We left off last time discussing the use of 3-D and 4-D models on a project. This week we will continue our discussion of BIM by focusing on the other ways the team intends to utilize the tool?

There are two other applications of BIM to take into consideration when determining how the team wishes to use this tool. The first is the 5-D or a cost model. To utilize the 5-D design model to estimate work really requires the design team to be designing within the model (and using a true BIM software like Revit—not Sketchup) so that the detailed data can be extracted from the model. To best achieve this level of model utilization really requires that the entire team understand how everyone will use the model so that the data is developed consistently for accurate extractions and take-offs.

BIM can be a valuable tool for facilities management as well. Owners can fully leverage the model for 6-D to support the facility maintenance team. However, the facility must be committed to training its team to use the tools and models. To link the operational and maintenance data to the model is time consuming and a necessary step if it will be used and updated by the facility team. This is a more long-term commitment to update records, ensure that any major renovations are tracked, and add to or change the model to reflect these updates as well.

BIM is a tool that will greatly advance the industry. The next step though is to make sure everyone gets on the same page and sets clear goals when they say they want to use BIM on the next project. Up front, it is paramount to meet with the entire project team (owner, designers, contractor, and subcontractors) to define their goals and understanding of how BIM will be used on the project.