Five Things for Owners to Focus on When Preparing BIM Execution Plans

May 06, 2021 0 Comments

A project-specific BIM Execution Plan (BEP, also commonly referred to as a BIMEP or BIMEX) must be developed when implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) on a construction project. A BEP acts as a guide to ensure BIM is utilized correctly throughout a project's lifecycle to achieve desired BIM goals and model uses, optimizing workflow, model flow and defining “who does what, when” in a very fast-paced collaborative team environment. So, how do you begin to write (or manage) a successful BIM Execution Plan?

Our ProactiveBIM™ team has written and managed the implementation of many Building Execution Plans for various types of construction projects and delivery methods. Writing BEP's is not an easy task and always presents new challenges based on the specific nuances and participants of each project. Here are some recommendations to help streamline the process. 

Establish Content Development Guidelines

BEP development scenarios call for a leading voice (ideally, Owners or their consultants) defining how guidelines and parameters are set. These boundaries help establish content requirements for all parties to agree upon when assembling the BIM Execution Plan. It is common for teams to try to complete every detail of the plan before official adoption. Unfortunately, this tends to extend the plan implementation and overall design process and distract from the necessary adoption of processes designated by the BEP to begin modeling. It is recommended that a baseline BEP be adopted as early as practical, with subsequent updates occurring quarterly (or as needed) to facilitate coordination and maintain the relevance of the document as the project progresses and new team members (design consultants, trade partners, design-build subcontractors, etc.) are added. Content Management is essential to maintaining and organizing the document throughout the implementation process. 

Establish Document Change Management Processes

BEPs are living documents that must have the flexibility to maintain relevance throughout design and construction changes at all phases of the project. It is therefore imperative that the BEP requires approval from all contributing parties, for the baseline BEP as well as any updates. This necessary consensus creates a complexity that requires exceptional document change management and version control. Even if you are not part of the Owner's team, tracking these changes (rejections/approvals/modifications proposed by all parties) will drive the process forward through efficient communication, maintaining clear expectations for all involved.

Write Concisely

BIM Execution Plans communicate processes, procedures, and expectations for the whole project team. It is imperative to utilize concise writing to eliminate ambiguity in the agreed requirements and responsibilities of project members. Quality writing is imperative. Employing an editor experienced in technical specification writing and proofreading can help eliminate unnecessary content and verify references and exhibits/attachments are correct. 

Keep Communication and Trust

Maintaining transparency while resolving frequently competing agendas, projects benefit from an experienced facilitator to fairly mediate and document each party’s requirements and get concurrence for the agreed-upon baseline BEP and all future updates. Maintaining trust between all team members during BEP collaboration will enhance relationships and expedite desired BIM outcomes in the long term.  

Do your Research

Each project is unique in its requirements, so it is not uncommon to encounter unfamiliar technical content and new processes. BIM is, after all, a very rapidly evolving landscape that merges hardware, software and human process development. Fortunately, there are resources available to help educate project teams on topics that may seem obscure. More specifically, there are countless reference materials to help with creating quality BEP’s and BIM Standards. The following links will get you started: 

·         BIM Execution Plans That Are Actually Executable

·         PSU BIM Planning Guides

·         BuildingSMART alliance Project Execution Planning Guide

·         GSA BIM Execution Plan

·         Standards: Writing World Class Standards