Why BIM Project Management is necessary in our growing industry?

by | May 31, 2017 | BIM, Building Information Modelling, News

What is BIM Project Management?

BIM Project Management is the administration of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) process throughout the project’s lifecycle, ensuring that the utilization of BIM and its potential smart benefits are achieved to the best of its ability throughout the design, construction and post-handover stages.

Building Information Management
The BIM Project Manager is responsible for correctly briefing, resourcing and managing all BIM related aspects of a project across the design/construction team. Typically a BIM Project Manager would take on an advisory role to the traditional Project Manager to correctly structure project roles, and advise on program and budget issues. The BIM Project Management primary objective is to ensure that client objectives for digital data are met and by setting up and managing projects correctly they offer the best chance of achieving the maximum ROI from utilising the BIM process.

There are cases where challenges arise when BIM projects are not correctly briefed, resourced and managed.
Here are some contributing factors:

What clients expect?
Clients typically expect that implementing BIM processes will see them increase profits
What builders expect?
Some Builders see the opposite and think they are going to see their margins eroded or wiped out by increased tech costs
What project managers expect?
Project Managers expect that BIM is going to make everything nice and easy and simple
What consultants expect?
Consultants are fearful of increased time in producing models
What contractors expect?
Trades are resistant to change and don’t believe the documentation will be buildable

With all these confrontational outlooks the potential for the project to be hamstrung ultimately ends with no one winning.

So you often find people wondering why this utopian BIM approach sometimes struggles in reality. The industry has created a number of barriers for itself, which even a decade or so later it is still grappling with.

Firstly Inequitable Return on Investment, this is probably the most prevalent one. The early adopters of BIM were mainly from the design professions; they were leading/bleeding edge firms who took the leap and invested in new software and workflows because they saw potential and wanted to stay ahead of the curve.

Fortunately this investment can result in a substantial return on projects – but the ability for the design professionals to benefit is highly limited on a lump sum competitive fee arrangement. Instead the return is usually realised by the owner or the builder or both, or worst case is not realised at all.

As a result, the industry now has a vast spectrum of firms with differing BIM competency levels, and the average project we see these days will have a mixture of BIM savvy consultants and those who have not yet started on the journey.

This fragmented approach makes it very hard to deliver collaborative BIM models which have any realistic value for construction or operation purposes as they only contain inconsistent data and cannot be trusted. Similarly even on the rare occasions that all design consultants are BIM enabled, without a clear brief and firm management of the project’s BIM requirements expected from each discipline, the result is usually less than satisfactory.

There are several qualities make up a BIM Project Manager:

Design Software Technician

Design Software Technician

Able to apply technology effectively to the project BIM deliverables.


Understanding design concepts & requirements.


Understanding on-site construction practicality.
Project Manager

Project Manager

Ability to coordinated & communicate effectively between the design/construction team to achieve the project’s BIM goals.
Client understanding of BIM is improving but still has a long way to go before the majority recognise the benefits and seek out competent firms rather than the lowest tender price when selecting consultants. Similarly the traditional Project Managers have also lagged the industry in their upskilling of BIM concepts and are failing to recognise the opportunities it offers and how to maximise the potential.

Employer’s Information Requirements

There has to be an understanding of what your employer wants and their requirements for the project. What models will be required and if there will be an assessment of the existing asset. Once this has been established the BIM Project Manager must put together a BIM management plan which is a core-coordinating document which defines ‘how’ BIM will be implemented /executed on the project. The defining ‘How’ requirements will coincide with the employers information requirements outlined at the projects beginning.


BIM Management Plan

The BIM management plan will contain the following:

  • Roles and responsibilities, which covers the ownership of data.
  • Major project milestones consistent with the project programme.
  • Agreed project processes for collaboration and information modelling.
  • Agreed matric of responsibilities across the supply chain (i.e. element LOD).
  • The standard method and procedures.
  • IT solutions – Software versions, exchange formats & process and data management.

What Standards to Use

Useful Governing BIM Documents


PAS 1192-2:2013, PAS 1192-3:2014 & PAS 1192-5
BS 1192-4:2014
Building Information Model (BIM) Protocol – CIC/BIM Pro 2013
BIM Forum Level of Development Specification 2015
NATSPEC BIM Reference Schedule

Coordination Process

The BIM Project Manager coordinates with the following: Managers, Coordinators and Authors.

Once the team has been established, a key skill for a BIM Project Manager is to understand the team and their limitations. We call this the supply chain assessment:

  • BIM Assessment
  • IT Assessment
  • Resource Assessment

With these assessments in mind, the workflow and processes will start to take place. These processes will prepare the models for coordination between services. This is a validation checklist which will become a routine throughout the project ensuring that development can be monitored throughout the project lifecycle.

The coordination stage comes with whole new layer of transparency involved, BIM coordination meetings allows everyone involved to understand the project from a whole new level. Issuing clash detection reports forms a meeting structure and helps the different services agree on and assign clash resolutions between each other in the one meeting. Updating and maintaining reports allows the BIM Project Manager to monitor the development progress through the projects.

Through these coordination sessions you are able to observe the development of the various models, you can highlight critical design issues early on in the project lifecycle, discuss technical issues etc. This shows the importance of the BIM Project Manager as the facilitator for the coordination.

Dean James

BIM Group Manager

Interested? Find out more about BIM Project Management

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Nick Weight

Nick Weight

BIM Project Manager

Nick has a degree in Architecture from the University of Canberra. After graduating he dedicated himself to the very young Building Information Modelling field of work within Australia in Sydney with JHA Consulting Services. He is currently working as a BIM project manager, alongside the very dedicated team at JHA.

He brings a calm and collected approach when conducting the coordination of building services during the model design stage. His knowledge of the program Navisworks, helps him guide the team he works with, and work on a solution that helps the standard of documentation of building services and productivity during construction.