BIM Execution Plan Example
Some fantastic BEP insights from LOD Planner customer Bernards Construction!
In these two videos we hear from Bernards Construction about how they manage their BIM projects and hear what to include in a BIM Execution Plan (BEP).
Part 1 (Interview)
How to manage your BIM workflow
Part 2 (Demo)
Example BIM Execution Plan (BEP)
Clive: So today we’ve got Darren Roos from Bernards who is going to talk about their BIM Journey. So just to open Darren, maybe you can start by sharing a little bit about why you’re leading BIM at Bernards?
Darren: So it probably boils down to… I’m the best they could find for the budget that they had 😃
We are a southern California based General Contractor. The culture of the company has always been based on technology and I have been someone who has been a fan and pursuer of technology – so it felt like a great match.
Clive: Is there a way you can breakdown Bernard’s BIM journey into phases or milestones and achievements?
Darren: I think when they started using BIM it was more for project pursuits – creating a lot of models and animations to help them win work. Back then, 10 years ago you may not have received models from the architect so there was a lot of model creation in the department.
Clive: Through the 6 years you’ve been there – what would be the major BIM uses you’re using or adopting?
Darren: We have a diverse portfolio – we do education, multi-family, healthcare and sports and the major thing we found was that every project was different.
The way you approach BIM on a job, the way you do BIM, the type of subcontractors and even the type of Architects you’re working with.
Since we can’t build a standard that works for every single project – how could we have at least a standard process of making BIM match the specific project we are going after so we can make sure we are using the right tool for the right project.
When we started we were our own BIM Department – we were in our own silo. If people needed information from a model they would go to the BIM Department. My goal was to change this so that BIM becomes a culture for the company and it’s a tool that everyone can use.
The BIM Department is a resource to help train them on the new things that come out and maybe answer questions but really a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the people on the project.
A lot of our processes have been training, organizing information in places that people can find them easily.
Clive: Could you describe what group of tools you use?
Darren: We use Revit mostly for modeling. Navisworks for coordination and planning.
“Of course we use LOD Planner from the very beginning to help talk about the chaos of information and understanding of which way to go – we use LOD Planner to reel all that in”
We use BIM Track for our clash detection and our coordination. We also use a lot of virtual reality as a training tool with our teams and different programs that go along with that too.
Clive: What are some of the main challenges you see in the industry and specifically on projects you’re working on?
Darren: As a General Contractor (GC) we may forget is that our subcontractors are working with a dozen other Contractors and each General Contractor has a different way of doing things.
We just assume that we they know our way and that they are going to follow our way.
I think if a subcontractor is slammed with a lot of projects they are probably going to work on the one that’s easiest.
“The easier I can make communication with my subcontractors the more I’m going to get them invested into my project”
“I also know that if i can get them in and have a clear understanding to get their job done and get out – they are going to want to work for me again in the future”
One of the biggest challenges is how do we make things easy for every and make it a good experience so that everyone can be efficient in what they are doing.
Clive: What other risks do you find challenging if you do not have the right communication?
Darren: If something is not clear within a BID – a subcontractor will not want to take that risk on themselves, so to cover themselves they will pad their number. Clear communication goes along way in helping them sharpen their pencil to give a good number.
Clive: So what are some of the things that you’re doing to communicate a clear plan
Darren: In the early days the answer to that was a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) – a rule book that you can give to everybody that states exactly how were going to run the project.
We took the Penn State guideline and tried to pull everything we could from that – we had a lot of owners with their own versions and would pick and pull some of the parts that we liked and create our own but it became a very large and very complicated document.
BIM Management Tools:
Clive: What were the tool sets you used to use for managing a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) document.
Darren: It was a word document that became too large and we knew if people wanted to see something they would not want to read through an 80 page document.
We tried multiple word documents with hyperlinks to try and minimize where they go to get information. That’s what we did until:
“We found LOD Planner and then the heavens opened and the Choir sang!” 😃
Clive: So how has LOD Planner changed your workflow?
Darren: It [LOD Planner] has made things so much easier.
“With the paper copy [of the BIM Execution Plan] we found that it took so much effort to add all this information – we tried to make it as easy as possible – we gave it to people at BIM Kickoff meetings but then it gets lost – it becomes another document that just gets placed in a drawer or a site somewhere that no one can find”.
Information in it changes and it becomes a big maintenance challenge to change and redistribute it.
