Top 14 List of Evil BIM Habits
Explaining what Evil BIM is and some tips to avoid it!

Welcome to this new installment focused on the fight against evil BIM! 😃

Most teams know that the goal of BIM is to help us design, build and operate better buildings – right? Unfortunately, if BIM isn’t implemented correctly, we could run into some serious problems. We call these BIM issues “Evil BIM” (haha).

In this article, I’ll be exploring 14 (yes I got a bit carried away!) of the most common evil BIM challenges seen in our industry with examples and how you might avoid them – sometimes with a little help from Plannerly 😃

1. Owners Just Requesting “BIM” 😖

Evil BIM
Evil BIM can ensue when BIM requested by someone not really understanding why they really need BIM

I shudder when an owner asks for “BIM” without truly appreciating what they’re asking for.

As a BIM Manager, you know that when Owners simply request “BIM,” it can often be a challenging expectation to manage.

There will likely be a significant difference between what is expected and what can often be provided without custom solutions.

This can occur when the client has been persuaded by BIM software businesses who have promised them “unending benefits of BIM!”

The owner almost certainly thinks that creating their digital twin unicorn will be a breeze!

As a BIM Manager, it is your responsibility to help set the proper expectations for what BIM can do for the project and how it may help with some of the owners’ challenges.

2. When Too Little BIM is Produced 😤

Missing BIM - who was supposed to model the lights?
Missing BIM?

When not enough BIM is produced, it may result in incomplete processes.

Coordination will be reactive rather than proactive.

Quantity Takeoffs will be missing element quantities and, therefore, inaccurate.

The 4D simulation will be tricky to complete, with the extra effort required to complete the gaps.

As a BIM manager, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of BIM that should be created and use an authorized plan for this using the Scope tools in a platform like Plannerly.

3. When Too Much BIM Is Produced 🤯

Too much BIM
It can be stressful when we have more BIM that was required

BIM can be great, but a huge downside transpires when teams produce more BIM than needed and can be used by the customer/end users.

This leads to wasted time and resources.

To avoid this pitfall, BIM Managers need to be aware of the potential uses of BIM before starting the modeling process.

As a BIM Manager, you need to be a hero on your project by managing the BIM scope efficiently! 😉

4. When Nobody Knows Who Should Do What 😲

Who is the Model Element Author (MEA)?
Model Element Author – who should be responsible?

Who’s supposed to model the lights?

Is it the Architect? Interior Designer? Electrical Engineer? Contractor? Installer?

This lack of clarity can lead to teams incorrectly modeling each other’s scope, serious miscommunication, many mistakes, and wasted time in re-work.

If you’re like most BIM managers, you have to constantly help teams understand what BIM they should be modeling and when.

So how do you simplify this process? Let me tell you…

  1. Keep all BIM planning in one place, online, so that everyone is aware of what needs to be modeled and when
  2. Make sure all team members are clear on the modeling guidelines, modeling best practices
  3. Make sure they know the file formats that are necessary for deliverables
  4. What frequency the models should be shared
  5. How should the models be shared – file-sharing/CDE workflow
  6. Make sure to create templates for each type of project so that things go more smoothly each time. And that’s it!

Now all teams on your project will be able to focus on modeling the right things instead of wasting time modeling overlapping scope or just trying to figure out what needs to be done.

It’s your job to make sure that all teams are clear on the guidelines for who models which systems/elements.

5. Modeling 1,000’s of Unnecessary Clashes 🔫

Clash Detection Example
Clashes can cause rework and additional cost

If all teams start to create models at the same time, evil BIM can quickly ensue.

This happens when teams unknowingly model clashes rather than following an agreed and prioritized clash avoidance workflow.

Some people ask “is bim expensive?” – well, if there has been zero planning the answer is likely to be “yes!”.

The most powerful way to defeat this type of evil BIM is to set a System Priority Structure and run collaborative pull planning sessions.

