Procurement through Collaborative BIM
There are several key steps in Collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM) procurement for clients, and these stem from the central premise that they should « start with the end (of the project lifecycle) in mind.
- Identifying and prioritizing key BIM assets
- Defining and developing processes that support each BIM asset
- Identifying information exchanges for each process
- Implementing BIM workflows and processes.
Collaboration required over the entire lifecycle of a project. Collaborative working and procurement need to improve in tandem with increased BIM adoption and maturity. To achieve these standards need to be harmonized, and contracts were delivering it advanced.
BIM has to relate to international, national, regional and local standards with a final aim to be relevant to all projects. The quest for international standard harmonization explored in this white paper series, and the quest to advance the use of collaborative contracts is explored further here following an explanation of the benefits and challenges of collaborative BIM during the procurement phase.
The Benefits of Collaborative BIM during the Procurement Phase
There are multiple benefits of early planning or adoption of collaborative BIM:
- Project sequencing optimization: collaborative BIM enables information to be created at the right time and avoiding the need to reprocess information unnecessarily.
- Data-asset alignment: project data classification aligned with an employer’s asset management system, so that even if BIM objects not populated with operational data until later, they can be readily linked up to existing data structures.
- Visualization: enhanced display technologies, including the use of AR and VR, can enable whole teams to simultaneously collaborate in the review of a project’s digital model but also of the construction process to be visualized ahead of being built
- Health and Safety: collaborative BIM methods and technologies foster improvements in construction health and safety, by helping to improve interdisciplinary team communication, reducing risk and the likelihood of security related omissions and construction errors.
- Waste reduction: working within a shared data environment, can give carbon savings facilitated by the use of mobile onsite technologies.
The Challenges of Collaborative BIM during the Procurement Phase
Complexity: Procurement is complex with various supply routes depending on the client, their scale, sector, stage of maturity and attitude to risk. Inefficient procurement processes curtail actual productivity gains. Challenging these ingrained processes will improve productivity through the use of openly-shared digital models.
Reluctance to change: Collaborative working has historically met with skepticism and reluctance to undertake change from traditional work practices often representing the lowest price and an adversarial approach. Honesty, openness, and trust are relational attributes that represent a cultural shift in the industry, but these achieved through a program of collaborative working via integrated digital models.
Robust client advice required: Clients needs are advised appropriately by consultants conversant with methods of collaborative BIM to enable them to make informed choices and have the ability to deliver the planned uses of a digital model.
Client skills and BIM maturity: the success of collaborative BIM on a project can depend on the capability of the team and the maturity of the customer’s systems. This situation, operations within the client body can be fragmented especially among asset creation, asset management, and facilities management teams. Short-term planning strategies may also prevail, through the stage-by-stage appointment of project teams. Beyond this, end users may not be defined, particularly in commercial and leisure projects where tenant/operators not involved at the outset of projects. A critical role becomes one of a digital integrator, serving clients by coordinating stakeholders and progressing through the necessary levels of detail and information.
Inefficient information transfer: data transfer causes the most inefficiency affecting outcome and cost, whether due to limitations in technology or lack of a collaborative framework to bring all the necessary skills together when needed.
Collaborative BIM Procurement Opportunity
Clearly with the uptake of BIM and spread of skills in it, there is an opportunity to adapt to procurement processes to provide improved construction information management support.
This support can start with the creation of shared data environment aligned with the principles of BS PAS 1192 documentation to allow model-based information-sharing integrated into the collaborative BIM procurement process.
Incorporating the principles of soft landings and adopting more collaborative supply models, delivery formats, and contracts, including partnering, frameworks, strategic alliances and so on will create the needed efficiencies.
Organizations can agree to collaborate having identified benefits by aligning their purchasing power and resources to deliver financial savings and efficiencies without affecting their service quality.
Next Steps in Collaborative BIM Procurement
Collaborative procurement as standard
We are entering an era where partnering, frameworks, strategic alliances and the like, supported by a clear set of systems (such as a two-stage open-book process, two-stage collaborative contract) and an integrated team combined with integrated design contributions can generate undeniable benefits that can overcome any challenges provoked.
Understand BIM and collaborative working better, and it is important to place them in a procurement and contracting context.
The UK Government Construction Strategy recommended that public projects adopt collaborative procurement routes and collaborative forms of contract to facilitate integrated design and management.
Partnering, frameworks, strategic alliances and the like are here to stay, and their potential for meaningful relationships will start to build more connectivity around workload and capacity, as well as give financial reward linked to performance. A single collaborative procurement process to suit all is unlikely, due to project, client and market diversity. Ensuring the importance of information models is the common cause, regardless of how stakeholders contracted.
Focus on Client BIM Capability
Whether or not government BIM mandates or guidance focus primarily on centrally procured projects meaning they are biased towards larger projects or whether or not more major contractors have more resources to support the BIM implementation. Estimated that only 25% of tenders, regardless of contractor size include Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) with specific data needs clearly set out. These data stats points to a wider need to address client capabilities around BIM.
IndiaCADworks provides comprehensive BIM services relevant to all project phases, including during the procurement phase when standards and contracts need to be aligned with collaborative BIM methodologies and techniques to enable meaningful relationships to develop as well as enhance client capability.