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Bimsync for Owners: Guide to BIM collaboration

This guide has the potential to improve your return on investment (ROI) for your projects. Easy insight into crucial decisions during design and construction will ensure that the owner’s perspective has the proper influence.

No special skills necessary

BIM collaboration may sound like an advanced and complicated process. This is not the case. With the right tool, BIM collaboration will feel very much like any other traditional collaboration, but with a much better visual understanding of the decisions that must be made.

The simple idea is that each trade will submit their design models, BIM models, to the project, with a reasonable frequency, for example, every week. Just like you would traditionally expect a design drawing, as a PDF or DWG file, you will now get a 3D model based file, a BIM, for each trade. Using an openBIM workflow, everyone can work in their own favorite software, and you can visualize the complete building in your browser. This means that you suddenly have a much better insight and understanding of the design development of your built asset.

In addition to this, you can easily communicate your input through a visual issue management system that is intuitively connected to the 3D model, if needed. For example, if you would like to move a wall to improve an aspect of the design, simply view the wall, push a button, describe your issue and redline the wall if needed, and send. The rest will be managed by the design team.

This neat trick, also means that you will be able to get a visual insight into the issues raised by designers and the general contractor. Keeping an eye out for decisions that may impact your ROI. For example, if the architect would like to have wide corridors because it does look and feel better, you may want to keep the corridors as narrow as possible, because what you sell is the amount of usable office space. At least it is now possible to better understand the consequences and make an informed decision.

Improved Return on Investment

There are two important points to consider as an owner when getting your built asset commissioned:

  • Make sure you get insight into the design and build processes. A 3D model will improve the quality and efficiency of the process immensely while also making everything easier to understand which again leads to better decisions improving your ROI.
  • Make sure you get a rich set of real data and that you actually own this data alongside the built asset. It might also be a good idea to request deliverables on milestones to avoid a rush of unstructured data, impossible to validate, at the end of the project. There is no longer any reason to get a bunch of PDFs as your built asset’s documentation, standard and technology are readily available to give you a structured set of real data, including a 3D model, as a digital twin for your built asset.

    There are several ways to accomplish this, but we believe the following principles will take you to the next level and actually improve your ROI:
    • Impose workflows around an issue management system for all communication. No emails. Connect issues to actual objects in the built asset (window, wall, door, etc), when applicable.
    • Impose milestones on documentation deliverables to avoid a waterfall of data impossible to validate at the end of the project.
    • Demand that every object important for maintenance is actually present in the 3D model
    • Demand an openBIM environment as this will secure access to your data throughout the entire lifecycle of the building, independent of software vendors.

To sum up

It is easy to get started with a much better digital workflow as an owner ready to embark on a new project. The tools and technology are in place. Changing culture and habits is the by far largest obstacle to getting the most out of true BIM collaboration. Make sure you align with partners that have the skillset to help you through this change.

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