Time to be a BIM leader


It’s time to be a leader; time to take control of this BIM rollercoaster and set it on the right course.

To quote Wesley Benn “Is BIM Better… er… er?” Currently there are a lot of misconceptions in BIM and too much leaping before looking. As BIM advocates and innovators we need to educate our teams so that they can learn to harness BIM strategies instead of being overwhelmed.

“A leader has to bend and shape his or her leadership so people can be encouraged, engaged, energized, and mobilized in a way that works for each of them individually. It is not easy, but it does pay off.”

Mark Kiker, AUGI World, October 2014

So let’s get started… but how? The best way I know is to break the process down into manageable chunks.

Step one: Create an implementation plan that sets a clear path to BIM.

  1. Teach the proper definition of BIM to all staff. Many teams get stuck thinking that BIM is just software instead of a holistic project management system.  Using a 3D modelling tool is not BIM; using 3D modelling software that allows users to design a building and access building information from a database IS BIM
  1. Create a BIM curriculum for Lunch and Learns. I was able to tailor the curriculum based on my conversations with staff members. By laying out a curriculum based on staff knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of BIM, I was able to target their weak areas and present to their skill level. Each topic was presented at a lunch time session and recorded for those that missed the original presentation.

 An sample BIM curriculum:

1.       Understanding BIM and its uses.

2.       How to start your project using BIM

3.       BIM Tools

4.       BIM Design Methods

5.       Standardized Documentations

6.       Multidisciplinary Coordination

7.       Sustainability and LEED

8.       Extending BIM Beyond Design

Step two: Become an integral part of the project kick-off or project execution plan.

  1. If your company does not have a project start or execution plan, it’s time to put one together. BIM belongs on the table before any project starts, prior to software being used. The choice to use BIM will affect the information within the model, how the project will interact with all members of the team and the project requirements.
  1. Get the project team thinking about using BIM tools and working towards BIM execution requirements. Often teams don’t realize that BIM is just as powerful during the design phase as it is during documentation. During the design phase the team can link the 3D model to cost estimating software, allowing real time changes that keep the project on budget and on time.

Step three: Don’t let the tools or the idea of BIM get in the way.

My job as a Design Technology Manager is to make sure BIM is easily implemented and that users are able to use these tools effectively. Technology and how BIM is used is continually advancing, make sure you keep an ear to the ground and keep up with technology for Architecture.

Now lets all go out there and get everyone on the right road, stop all this BIM madness.

Time to stop the BIM madness

I received an email last week asking me for some advice on BIM Requirements in a contract. I guess I should say lack of BIM Requirements in a contract. This is a prime example of what we face today, MISINFORMATION. When a client says they require BIM on a job you need to know what goals, and development they are talking about. BIM is a big umbrella so what exactly are you required to provide. Usually when someone comes to me and says the client requires BIM my first question is “did they tell us the goals and the development they want?” Usually the answer is no, so the we simply model in 3D, which after all is the basis of BIM. moving forward

To me the biggest reason BIM is so difficult to implement in most firms is the misunderstanding of what is required form the client. Personally I would love to have a BIM conference for Owners, Operators, and AEC Management. There needs to be something that can help with this kind of misinformation.

  • Is it required to submit the Revit models for the client if it is not stated in the contract?

No it is not, we did not submit AutoCAD dwg’s until they put them in the contract, in fact most companies still charge to disperse the dwg’s. The Revit model is used to produce the required documentation for the project: 2D flat drawings, be it CAD or Paper. If they client wanted the Revit model they should have stated the LOD of the model elements and the requirement in the begining. BIM is a process not a file, therefor you delivered per the contract using a BIM process.


  • Even if the client requested to have a BIM model what wouldbe the submitted format (.rvt, .ifc or any other format)

If the client requested a 3D model at the end of the job, and since BIM requirements weren’t laid out at the beginning I would have given them a dxf. This is a 3D model, it’s just not editable, it still has the information but a little cleaner.