As a BIM Manager, you must help teams to answer many of these critical questions:

  • What systems are most important?
  • What can’t be moved?
  • Which systems are under pressure and could be slightly more flexible?
  • Which systems depend on gravity and therefore are less tolerant to being moved?
  • What is more costly to re-route – for example, a welded pipe will always be more costly to re-route around another system?
  • What is more flexible during installation – for example, a conduit or a flexible duct?

And many more questions like this! 😃

6. Evil BIM Scope Agreements 😳

Change Order BIM
Change Order BIM?

Sometimes teams will intentionally agree on a detailed but erroneous BIM scope knowing that they will issue Change Orders later.

This is an evil BIM problem.

Evil BIM can quickly escalate when teams start modeling without clear guidelines.

As a BIM Manager, you must make sure that the teams understand what is in-scope, out-of-scope, and how to document it.

The best way to do this is to create a collaborative Responsibility Matrix for the BIM scope that defines every system/element of the project.

Once the matrix is complete, each team can sign off on their portion of the scope.

This will help avoid teams signing off on work that is not their responsibility.

Using Plannerly’s simple, visual and online project management tools can help eliminate these challenges.

7. Poor Quality Modeling 😫

Avoiding Clashes by routing pipe around cable tray
Should the pipe be re-routed around the cable tray?

If you’re a BIM manager, you know that one of the main goals of using BIM is to smooth the workflow. However, many teams create and share poor quality models that will ultimately increase rework and drive costs up!

It is important to set up modeling guidelines and some quality control measures to avoid this. One way to do this is to create a BIM Execution Plan (BEP/BXP) that outlines the expectations for model quality.

The BEP should be created at the beginning of the project and shared with all team members.

To help ensure model quality, you must also perform regular BIM audits. This can be done manually or through automated tools like Solibri. Automated tools can provide a more objective view of the model and identify issues that may not be immediately apparent.

Finally, it is important to provide BIM training to team members on how to create high-quality BIM models. This training should cover topics such as detailed geometry, documentation, and information workflows.

You can help ensure that your team creates high-quality models that will reduce rework and ultimately save time and money by following these steps.

8. BIM Spreadsheet Contracts 🤭

Spreadsheet BIM?
Using spreadsheets to document BIM commitments can be challenging

When BIM requirements are defined with just a spreadsheet filled with numbers (LOD 100 to LOD 500), it is usually not very clear to even the most advanced BIM professional.

So specifying the Level of Information Need and the BIM Levels of Development in a simple but comprehensive contract is essential.

When defining the requirements for a BIM contract, make sure to be as specific as possible and include the geometry requirements, documentation needs, and information requirements.

The more specific you are in the contract, the less likely any misunderstanding will be later on.

If you’re a BIM Manager who wants to simplify BIM using Plannerly, watch THIS video series!

9. Requesting “LOD 500 + COBie” 🤦‍♂️

Peer pressure BIM
Do not accept vague BIM requirements just to win a project

When a request for BIM is vague, it can result in the worst consequences.

When the demand is “LOD 500 + COBie” or “please utilize BIM on my project,” it is usually the beginning of a misunderstanding that will lead to catastrophic BIM failure.

This usually happens when there is little understanding of what BIM can do, and the design team feels under pressure to say “ok” and accept an owner’s request for poorly defined deliverables.

The BIM manager’s responsibility is to ensure that the team understands the BIM requirements and can meet them.

The best way to do this is to create a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) [find out more about BEPS HERE] that outlines the expectations for each deliverable.

10. Asking For BIM But Contracting to 2D 👴

2D contracts vs BIM contracts
Asking for BIM but only contracting to 2D deliverables

I frequently encounter projects that claim to have clearly defined BIM goals, yet the project is solely based on contract terms for 2D deliverables 😞

If the project is only asking for 2D drawings, specifying BIM can sometimes be a conflict.

This situation often occurs because the contracting team doesn’t understand how BIM can be used to save time and money.

They may also think that they don’t need to use BIM because they have traditionally used 2D drawings and don’t want to change how they work.

To avoid this, it is important to educate the contracting team on the benefits of BIM and how it can be used to save time and money.

