BIM Execution Plans: Effective Content Management

July 29, 2021 2 Comments


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BIM Execution Plans: Effective Content Management

In the early 2000s, the BIM Project Execution Planning Guide was published at Penn State University to streamline BIM planning for an entire project. Their process and research depended on current systems and procedures tested in the field. Findings concluded that when a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is created higher in the chain of project authority, it was more successful. The construction Owner is at the top of that project authority chain.  Therefore, Owners can significantly improve the BIM process on their projects by facilitating the creation of BEP directly. Three critical phases occur so Owners and other project personnel can effectively manage content in the BIM Execution Plan:

  1. Creation of the Document
  2. Adoption of the Document
  3. Updating the Document

Ideally, BEP content is closely monitored and reviewed at least quarterly to determine if any updates are required. Frequent monitoring ensures the document remains relevant as the project progresses and as beneficial new technology is introduced.

Document Creation

The first phase of content management occurs before creating the baseline BIM Execution Plan. The development of company-wide BIM standards and BEP templates should be completed before BEP creation. The templates act as a wireframe with numbered sections, so the team can easily add content to the document. By implementing standards and templates, you can standardize your BIM Execution Plans across projects and easily resource-specific sections of the plan. This also creates continuity for internal project teams and established partners who work with you across multiple projects. Document storage in a single location is also essential during the creation process so that Owners and their consultants can control data input and versioning. This file management structure is efficient and project personnel know exactly where to find specific content when creating and updating the BEP.

It is crucial to have an expert, whether in-house or outsourced, involved in the creation process to avoid process and content mistakes that can undermine BEP reliability. A good BIM Execution Plan should be a functional document that is easily accessible. If model analyzers or managers cannot access information quickly and/or lose confidence in the document's authority, the BEP becomes cumbersome and inefficient; this could potentially lead team members to look elsewhere for information. Early content management is critical to successful BEP implementation and use throughout the life of the project.

Document Adoption

When the initial BIM Execution Plan is finalized, all parties must review and approve the document for adoption by the project team. It may be necessary to modify the document as the approval process progresses. These changes must be agreed upon and tracked, as well. Without clearly tracked agreement on document changes and tight version control, administrative delays can occur as the document progresses through the review process for the change to become official. Depending on the development method, the BEP may travel from one company lead to another – each adding/editing proposed changes – and then be returned to the original reviewer for final review and incorporation into the master BEP file. When project personnel cannot efficiently collaborate to resolve proposed changes, the BEP development timeline can extend exponentially. The longer it takes to approve and adopt the plan, the higher likelihood new processes and procedures will need to be developed and added. This can create an inefficient review cycle that diminishes the document's accuracy and can render the BEP outdated or unreliable. Each project team will have varying degrees of experience and comfort level when creating BEPs. Resources are available to assist in this process, including third-party experts who can help navigate these vulnerabilities across all projects. An expert facilitator can expedite the adoption process, helping project personnel successfully implement the BEP.

 Document Updating

Once the initial BEP adoption is complete, attention turns toward updating the document.  Deadlines should be established for proposed content modifications. As above, a facilitator is recommended to expedite and manage content updating. A system that defines the document flow and process of submittal, review, approval, and adoption must be established prior to updating. Proactively managing this process is crucial to tracking document changes and version control (which may also be relevant and provide efficiencies on other concurrent projects). There are several methods of update content management, including e-mail transmittal, template forms, or document management software. Regardless of method, establishing a pre-planned deadline for the final adoption of all updates creates accountability for all parties.

It is essential that team members proactively manage BEP content throughout the entirety of a project. By doing so, the BIM Execution Plan remains relevant and useful, guiding project personnel to successfully achieve project BIM goals and maintaining model reliability for planned future uses.


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