How To Achieve A Lean BIM Process


We mapped out the BIM Management workflow and found these “6 BIM Wastes” you must target to increase your BIM efficiencies:

  1. Scope Waste
  2. Model Waste
  3. Poor Design
  4. Waiting
  5. Rework
  6. BIM Admin

BIM professionals hear conversations like this on a regular basis:

Jennifer (the Building Owner):

“…but I thought that BIM was going to save time and money on our project?!? 

Ben (the Project Manager):

“unfortunately we experienced many clashes and we had to rebuild many parts of the model due to owner changes”

In order to support a Lean Construction workflow, we applied Value Stream Mapping to BIM Management – attempting to find some of the main causes of waste in the BIM workflow.

We uncovered these 6 causes of waste and have also (over the last two years) attempted to fight each of them – more details in this blog: The 4 Steps To A Smart Lean BIM Workflow

Let’s introduce The 6 BIM Wastes


The first – with possibly the largest ripple effect – is “poor model scoping”.

“We see that contracting to an incorrect, overly detailed, or even an overly general BIM scope can be disastrous!” 

Poor BIM scoping results in miscommunication between Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners (AECOs) and this leads to teams taking on an undefined level of risk.

For a useful scope we must first define the end use case(s) (coordination, visualization, 4D-5D, layout, etc) – more on that in this webinar: Top 3 BIM Steps To Please Your Owner


Complex BIM Project

The second example of wasted BIM is due to overlapping modeling with duplicate effort, sometimes by two different teams modeling the same set of elements.

Wasted modeling effort can also be seen if the exact method of modeling, based on the defined end use, is not clear. For example: a cast in place concrete slab/wall with embedded beams/columns – how should this be modeled for the correct concrete/reinforcement amounts?

We can also experience waste with gaps in modeling – missing BIM scope can also cause significant disruption.


The third is defects causes by bad modeling and also “bad-good modeling” – usually caused by out-of-sequence work.

The example below shows where this has occured on the left – even though there are no clashes – the re-routing of the pipe over the cable tray – is certainly the most expensive option. This is certainly not supporting a lean construction workflow!

Lean Construction BIM

On the left is an example of “bad-good modeling”

“Unfortunately doing the wrong thing really really well can sometimes feel like a rewarding challenge!” 😜

Knowing who has priority using a System Priority Structure (explained in this post) is extremely important.

We also advocate for using the Last Planner approach and running Pull Planning sessions (using pull planning sticky notes printed directly from LOD Planner) with the team- more on that here: VIDEO: 5 Lean BIM Lessons


The fouth is simply ……….waiting.

Waiting for people, model deliverables, decisions, approvals, information, etc – all of this is waste. Happens too often but an easy one to identify.

Learn more about how smaller batches help here: VIDEO: 5 Lean BIM Lessons


The fifth is REWORK!

Doing something for the second or third (or more!) time is just pure evil.

It’s mostly those pesky clashes.

Share models and follow a System Priority Structure to avoid this!

Lean construction requires a fully coordinated model from day 1.


The sixth is the frustrating BIM administration burden.

Managing the models, the software, the processes, the people, the training, the drones, the VR, AR, MR…

It’s a lot – sometimes it can make us feel like this guy – can’t it?:

A recent study from PlanGrid and FMI Identifies Factors Costing the Construction Industry More Than $177 Billion Annually.

It’s true that if we can reduce/eliminate these 6 BIM Wastes we will be in a much better position to support lean construction workflows and save significant amounts of money.

…but as we see, just “using BIM” doesn’t automatically translate into savings …and won’t without clearly defined BIM goals and BIM plans to achieve them.

We discuss the solutions to all of these wastes in our blog here: The 4 Steps To A Smart Lean BIM Workflow

Here is a video extract from a recent webinar where we discuss the 6 BIM Wastes:

Find out more?

BIM Execution Plan


Visual LOD Matrix

BIM Scope

BIM Management

BIM Track

Create your Free BIM Execution Plan now:

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