Common Methods to Develop and Update BIM Execution Plans Owners Should Understand

June 18, 2021 0 Comments

BIM Execution Plans (BEPs) are living documents that require regular updates so project personnel can successfully and efficiently implement and coordinate Building Information Modeling (BIM) on construction projects. The BEP helps ensure that the advanced technologies correctly optimize workflow and model flow throughout the project's lifecycle. Each team partner contributes to the BEP as it is designed and created to communicate processes and procedures for the whole project team. The plan must be developed and updated collaboratively to ensure the BEP is useful and transparent to all parties. The three most common methods of updating include:

1. File-Based Distribution

2. Collaborative Platform

3. Third-Party Administrator 


 File-Based Distribution

Typically, for File-Based Distribution, the entire project team will schedule and attend regular meetings to develop and update the BIM Execution Plan. A BIM Manager will represent each company. Usually, each team prepares a BEP template that is collaboratively integrated into one master document during the initial meetings. After the accumulation of the preliminary document, each company receives a copy for review. Each BIM manager will either approve the document or request changes pertaining to its work. If a change is requested, the process restarts, and each team must meet again to discuss the BIM Execution Plan. This informs all project personnel of any changes made to the document to maintain transparency. This process repeats until all BIM Managers reach an agreement that the BEP is finalized and sign the document. Later additions and updates (BEPs should be updated regularly to reflect changes in workflow and responsibility) to the BEP will have to go through the same review process. It is common to receive requests for new additions before reaching agreements on previous document changes – which can unnecessarily extend the approval process (and cost to develop the BEP) if owners are unable or reluctant to manage the process and maintain strict collaborative protocols and version control. For this reason, File-Based Distribution is losing favor compared to more streamlined BEP approaches.

Collaborative Platform

 In a Collaborative Platform, each team partner agrees to use one digital collaborative platform to create and update the BIM Execution Plan. GoogleDocs or OneNote can be used to discuss changes made to the document – these are great collaboration tools. Project management platforms like Basecamp or Asana can manage review and approval assignments. Like the File-Based Distribution method, the documents must be discussed in meetings and approved through a collaborative review process. This method leverages newer technology and software to increase efficiencies to document creation, editing, and version control. However, the process must still be managed to achieve efficient consensus and acceptance.  If project owners do not have the requisite in-house expertise to manage this effort, it can become cumbersome and unwieldy, with the Owner becoming a bottleneck to completion.

Third-Party Administrator

Working on behalf of an Owner, a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) will plan, guide, and facilitate the creation and review process of the BEP. Each team will submit content and / or changes that the third-party administrator will compile and review. By utilizing a TPA, the process is efficiently guided by a BIM expert with the Owner's goals in mind, making the TPA the lynchpin between individual team members and the overall project.  Use of a TPA can also provide corollary ROI: Standardized documentation across multiple projects, single-source accountability, efficient document templates and hosting platforms, leading-edge hardware/software access, knowledge of industry best practices, etc.


Applying one of these three methods when developing and updating a BIM Execution Plan is important as they create a more collaborative and streamlined process. If project teams fail to collaborate efficiently and regularly update the document, the BEP will no longer be relevant and useful. If an owner is uncomfortable managing this process or lacks the bandwidth or technical BIM expertise, utilizing a TPA is often the most practical and efficient option to achieve desired project goals.