Introduction

BIM protocols, BIM execution plans, BIM planning guides, or whatever the name they get, come in all sorts and sizes. Some are just one sheet of paper, some are 40Mb of pdf files. They all share the same goal: to capture the BIM working methods in a project. From a project perspective the perfect situation is described and a theory is thought through on how the ideal workflow and working methods would look for a project.
However, in practice nobody seems to actually read the BIM protocols, let alone work according to them. The internal working methods of companies are leading in the way modellers and project leaders perform their task. And this is how it should be.
The BIM protocol generator identifies the preferred working methods from project partners and aggregates them into a BIM project protocol.

How it Works:

 

tno-bim-protocolgenerator-workflow

BIM Protocol generator

1) There is a project manager (or BIM manager) that initiates the creation of a ‘BIM protocol’. During this process, the initiator fills out the names and e-mail adresses of the important partners. He can also fill out some answer options for the questionare (more on that later). The initiation of the protocol can start in any point in the project. In principle, the protocol is generated for one phase of the project. The initiator can set the name of the phase.

An example of the initiation form is given in this picture:

initiate protocol

2) After initiation, every project partner receives an e-mail request to fill out an online questionnaire of about 20 questions.  These questions capture the preferred working method, the needed information and some basic capabilities of each project partner.

3) Most of the questions are easy to answer. Some starting BIM partners might have some difficulties to actually write down what kind of information/data they need to perform their task, but they tend to get used to that very soon.

Example screenshots of the questions:

skills-tools  question8-information_flow

4) The BIM protocol generator aggregates all the answers from the project partners. When the preferred working method of partners is the same, it generates a text in the BIM protocol that states that this preferred way is the way the project will be executed. When there is a slight or large difference in the working methods, the BIM protocol identifies this and puts an according text with a warning in the BIM protocol. The BIM protocol generator does not judge which method is best. It just identifies the issues that need to be discussed in the project team.

Some questions make it possible to generate some more intelligent content for the BIM protocol. The questionnaire holds questions like ‘what information/data do you need, from who and on what LOD?’, ‘what software do you use? ’, ‘what open standards can you handle for exchange?’, ‘do you check the data when receiving/sending it from/to partners?’, etc…

With this information a graph can be plotted with relations between partners. When partner A with software X needs information from partner B with software X, the text in the generated BIM protocol will probably state that they will exchange data with software X. When one of them uses other software but both know how to handle IFC the BIM protocol generator will plot a text that information between A and B will be exchanged with IFC. This way the whole collaboration network will become clear and it will show where problems might occur.

bim-protocolgenerator-workflow-zoom

BIM Protocol generator

5) After generating the concept BIM protocol your team needs to discuss it and transform it into a definitive BIM protocol for the project/phase. The generated concept BIM protocol can be an agenda with priorities for this meeting.

6) The definitive BIM protocol is created. Beware that the definitive protocol is created by humans, not by this tool.

If you want a preview of the questions and the resulting BIM protocol chapters, please send your motivation to leon.vanberlo@tno.nl