  • If the contract does not state the LOD requested, what shall be done at this stage where we have finished the project

If no LOD requirement was put in the contract, or there was not a BEP developed for the job you would model the project using your office standard LOD. My office standard LOD is between 100-350. No model can be fully 300+, it is not possible to make all elements in the model to that Level. I would argue with the client that the LOD, and the BIM goals were not stated in the contract, therefor you cannot be held to his “idea” of BIM requirements.

  • What is the common protocol regarding the clash detection report, and is it required to submit a Design Model having a clash report with Zero clashes at (0”) tolerance. When I checked some blogs, they all mention that clashes to be highlighted but couldn’t find what our client requested, a clash free model at 0” tolerance when running the clash detection.

It is impossible to develop a model with a tolerance of 0”, you can’t even do that in the real world. The standard clash tolerance is set out at the beginning of the project by all consultants. Correcting clashes can end up costing the team a lot of money. There needs to be a list of clashes and requirements for each in the BEP. Most Engineers will only work to certain clashes, for example pips and columns, and depending on the pipe diameter the clash tolerance is set.

It’s time to move forward, and stop throwing around BIM Requirements without understanding what we are asking for.


Time to move forward

AU 2016 Proposals submitted.

Of course I had to wait until the last day to submit, and now the waiting game starts. Having finally made it into the speaker realm at AU last year I want more. My experience was amazing and the people I meet in my class where great. Whether or not I get chosen I plan to start a blog series on these topic in the coming weeks.

BIM excites me, and the progression of BIM and the technologies is exciting. However if we want to successfully get to our Level 3 BIM Maturity we need to change the old school thought of project workflows.

Quotes About Moving Forward 0004-6 (6)

I came up with these proposals because of my transition, or awaking in 2016.

My year started with interviews, and me writing a proposal for a new role in a different firm. Coming to a new firm has given me new perspective on what my world looks like. The change has rejuvenated me. The freedom within an Architectural environment that believes in Technological advancements and understands the value of spending money to make money (in Technology), has opened my eyes to new workflow ideas. This new adventure is where I came up with my proposals, and hopefully the Autodesk people will focus on the needs for new workflow in Architecture and not just on their products.

My first proposal is on rethinking the Design process and workflow in the AEC industry. I think it’s important that industry take a step back and rethinks how the projects are delivered. more to come on that can of worms.

For my second proposal I jumped into the deep end explaining the importance of BIM Leads. No longer can the AEC industry believe they only need to hire Architects. Time to open our eyes and look for those people that can lead BIM and all its glory to the project finish line. Time to understand BIM Leads are not overhead, they are an integral part of the project.

These two topics are similar in the fact the Architecture world is changing and it’s time we all take that giant leap forward, as Henry Ford simply stated:  “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Let’s all collaborate on a BIM future and make our project better

VCC presentation prep has opened my eyes to a new topic along the path to Open BIM

I will be presenting today to Junior Drafters getting ready to graduate and go into the world of AEC. I was asked to give them the bigger picture of Architecture and what to expect when the get out. As I prepared my presentation I realized this will be an important topic to share with everyone in the Architecture industry, and struggling to provide BIM.

I realized in my thoughts and preparation that in order to get our industry to Open BIM we need to change the thought process of projects. Yes I’m sure many have gone there before, but the light bulb finally came on for me. We need to flip the process 180 degrees, more time in the Design phase and less time in the documentation phase, Revit gives us the power why not use it.


Now that thought is brewing so we need to teach the clients a new pay schedule and fee structure. How can we get the industry as a whole to change the fee balance? I’ve looked at the AIA providing BIM clarification (E203-2012). I’ve looked through the National BIM Standards V2. I’ve read through the information from the UK Government BIM strategy, and any other document I could find on Implementing BIM on projects. None of them mention the change in the project process, the change in deadlines and fee disbursement.