This [LOD Planner] has taken away all of those challenges – it’s in a place that everyone can access. It’s a single click – they can put the shortcut on their toolbar or on their screen to get to it.
“It’s easy to put together, it’s easy to organize, it’s easy to view, easy to customize and it’s easy to invite people. It’s changed the way we share information with our projects”
It’s more than just BIM now. Before we used to say “We use Navisworks on this project” but now we can add a video that says “this is how we are going to use navisworks on this project”. It has also become a training tool.
Clive: What are some of the things you have now and didn’t have before with your BIM Execution Plans (BEP)?
Darren: One of the things I really like right off the top is the contact list. We want our subcontractors and team members to talk to each other. We want them to resolve things outside of meetings.
It’s hard for them to talk to each other if they don’t remember names or remember who is working for each company. The team list allows you to click on the name and get their phone number and email quickly. “The contact list has been extremely helpful making it easier for teams to communicate with each other”.
There is a lot of different tools a project uses and we expect our subcontractors to go to a sharepoint site to upload and download their drawings. We expect them to go to their BIM track site to access their clashes and issues.
Within a sharepoint site there may be folders within folders where we want them to upload models.
“At the top of the LOD Planner Plan Module we have a Plan Section called “Frequently Accessed Links”.
We understand the subcontractors are on different projects and if they ask “where does Bernards save their file or download? – it’s right there on the Plan.”
Clive: Is there anything you’re now doing differently or maybe not including as before?
Darren: We were able to take out a lot of stuff by consolidating it into videos – demonstrating something in a video is a lot easier than explaining it with text.
Clive: What other things are you able to cut or add by using the platform?
Darren: One thing we have transferred into a better way is using your scope tool. In the past a large portion of the BIM Execution Plan was about defining the scope of a project or models.
People reading through all that paper document just to try and find out what size conduit they need to model on their project can waste a lot of time.
Also regarding bids – if they (subcontractors) do not have an understanding of what they’re expected to model they will just add more money to their price.
Having the Scope tool to help identify what we want in a model or even better – work with them and ask what they need in their models so when others are in the field installing they will not get in your way.
We don’t want to force a BIM to be created – we say that “you’re modeling” to save that space in a building so when you go install – you can just get in and get out. We ask “What component do you need from others to make your life easier?”.
“We can build a scope as a team and have a clear understanding of what everyone is responsible for”
Clive: Has a collaborative approach when creating scope helped minimize risk?
Darren: Yes – unfortunately in the past it has been a problem, people interpret their scope differently.
So when we ask for something that they didn’t expect it becomes very awkward when trying to close-out a project and a deliverable is handed over to the owner and they say “this is not what I expected” and we have to go back to our subcontractors.
No one wants to reopen a project when they have already finished it.
“The [LOD Planner] Scope tool has taken away a lot of those bad experiences.”
The responsibility of a scope can vary too – at the beginning of a project we may use the designers light fixtures. At a certain phase that does turn over to the subcontractors light fixture and maybe at the end of the project a part of the scope may go back to the architect.
There has always been confusion when handing over the scope during the project.
Clive: How do you generally approach starting or kicking off a BIM Execution Plan?
Darren: We typically start with a simple “Back Bone”.
We ask that everyone read through it and if there is something in a section they would like to add to write it in as a comment.
For example when it comes to milestones and they have a long lead time item – they can add it in a comment and we can then incorporate that into it.
Commenting Feature: “It gives people a sense of ownership – If they feel like they help build and create it then it gets them to use it and defend it”
Demo – BIM Execution Plan Example:
Darren: The team list has been very helpful. Having the logos next to the teams goes a long way.
Branding is everything – it’s something when somebody sees they know that represents the team they’re working for. “Having a brand (logos) adds another sense of ownership”.
“We do print to have an archived version – but no one uses the print. It has really been accepted to go straight to the online version”.
Ordering the important aspects of the BIM Execution Plan:
Darren: On this project we had confusion on how we were tracking issues. This is something that people were forgetting because it was further down in our BEP. It was one click away to simply move it right to the top. “Now when they open the project up it’s easier for them to see and follow because it’s right there”
Hyperlinking your BIM Execution Plan:
We typically record coordination meetings using Gotomeeting. If someone could not make the meeting we add the meeting hyperlinks within a Plan Section to make available for everyone. We also upload the coordination report within the plan section to make those accessible as well.
