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What Is a BIM Execution Plan and What Should It Include?

 

  • Building information modeling (BIM) has changed the way most architecture, engineering and construction professionals plan, design, build, and operate a structure.
  • The adoption of BIM has increased over the last decade — from limited awareness in 2011 to nearly universal awareness and 73 percent use in 2020.\
  • A detailed plan is required to bring the BIM methodology and model to life. That’s where a BIM execution plan comes in, keeping all stakeholders connected and updated on any challenges or changes along the way.

 

What Is a BIM Execution Plan and What Should It Include?

If you’re new to BIM or want to learn more about implementing BIM execution plans, we have you covered. In this blog post, we’ll answer:

  • What is a BIM execution plan (BEP)?

  • Who needs a BEP?

  • What are the two types of plans?

  • What are the key elements of a successful BEP?

 

What is a BIM Execution Plan?

A BIM Execution Plan (BEP), also known as a BIM Implementation Plan, is a comprehensive document that helps project participants move forward with clear roles and expectations. A BEP is an essential element to create before beginning any construction project, especially for those that are large or complex with many collaborators.

Through clear roles, responsibilities and real-time communication, a BEP keeps all in sync while ensuring construction stays on track. This is vital when adhering to tight schedules. A thoughtful plan also makes sure details don’t fall through the cracks or become last-minute change orders that cause delays.

A thorough a BEP is a powerful project accountability tool that keeps work moving forward throughout the various phases of planning and construction. A well-coordinated project starts with a well-crafted BEP.

 

Why AEC firms should have one a BIM Execution Plan

Communication is key in any collaborative project, and this certainly holds true in the construction industry. An AEC firm working on a large project plays an important role, but is still only one cog in a larger machine. A BIM Execution Plan can ensure that every player and stakeholder knows the part they should be playing and when — as well as what — to expect from other individuals, teams and organizations.

 

What information is included in the plan?

There is a lot of information that should be included in a BEP, including:

  • How the data in the actual BIM files should be generated, managed, documented and shared
  • Elements such as agreed roles and responsibilities within the BIM process
  • A strategy for key deliverables and a guide to vital project milestones. 
  • Project Execution Plans and Task Information Delivery Plans that demonstrate when information will be prepared, who is responsible for doing what, and which protocols and procedures they will use
  • Practical working procedure details (such as file name conventions and software used), as well as a common set of annotations, abbreviations and symbols to be used in the BIM process.

 

Types of BIM Execution Plans

There are two types of BIM execution plans: The pre-contract and the post-contract BIM plan. Information they contain will vary based on type.

 

1. Pre-contract BIM Plan

Pre-contract implementation plans are the initial plans presented during the tendering stage. The supplier will set out their proposed approach, capacity and other details. The exact details contained in the pre-contract plan may be formulated by the supplier, or it may address requirements set out by the employer in a document such as Employer's Information Requirements (EIR).

 

2. Post-contract BIM Plan

Once the contract is given, a further BIM Implementation Plan will be drawn up (i.e. the “post-contract BIM plan”) to confirm supply chain capabilities and to fix details moving forward. A master plan can also be added. Individual Task Information Delivery Plans can be used to further show who is responsible for each strand of information being delivered.

 

The benefits of having a BIM Implementation Plan

A BIM Implementation Plan can provide a number of key benefits. As a guiding document that helps different members of the team identify and execute the function BIM provides in the various phases of the project, it can help everyone stay on the same page and present a clear plan of goals and targets every step of the way.

  • Stronger communication

Having a plan in place encourages early communication. It also establishes who is responsible for communicating information along different stages of production, while prescribing responsibilities in certain areas.

  • Alignment on standards and collaboration

This is particularly important for large or international projects, where different regions might have different protocols, standards or regulations. International teams can collaborate via a single plan, preventing the creation of silos and multiple plans or ideas on how to do things that might not all fit together.

  • Save a lot of time

It might take time to put the plan together, but once it is up and running, it will set out key deliverables, procedures and other information that will streamline the BIM process and keep everyone moving forward. This can save a lot of time in the long run.

 

7 Elements of a good BIM Execution Plan

An efficient, effective BEP sets your team and project up for success, while avoiding miscommunications and needless delays. Elements of a good plan include:

  1. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities of each team and organization

  2. Strategic planning, BIM scope definitions and defined key deliverables

  3. Project milestones and a realistic timeline

  4. Project goals/BIM objectives

  5. Model quality control procedures

  6. Project reference information, including key project contacts

  7. Working procedures

    • File-naming conventions

    • Construction tolerance expectations

    • Project’s approach to annotations, abbreviations and symbols

    • Technology infrastructure needs, including hardware and software used

    • BIM iteration management

    • Data transfer management

 

Need help getting started? Check out these guides to planning your BIM Implementation Plan from Penn State College of Engineering, the Building and Construction Authority and Intermodel EU.