BIM: Keeping up standards

Musings of a BIM consultant

You’ve spent hours weighing up the pros and cons of a BIM platform, settled on one and started producing models. Have you consi­dered the standards you are using? Are you ignoring those you had implemented in CAD?

Standards are like speed limits: you know they are there for a reason, sometimes they seem a little unreasonable, but when you break them and something goes wrong, they all begin to make sense. Some companies are better than others at following and enforcing them. What we find, time and again, is that those firms who are better have fewer surprises – and the capability to increase the workforce on any project with little fuss or complication.

Standards have evolved. In the early days of CAD it was enough to dictate the look and appearance of drawings: the annotation styles, the appearance of section markers, draw­ing borders and so on. BIM isn’t just about drawings, it’s about making the right information available to the right people at the right time. If you haven’t already rethought your standards, consider focusing more on the processes and procedures required to deliver a project using BIM and align it to the industry standards in BS1192-1 and PAS1192-2. 

BIM isn’t just about drawings, it’s about making the right information available to the right people at the right time

When preparing your standards, consider BS1192-1 which defines, in addition to the technical standards for BIM (file and layer naming and spatial co-ordination), the process for moving your information through a common data environment. Understand how your information in ‘Work In Progress (WIP)’ is developed, and the necessary procedures for sharing with the design team. Proper validation is critical to efficient data sharing and essential to collaborative design, leading to less ambiguity and more robust construction data further along the design chain.

PAS1192-2 extends the information in BS1192-2 and applies it to a BIM workflow, starting by defining exactly what the client requires of the information to be supplied. This understanding will allow you to model the right information and input the correct amount of meta-data that the client and the extended design team need, when it is needed. 

BIM is a process, not a piece of software. While you still need the technical standards the process of developing information, the amount of detail you model and how you share that information is equally important. In order to deliver projects using BIM, you will need to ensure you’re following a standard (singular). 


Daniel Heselwood is director at BIM consultancy Evolve