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JBIM: Building Information Modeling Harmonizing BIM The Value of Multi-Disciplinary/Multi-Dimensional Participation in the Model By John Lord, LEED AP and John A. Rapaport T he construction industry is going through a real trans- formation these days with advancements in building information modeling (BIM) and its increasing use on building sites. What started off as a design tool is now being consumed by numerous players on a construction team. Me- chanical contractors have used these tools to the point where they are generating bills of materials and manufacturing details that allow them a level of prefabrication in time, quality and reliability never seen before. With the necessity for downstream coordination, these contractors have morphed into de facto model coordinators and hosts of the construction model as well. How can there be more than one model? Construction sites are burdened by the essence of time and the momentum of cost. The decision to build emanates from a decision that, in most cases, may be based on a financial model—value versus cost. How this model is derived can vary; however, it becomes the seed that grows in most projects. From this, a schematic model of the building is developed in order to sell the plan to the owner, lender, etc. Then come the various design draw- ings leading to the construction drawings or CDs. What Ifs JHAZ Viewpoint: Having a building information model (BIM) available before disaster occurs will allow quicker recovery because detailed information about what was affected can easily be identified and reordered. Insurance companies are assessing potential impacts of disasters in order to determine replacement costs and advising their clients of alternative design approaches that are more sustainable. Added Value Depending on the contract and the level of involvement of the architect, a branch-out occurs, whereby the essence of time and momentum of cost by various other parties con- tribute to model fragmentation and decentralization. While the building gets built, the value of the model at the end of the project has mixed benefits to the owner. That, however, is changing rapidly. What if a model that started on the inception of an idea to build could be carried through to the end of a building’s life cycle? And, what if parts of that model could serve the various players in the process to help them improve their models? Could there be more buy-in to ensure that consistency pre- vails throughout the process? Remember the financial model—the one that basically gen- erated a square-foot cost versus return on investment (ROI) of rental rates? How is that model maintained throughout the project to maximize the value for the owner? If a building’s use or the local market changes, for example, can the adjust- ed risk/reward data “cascade” down to be validated with the one with the most at stake—the owner? Integrating the value quotient into the model throughout the process will deliver transparency to all players in ways that will drive model consistency from start to finish. The Project Man- agement Institute recognizes earned value management (EVM), a practice that ties cost, as well as estimates, into the model. As a result, an owner can gain perspective on what-if scenarios throughout development and even during the construction Continued on page 34 32 Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences – October 2013 NIBS_1013_Harmonizing_BIM.indd 32 9/19/13 9:42 AM