover, including automated BIM-driven layout in your BEP brings this cross-trade collaboration and coordination into the field. The Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter allows project stakeholders to identify trade conflicts before construction begins, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Noah Bull, Project Engineer at Level 5 INC, highlights its impact: "We’ve been able to identify issues with MEPs and plumbing before framing starts, saving us a substantial amount of money."

  • Save Time and Money

Utilizing a BEP significantly reduces costs and saves time by minimizing errors and preventing delays. Clearly defined standards and procedures in the BEP enhance the efficiency of project teams, leading to a more streamlined workflow. The detailed information within the BEP allows for a more accurate budget estimate, reducing the risk of unforeseen expenses. Furthermore, a thorough BEP proactively addresses potential issues, diminishing the need for Requests for Information (RFIs) and change orders while clarifying project requirements. 

Incorporating automated multi-trade layout can further optimize construction processes, dramatically reducing layout time

This impact is illustrated by Skanska's experience with a 3-story, 70k square-foot mixed-use medical facility. Utilizing the Dusty FieldPrinter, they trimmed over 3 months from their construction schedule, accelerating layout by 50% with 100% accuracy. According to Skanska, "Collaboration with all trade partners through Dusty Robotics delivered the project nearly three months ahead of schedule, resulting in a cost savings of approximately $3 million for the client."

  • Enhance Quality Control

Implementing a BEP is instrumental in promoting effective quality control within a project. Early coordination with all stakeholders is imperative to prevent costly mistakes and errors. Involving relevant parties from the outset allows for the prompt identification and resolution of potential issues, contributing to the overall smooth execution of the project. 

Including BIM-driven layout in your BEP plays a pivotal role in this quality control process by establishing a single, reliable source of truth for project data, ensuring accuracy and consistency across all project phases. This streamlined approach significantly contributes to more efficient and cost-effective project delivery while eliminating the need for expensive rework.

Top Challenges of a BIM Execution Plan

BEPs are pivotal in construction, but many fail due to unforeseen challenges. Addressing these issues proactively is crucial to prevent BEP failure attributed to plan-related and personnel interaction issues, significantly improving the likelihood of successful BEP implementation. Here are some of the most common challenges:

  • Out-of-Date BEP Document

The dynamic nature of construction introduces the risk of the initial plans in the BIM Execution Plan becoming outdated as the project evolves. Relying solely on sending static BEP copies via email poses the risk of updates not reaching all team members promptly. A single source of truth is crucial to prevent miscommunications, discrepancies in project understanding, and potential deviations from the original plan. 

Solution: To tackle this issue, create a robust system for real-time collaboration and document management, guaranteeing access to the latest BEP version. Keep the BEP updated and hosted in the cloud, providing a link on the first page for convenient access. Allow stakeholders' comments, with the BIM manager guiding discussions before implementing changes. This method fosters collaboration, accessibility, and document consistency, promoting effective decision-making and streamlined coordination throughout the construction process.

  • Overly Detailed BIM Execution Plan

While detail is important, you want to avoid turning the BEP into an overly complex and lengthy document with specialized information relevant only to specific parties. All stakeholders should understand their roles and responsibilities, but excessive detail can lead to errors, complexity, and confusion.

Solution: Ensure the BEP is comprehensible and contains only essential details necessary for coordination. Keep key points concise and clear, particularly those involving multiple stakeholders. Enhance the BEP with diagrams, photos, and videos to improve clarity and accessibility.

  • Team Members Inexperienced with BIM

In certain instances, team members may have limited familiarity with BIM, posing a significant challenge to implementing a successful BEP. Inexperienced team members may struggle to grasp the intricacies of BIM methodologies, hindering efficient collaboration and coordination throughout the project lifecycle. The learning curve for BIM tools and processes can lead to delays, miscommunications, and potential errors.

Solution: Invest in BIM training to ensure that all stakeholders are well-equipped to harness the full potential of BIM methodologies, contributing to a more successful project delivery.  This not only improves project outcomes and reduces errors but also enhances overall productivity. The cost savings and improved project performance resulting from this investment in BIM training outweigh the initial expenses. 

Bring BIM Directly into the Field with Dusty Robotics

While a BIM Execution Plan serves as a roadmap to success, it's crucial to keep it straightforward and updated for optimal effectiveness. The BEP should include clear and concise points and be frequently updated as a single source of truth for all parties. 

An efficient method to achieve this is by employing the Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter to bring the value of BIM directly into the field. By printing updated trade layouts on-site, Dusty eliminates concerns about who has seen the updates or has access to them, as the BIM model is recreated right there on the project floor. This integration further solidifies the advantages of implementing a BEP, guaranteeing that construction aligns with the most current model consistently.

For a practical illustration of Dusty bringing your BEP to life, examine how Turner Construction utilized Dusty to print multi-trade layouts for the 20-story Natural Resources Headquarters project in Sacramento, California. Dusty's contribution eliminated the need for rework, enabling the team to adhere to the original BEP without redoing planned work. 

According to Jim Hull, the senior project manager, "The FieldPrinter has increased layout speed by 5X and provides 100% accuracy, eliminating the need for re-work on Turner projects."

Dusty Robotics Team
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February 23, 2024