It is also important to create a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) that outlines the expectations for each deliverable. By doing this, you can ensure that the contracting team understands the BIM requirements and can meet them.

Ok, that’s 10, but unfortunately, I can’t stop there 😄

Here are my 11, 12, 13, and 14 evil BIM examples:

11. When Someone Says: “I need a BIM Execution Plan” but doesn’t know why

A common reason why BIM fails is a lack of governance.

When there is no clear understanding of the requirements, it can lead to confusion and frustration.

The owner might request a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) from the project team, but they have no clue what should go into it.

When this happens, the project’s BIM Manager is forced to take on the “educator” role and explain to the Owner exactly what needs to go into the BEP.

This often happens when the BIM manager is the only one on the team with a clear understanding of BIM.

It is important to educate the entire project team on BIM and ensure that everyone understands their role in the process.

You must ensure that the BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is clear and concise and that everyone on the team knows what is expected of them!

12. When Someone Says: “I Don’t Care How You Model It, Just Make It Look Like This”

This is probably one of the most frustrating things a BIM manager can hear from an owner or designer.

It’s the equivalent of saying, “I don’t care how you do it, just make it work.”

When this happens, it’s important to have a conversation with the owner or designer about exactly what they are looking for. This will help to ensure that the final product meets their expectations.

13. When Someone Says: “Why Can’t We Just Do It In 2D?”

This is another frustrating statement that is often made.

2D drawings can be a useful tool, but they should not be used as a substitute for 3D models.

3D models provide a more accurate representation of the project, which can save time and money in the long run.

It’s important to explain this to help teams understand the benefits of using 3D models.

14. When Someone Says: “We Don’t Need BIM, We’ve Been Doing This For Years”

This is a common statement made by those who are resistant to change.

They don’t see the need for BIM because they’ve been doing things the same way for years, and it’s worked for them.

However, times are changing, and the construction industry is adopting better working methods with new technology.

BIM provides many benefits that can’t be ignored, so it’s important to explain this to those resistant to change.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, Evil BIM is a common problem in the construction industry.

Evil BIM is often caused by a lack of definition or understanding of the requirements.

To avoid Evil BIM, it’s important to create clear and concise requirements for deliverables that outline the expectations for each phase/stage of the project.

This can be supported by creating a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) that outlines the expectations for each deliverable.

You can also help your team by teaching them how to use BIM in a way that truly supports the project and the owner’s goals.

It’s a complex world out there, good luck in your personal fight against the big bad evil BIM! 💪

BONUS VIDEO

Video describing Evil BIM

FAQs:

What is Evil BIM?

Evil BIM is obviously bad, but what does it really mean? Well, Evil BIM is any situation where BIM is conducted for the wrong reasons. Evil BIM is most often associated with the inadequate writing of BIM requirements, or sometimes the perfect set of requirements that are just poorly followed. Evil BIM is often caused by overly inflated expectations or simply a lack of understanding of the true benefits of BIM and how to achieve them. To avoid Evil BIM, it’s important to create clear and concise deliverables that outline the expectations for each phase of the project. This can be done using tools like the Plannerly Scope module.

What are some potential Evil BIM examples?

The point is, that evil and malicious BIM could be anything from an owner requesting “BIM” without having a clue what it means 😖 to a design team modeling 1,000s of completely unnecessary clashes 🔫 due to running clash detection rather than clash avoidance workflows. Evil BIM could also just be when insufficient BIM is produced 😤, inadequate scope agreements 😳, or simply poor quality modeling 😫

Who should create the BIM Execution Plan?

The BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is a document that outlines the specific goals, objectives, and approach for using Building Information Modeling (BIM) on a design and construction project. Having a BEP can help with the fight against evil BIM! The BEP should be created as a collaboration by the project team in consultation with the owner and other stakeholders. To create the BEP, the project team should identify the specific goals and objectives for the use of BIM on the project and any requirements or constraints that need to be considered. Once the goals and objectives have been established, the team can develop a plan for how to best achieve them. Here are some tips on creating the BEP.

I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.

Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!

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