I believe this lack of documenting the change in the project workflow, in regards to phases, and fee disbursement, is a failing on our part to reach Open BIM.

I think I have found a proposal for AU this year, this is an idea that needs to populate through the industry and be explained to clients. As long as we struggle with the software and ignore the process we will continue to struggle in our Open BIM realization, or even just our ability to fully utilize the BIM process and technologies.

Deep Friday Thoughts

Hello all and Happy Friday, time for a BIM thought….

I am on the mailing list for the LEAN Construction Project Delivery Methods – Job Order contracting, IPD, 5D BIM. This morning I received an email for a new post, I felt this post shows the issues we are all having with BIM in our industry… owner education!


Please take a look it’s very interesting to see how far we have yet to go in the client relationship and education of BIM. I think I just had an idea for my AU 2016 proposal.

Have a great weekend.

Creating my BIM Execution Plan

New BIM Execution Plan (BIMx) done, and hopefully this one will be a bit more useful on projects. When I started at the firm my boss at the time took the Penn State template and simply deleted pieces that he didn’t feel we needed for our project sizes. After 2 years of using that BIMx we developed another one eliminating more information and tried to streamline the documentation. Again after 2 years I felt it was time to work on the BIMx again. The thought came to me after attending the BIM Workshop in Anaheim 2015.

I basically started with the standard Penn State template and reworked it using all the information I have accumulated through lessons learned on previous projects and BIMx documentation. One of the main issues we kept having with our BIMx was instruction on how to fill it out correctly. Therefore I added a page at the beginning of the document that is to be deleted after completion. I also used the table tool in Word, giving ease in deleting sections and adding pages as needed.

In my opinion the one of the biggest failures in a successful BIM project is the start-up. Starting a project, which means prior to starting a model, with the BIM Execution Plan can prevent possible work arounds to accommodate requirements. The BIM Execution plan is meant to be used for setting the tone of the project. I require all my projects that have consultants working with our model, either now or in the future to have a BIMx worked up and sent out. This leads to a BIM Kick-off meeting, these meetings are opportunities to discuss the needs of consultants.

For example: I had a project starting with Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical all working in Revit. (this is our 4th project together) We have a campus project with several buildings, so each building has its own model linking into the site model. The Mechanical and Electrical consultants came to the table with their issue of equipment linking to each building and the issues they have had in the past. This conversation is exactly why a BIM Kick off meeting is so vital.  Due to the early discussion and willingness of collaboration with the parties we have a successful project running in our office.

Thanks to these early conversations and projects that have been successful and failed I was able to write a BIM Execution plan that I feel works, at least for the time being. At the end of the year we will sit down and go over the lessons learned again, and edit as needed.


CanBIM Vancouver February 16th-17th 2016

CanBIM Vancouver being hostd at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront

Beyond BIM Building Information Modeling has many benefits that go beyond the model itself. Data mining, Computational Design, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Building Energy Analysis, Pre-Fabrication; among other possibilities these processes are proving BIM’s worth and pushing progress in the AECOO field to new heights.

I have been invited to be part of the panel: “Challenges in BIM Production”

This session is an interactive panel discussion with esteemed members of the AEC industry on technology and its impact on design and the design and construction process. A stimulating discussion on how they have taken advantage of the current and what the future may hold.

  • Learn how leaders in the industry are utilizing today’s technology
  • Speculate on future technology
  • Learn from the best
  • See how are other companies managing BIM projects

Always an exciting adventure to share what I have learned and what others have experienced. If you get the chance come join us for this interesting discussion.

Autodesk Launches BIM 360 docs

Autodesk launches BIM 360 Docs to help the construction project team collaborate together more effectively. I’ve always liked the idea of everyone having the ability to access all the documents in project. Seems Autodesk has come up with an answer for lost documentation, and which version is the final version. I’ve played a little with this type of service from Autodesk when we tested the C4R and have found it useful, even just with the internal team. I like the fact the contract can check the objects in the Revit model for information rather than hunting down the document. I think this is a step closer to paperless construction, and complete collaboration between all parties on a project.