Another section created is a “Frequently Accessed Links”. They can click on these links to access some of the most popular links / software they need to access. This saves them from saving all kinds of shortcuts or cluttering their desktop.
“The only link they need on their desktop now is LOD Planner – once they get into that they can get to everything else”.
“We know that everyone values this for the information we have because as soon as a new team member is added – the first thing they do is send us an email asking to add more team members on LOD Planner.”
Updating the BEP:
Darren: We have a section with our key milestones. As you can see the dates have changed. A PDF version would be a lot more difficult to revise those dates and redistribute.
Adding comments to the BIM Execution Plan:
Darren: Everyone has access to comment – if they have equipment with a long lead time that will prevent that date they can add a comment for us to reference. This pulls it out of an email where not everyone else can see it. Inserting information in here makes it that transparent.
We use Hyperlinks (seen in red) to list the specification right inside the BIM Execution Plan.
We also have Project Goals and Project Software sections
Adding videos to your BEP!:
Darren: One of the first things we have is an introduction to LOD Planner explaining some of the basics of LOD Planner.
We don’t have to create these videos ourself – we can also include videos from companies we are working with or if there’s something else on youtube.
“It makes it really easy to share those videos”.
We also include the text information below for those who do not like watching videos.
Clive: How was this information distributed before?
Darren: Before, we would do a live demo during the Kickoff meeting and hope that they could retain by memory what they had learned.
“Before folder paths were just typed out from folder to folder. Within a week we would get emails saying “Where do I get the CAD files?”.
“Ever since we’ve been doing this we do not get these emails anymore – people know where to find things”
If I do, it’s very rare, but if I do – I send them a direct link of where that is on LOD Planner and it takes them directly to that section. Now that they’re in LOD Planner they say “Oh! It has this and this in here too!”
More than likely the members who are asking this question was not part of the kickoff meeting and they did not know that all of this information was right there.
“It makes it really easy to get new people up to speed”
Like I said we use BIMTrack for the project, here’s the Model Origin Section, File Naming Structure and Instructions on how to upload and download models.
We have a section describing how to use Navisworks. This is where we use the videos we created explaining how to open a model, how to color the model, identify clashes, also how to use BIM Track within the model.
“These different training videos have been really powerful in helping people understand what OUR specific process is for thing we do during a meeting and things we hope people are doing in between meetings.”
Clive: Are you using the Approval feature?
Darren: No, but I’m glad you brought it up cause now I will! I learn something everytime I talk with you!
Discussing the LOD Level of Development Scoping Module:
Darren: On this project there are somethings that the Architect started with then the General Contractor (GC) was going to do in the construction phase and then the Architect will do the final phase.
We also use the scope to identify the scope for the design team, for us (GC) and for the subcontractors.
Clive: The BIM Execution Plans you’ve created historically – have they always included a scope?
Darren: Yes – but they were just written paragraphs. It was difficult to fit everything in there. It became a little bit vague and open to interpretation.
“We love the graphical view of LOD Planner. To be able to see the pictures, add the notes, add the Level of Development (LOD), add who the element is assigned to. It makes it really clear”
Clive: Have you had any situations where unclear scope has caused challenges?
Darren: Absolutely – it’s always the end of the project where we are trying to button it up and turn as-built models over. It’s always the worst time in the project to try and decide what everybody owes at the end of the job. Everyone has gone through their budget, has begun working on their next project, their resources are already allocated to other jobs and the last thing people remember about working with you is that close out period.
The last thing you want to do is burn your bridges with someone during that phase. You work hard over a 2 year project to only get them upset at the end because of a BIM requirement. It wastes a two year relationship.
“By having these expectations clear from the beginning and getting it done and out of the way early creates that good experience and happy relationship at the end of the day”
Clive: What advice do you have those who are just getting started with BIM when trying to create these plans?
Darren: I believe the best advice I can give is to not feel like you have to do everything.
“What I love about LOD Planner is that you don’t have to use every part of the app to have a successful project”
You can start small – we started with just using the Plan Module and just started growing from there. “It’s not intimidating – it’s very easy to use, it’s very easy to understand”.
Clive: Thanks for sharing your feedback and demonstration Darren!
Darren: “Thank you so much for this tool that really has made life easier. Thank you for all the work you guys put it to this and continue to put into it.”
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