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Leading Change: Bringing in BIM as an Owner



Leading change is never easy. Leading change when there is no industry standard and there are multiple stakeholders involved is more challenging yet. Below are five lessons Summit BIM has learned from helping building owners successfully implement a controlled BIM process.

When we talk BIM, we are talking about more than a building information model. We define BIM as a way of working that allows all participants, including building owners to access, use, and rely on the inherent data created throughout the building life cycle.

1. Understand the challenge

Moving to a BIM process represents a fundamental change in the way that project team participants work together. It impacts the role of each participant, the processes that they will follow, the protocols that must be developed, and the final deliverables. More about the evolution of deliverables further in this post.

2. Start with the end in mind

Know what you want from a BIM process. As you consider how you will use the inherent data created in a BIM process, think about who and when the data will be created, and how you will access it. Some good questions to consider are:

  • What data do you need? Is it clearly defined? Who will create it? When will be created?
  • Who, within your organization, will open and access the model, and share or move the data?
  • Will there be a shift of work effort from one department to another; how will you plan for and handle the impact?
  • How far will the tentacles of this digital transition reach into your organization?
  • Are meaningful KPI’s and performance measures in place?

While a Revit model can be useful, the true value of a BIM process is exposing the data set so that the information is readily available to you. You want to be able to “Google” your building.

3. Get everyone on the same page

Establish a roadmap for the design and documentation process from the outset. Bringing in a true BIM process means you need to do more than design a building – you need to design a workflow.

On a practical level, this means when you put the RFP together for say, design services, you need to clearly lay out BIM clauses that reflect the uses of a BIM data set to your business. This will be backed up with BIM standards, and a BIM project execution plan.

4. Look beyond the Design-Build phase

The ramifications of BIM are felt not only in the Design and Build phases of a project, they impact how data is accessed and used by facilities, maintenance and operations. No more facility plan rooms, no more plines on plan to determine areas, and no more binders full of paper.

The savings in time and effort in having point and click access to all aspects of your facility, from areas, to objects with warranties, to the warranties themselves, transforms the way in which we plan to operate our buildings in the future.

5. Evolve the deliverables

Design drawings are specifically generated with the focus being on how to convey the design intent to the group that will price and build the project. It is not focused on the group that will operate the project. Why not ask for a deliverable which meets these needs as well? After all, at its core, software like Revit is a database and the drawings views are merely queries of that data set. You could, for example, ask for a final record deliverable that includes views where:

  • All objects with a warranty are coloured by warranty duration;
  • All systems are coloured by type, using your defined colour scheme;
  • All objects that need ongoing maintenance are coloured by frequency;
  • All objects are coloured by their life cycle duration;
  • You can see the schematic diagram of the system or the 3D reality of it in context.

The list is endless. Colour helps us understand and find information much faster, and retain it much better. It also costs nothing if we stay digital.

Is the concept of a new final deliverable from the design side different; yes. Does it need extra effort; yes. Does it bring benefit; yes. The question is then what is the cost benefit analysis. How much will your design side ask for undertaking these additional views and how much is it worth to you?


Darwin tells us that it is not the strongest of the species or the most intelligent that survives it is the one most adaptable to change. Digital technology brings change and we need to learn how to adapt to those changes and adapt our processes and protocols accordingly. Are you ready to lead the change?

How Summit BIM can help

Summit BIM helps building owners implement structured workflows to ensure the generation of useable building information to facilitate ‘Data driven decision making’. Ask how our team of industry experts, drawn from architecture and engineering, can help you unlock the value of your building data – contact us at 604 568 8325.

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