It also seems that cloud storage is getting closer and close to free, since this service offers unlimited space for the projects in the cloud.

Being able to check, process, and mark-up documents using your tablet on site, sounds like a huge time saver to me. You can play with the Free version on one project, check it out could be pretty cool.

The next step is to get the pricing of these new tools put into the contract. I believe with education and showing the owner a little ROI success for full team collaboration is right around the corner

Buildex Vancouver February 24-25

Look at the group I’m with for Buildex – pretty excited to help spread the word on Project Delivery. Come join us.

 Wednesday, Feb. 24 • 11:00am-12:00pm • EARLY BIRD $35/REGULAR $45

W33 – The Broken Project Delivery Model 

 Attend this interactive panel discussion and hear esteemed members of the AEC industry address the broken project delivery model. Highlighting current industry challenges, this session will focus in on why the construction delivery process is overwhelmingly low-tech oriented. Panelists will discuss possible ways to improve, deliver and execute project delivery, expanding on the best practices of leading firms and professionals. Panelists will address costing, communication & collaboration, managing the project team, project delivery methodology, and legal matters. This seminar will conclude with panelists taking a future forward look of where industry goes from here.

Bob Heyman, President, Summit AEC

Marwan Bakri, Director of BIM/Virtual Construction Services, Ledcor Construction
Scott Chatterton, BIM and Quality Control Manager, HDR International BIM Integration Lead, HDR | CEI Architecture Associates, Inc.
Charles Leman, BIM Specialist, Bing Thom Architects
Laura Kay Smith, BIM Manager, Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning
Dr. Sheryl Staub-French, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia

Come join us in our discussion on the Broken Project Delivery Model.

5 Goals of a BIM Manager

In April of this year I was promoted to BIM Manger, and put in charge of the BIM movement in all 4 of our offices here in Canada.  It is pretty exciting and terrifying at the same time, not going to lie.  After I got my head around the new position I sat down and took some steps to help lead the company to the BIM future!!!

The first step is to setup some goals, do a 3 month plan and a 12 month plan.  These goals will help you focus on what needs to be done, and gives you a time line.  For myself it helps me keep going, when I finish one project I know I have a list so I keep the positive energy flowing.

Goal 1:  to develop a BIM Curriculum, I read in a blog about the importance of creating training program for your office in order to develop consistence in education. (I’m sorry I don’t remember the author of the blog, if it’s you thanks, and let me know so I can give you credit).I think this is a big piece of helping your office move forward and making your self visible to all staff, which is a big feat with 4 offices across Canada.

Goal 2:  of course the biggest headache, is content.  Who hasn’t fought with content and making it consistent thru all your offices.  Hopefully after much pain and suffering I will have a post dedicated to how I wrangled this issue.

Goal 3:Start a BIM Hour, this came from an Idea I someone at my presentation in Sacramento said.  He said his office is across America and they started an IT hour so people could join a conversation and get their IT questions answered.  I thought I would take it to BIM, my first BIM Hour saw over 50 people participate.  We discussed Formit and it’s Analysis tools, we took the hour and did a short demo, watched a video and answered peoples questions about using Formit and what our offices plan was.  I received a lot of great feedback and people looking forward to the next BIM Hour in August.

Goal 4: Startup my BIM User Groups, and BIM education series in all offices.  This is something I have been doing in Vancouver for the last 5 years, it has created some knowledgeable users about Revit and how we use BIM in our projects.  Now it’s time to get it across the country.  The BIM User Group is an office specific training during lunch that staff can join and see some cool uses of Revit.  The BIM education series is what my BIM Curriculum is set for.

Goal 5: Keep that office wide training going.  We have several advanced modules in Revit to help users get better at the tool.  It’s a 4 hour training series that runs thru the quarter.

I will go more indepth in my book “How to be a BIM advocate” coming out in July, until then Keep up the passion.