A Building Information Model is not just a design tool, but a communicator and bridge between the parties involved in the process all striving for the same goal, a quality building, in a short time and a good price. The industries involved need to look at Information Modeling as not only a design, construction or management tool, but understand how it works as a collaboration tool creating a cohesive project and forms the business justifivation tool.
According to the BIM handbook ‘when adopted into well, BIM facilitates a more integrated design and construction process that results in better quality buildings at lower cost and reduced project duration’ (Eastman, Teicholz, Sacks, & Liston, 2011) and this all starts in the design phase.
Business justification’ is the first part of the ‘Strategic definition’ Pillar:1 It involves making crucial decisions about whether and how to proceed with the proposed project.
These decisions, along with those made throughout the life of the development, should be information driven. The purpose of building information modelling (BIM) is to ensure appropriate information is created at the right time.
It is important that this information is prepared in a format that will be of the greatest value through the life of the project, and that it is named and stored in a way that will be consistent with later stages. At this stage, this may simply be a matter of creating a folder in which files can be stored and adopting a standard file naming convention such as that outlined in the SA BIM Protocol
From assessment of business operations or from assessment of an existing estate, the employer identifies a need that could require the development of a new built asset.
They then prepare a statement of need which describes the requirements for the potential project. This will later develop into a strategic brief. The statement of need is likely to be in a report format, however, where possible, information and requirements should be scheduled in a requirement management application or spreadsheet that can be expanded and will be easy to use to test whether proposals satisfy requirements later in the project.
The employer then prepares a preliminary business case based upon the statement of need. This offers a justification for the investment required by the potential project. As with the statement of need, this is likely to be in a report format, however, where possible information should be scheduled in a requirement management application or spreadsheet so that it will be easier to use, test and develop.
At key points in the development of the project, the employer will have to decide whether the project should proceed, whether additional information is required or whether the project should be changed or abandoned.
To make this decision, the employer will need to answer a series of questions about the developing project (sometimes described as plain language questions), which will require that specific information is available. Later in the project, the publication of required information may be described as an ‘information exchange‘ or ‘data drop‘.