Why Are There Problems With Building Information Modeling (BIM) Models?

Some contractors may discover building information modeling (BIM) problems when they first start using the program. They might find that the BIM models do not look right, or that contractors are not interpreting them correctly. Most of these BIM problems stem from very fundamental issues of misunderstanding.

  • Consultant Misunderstanding: It is often difficult to get quality BIM models from your design consultants because they think their job is not to produce models. They usually believe they are there to create diagrams or drawings. They may use a BIM, but it will be to produce a drawing instead of a model. These drawings may not be enough for you to build a model, and will rarely include any further details, like schedules.
  • Misunderstanding of BIM: If you use the BIM software as intended, it will produce what you want. However, too many people expect too much from a BIM or do not know how to use their BIM properly. Be sure to contact your BIM software’s customer support if you have issues, just to make sure you are not using the BIM incorrectly.
  • Misunderstood Final Models: If you end up getting a decent final model, but issues arise during construction, the problem may lie either in the particulars of the model or the interpretation of it. In the first case, the drawings made by the architect or engineer may not work correctly within the model due to a calculation error. In the latter case, the subcontractor may not interpret the model correctly, either because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication of the information presented.

To get around these problems with BIM, be sure to collect all drawings and diagrams pertinent to the project and provide links between the model and the drawings and notes when possible.

  • The Model Is not shared: Models that are not shared will fail. This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence among design consultants; because they feel their designs are their property, so they should not be shared with the crew. This is not a real justification, and can just present contractors with more problems.

Contractors and project coordinators can usually avoid these issues with a combination of discussion and education. Of particular importance is the consultant engagement agreement and the project’s BIM brief. Specialist issues with the BIM can be avoided with the former, while problems with the BIM are widely solved with the latter.

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