BIM issue tracking:
7 reasons why worksheets don’t work.

 
  by André Schnabel - BIMcollab Product Manager,  januari, 2019  
 


Is this the most recent list? Have all issues been identified and followed up on? Has another clash been run? Has the status changed? As a BIM manager or BIM coordinator it is crucial to have a grip on these aspects. A streamlined workflow not only provides insights and saves time, but it also prevents rising failure costs. Yet in practice, separate worksheets (often Excel spreadsheets) are commonly used to exchange issues. Nowadays we tend to use spreadsheets for everything, so why wouldn't it work for BIM issue management...

These are 7 reasons why Excel spreadsheets do not work:

 

1 | Solving issues is complex

Managing and maintaining a multitude of modifications quickly becomes complex. When exchanging spreadsheets it is important to make agreements. After all, you do not work with one file, but with multiple copies. How do you keep an overview of all versions and ensure effective follow-up? This requires solid agreements and crystal-clear communication, making it sensitive to (human) mistakes.

Solution:
Work with all stakeholders in an accessible and reliable environment. Track all BIM issues from one place and easily assign them to team members. This way everyone works effectively and well-organized in a fixed workflow with little to no chance of human mistakes.

 

2 | Cumbersome follow-up without audit trail

The most recent spreadsheet serves as the starting point for assigning issues and following up on them. Team members receive a manual update via email, telephone or sometimes even via sticky notes (!). Or everyone keeps an eye on the spreadsheets themselves. This requires focus and actions are often insufficiently documented, causing changes to be overlooked easily.

Solution:
Use a tool where you can invite team members, easily assign issues and feedback can be provided. Both parties receive an automatic notification of this and all actions taken are efficiently documented in the same tool (audit trail!). Additional advantage: automatic progress tracking.
 

 

3 | Tracking issues is time-consuming

Spreadsheets have no connection with the tool in which the change has to be implemented. After all, spreadsheets are 'separate' files. Tracking issues and incorporating the solution in your model requires additional and time-consuming actions. This is valuable time that you can probably use somewhere else. Don't forget that a manual operation always entails an increased risk of mistakes.

Solution:
Ensure faster and more accurate processing of your issues by using a tool that can easily connect to your BIM software. This can be done through BCF Managers and a live connection. This way you are connected to the most used software such as ARCHICAD, Revit, Solibri, Navisworks etc.

 

 

Connect to BIM software

 

Connecting with your own BIM software is key for optimal issue management 
 

 

4 | No visual representation of issues

Spreadsheets describe the issues, but do not show you a visual representation. This can, however, help you to put the problems in context. Due to the lack of visual context, there is an unnecessarily high risk of incorrect interpretation of an issue. This can result in higher failure costs.

Solution:
Work with visual context. Implement a tool that adds snapshots of the problem to the issues. This way everyone has an accurate and complete insight and failure costs can be minimized. Maintain control over your project!

 

5 | Limited accessibility

Sometimes you want to have quick access to your issues and not depend on your location or the device you have with you. Spreadsheets are not always suitable for this, because they are often stored on your company network. This way, team members outside of your company have no access. Managing spreadsheets from your smartphone or tablet? Not ideal. Forgot your laptop? Then you have a problem.

Solution:
Enter the clouds. A tool that has files 'in the cloud' makes them safely accessible from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. If you go one (smart) step further, you will use an BIM issue management tool that is fully cloud-based and therefore offers full functionality for everyone via your browser. Quickly accessible from any device with a webbrowser, including your smartphone.


 

6 | Does not stimulate an effective workflow

Working with numerous spreadsheets automatically creates a dangerous amount of room for personal interpretation. There is too much risk for inaccurate follow-up, which makes it easy to deviate from the work process. This has a negative effect on the efficiency, lead time and costs of a project.


Solution:
To ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness, a project benefits from an optimized workflow. One that is embedded in a proven system. Consider a tool where the whole team works effectively within the same workflow. This way you successfully work together on a faster completion with lower costs.

 

7 | Sensitive to data theft and/or loss

Whether it's email, a USB stick or a printout: exchanging issues via spreadsheets carries a risk. The files can easily get lost or end up in unwanted hands. In this digital age, you must be able to manage and share data in a safe and secure manner.

Solution:
Use a tool or service that allows you to safely manage and store your issues. Preferably one that encrypts data and makes a back-up on a daily basis. Please note: in order to guarantee this, they must be in possession of SSL licenses and ISO certificates.


Conclusion

We can be very clear about our conclusion: don't work with worksheets/spreadsheets. This way of working takes (too) much time, is prone to errors, is not integrated in your software, counteracts an optimal workflow and the data is often unprotected. Software for BIM issue management can solve this for you:

BIMcollab is a cloud-based tool that will help you make issue management more effective and less complex. Reduce the risk of mistakes, data loss and 'forgotten' issues and involve your stakeholders by working together in the tool (without having to use heavy BIM software). Try it for free and experience it for yourself.