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

BIM issue coordination: 7 reasons why spreadsheets don’t work

Any BIM project involves issues. No one creates the perfect model in one go. But how you create, communicate and coordinate issues has a huge effect on your project’s efficiency. What is the most recent list of issues? Have all issues been identified and followed up on? Did the status of issues change?

As a BIM manager or BIM coordinator, it is crucial to have a grip on your project’s issues to ensure a good workflow. A streamlined workflow not only provides valuable insights, but also saves time, preventing rising failure costs. Yet, (Excel) spreadsheets are still commonly used to exchange issues in BIM projects. That is, however, an ineffective way of coordinating issues. Let us look at several reasons why spreadsheets don’t work and what could offer a solution. 

1. Solving issues becomes complex

Managing and maintaining a multitude of modifications to your project models quickly becomes complex. When using spreadsheets for issue coordination, 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 an effective follow-up? It requires solid agreements and crystal-clear communication, making the use of spreadsheets sensitive to (human) mistakes. 

Collaborate with stakeholders in an accessible and reliable online environment. Track all BIM issues from a central cloud and easily assign them to team members. This way, everyone can work efficiently and well-organized, using 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 notification via email, telephone, sticky notes, or sometimes they do not receive an update notification at all! Hence, it becomes a cumbersome task to ensure you and your team members always work with the correct file, follow up on the right issues and can keep track of the progress. Actions are often insufficiently documented, resulting in cluttered worksheets, causing changes to be overlooked easily. 

Use a tool where you can invite team members, assign issues and provide feedback directly within the issue. Stakeholders receive notifications automatically and all actions taken are efficiently documented in a central tool. The automatic tracking of progress also provides you with a complete and transparent audit trail.  

3. Tracking issues is time-consuming

Spreadsheets have no connection with the BIM tool you or your team members use to implement the change(s) needed. 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. Also, don’t forget that a manual operation always entails an increased risk of making mistakes. 

Ensure faster and more accurate processing of your issues by using an issue management tool that can connect to your preferred BIM software through BCF Managers. That way, issues are linked to objects and positions in your model and directly accessible in the BIM software you work with, such as ARCHICAD, Revit, Solibri, Navisworks, and so on.  

4. No visual representation of issues

Spreadsheets describe the issues, but do not give you a visual representation of the issue location in the model or what component(s) are involved. A visual representation, however, can help you put the problems in context. Due to the lack of visual context, working with spreadsheets results in a high risk of an incorrect interpretation of issues.  

Issues that contain visual context are key. You can implement a tool that automatically adds viewpoints to the issues you create. This way, everyone has an accurate and complete insight into the issue at hand, and through the BCF Managers, you will directly go to the correct viewpoint location in your own BIM tool!  

5. Limited accessibility 

Sometimes you want to quickly access your issues and directly see the progress made. You don’t want to be dependent on location or the device you have with you. Spreadsheets are still often stored on the company’s server, making it harder for team members outside of your company to gain access. Managing spreadsheets from your smartphone or tablet? Not ideal. Forgot your laptop? Then you have a problem. 

Enter the cloud! It ensures accessibility to your files from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. If you go a (smart) step further, you should use a cloud-based BIM collaboration platform, such as BIMcollab Nexus, that offers full functionality for everyone via the browser, no matter the device. Easily gain an up-to-date insight into your project’s issues, communication and progress. 

6. Ineffective workflow

Working with numerous spreadsheets leaves a dangerous amount of room for personal interpretation. There is a significant risk of an inaccurate follow-up of issues. Besides, it is hard to keep track of what has been communicated and to whom. This has a negative effect on the efficiency, lead time and costs of a project. 

To ensure maximum efficiency, a project benefits from an optimized workflow. One that is embedded in a proven system. That is where an issue management tool comes in. It ensures the whole team can work together without problem. It helps you centralize all issues, keep track of your project’s progress and simplify communication. 

7. Sensitive to data theft and 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. It is obvious; in this digital age you must be able to manage and share data in a safe and secure manner.  

Implement a tool that allows you to safely manage and store your issues and keep track of all communication around your project. Preferably one that encrypts data and makes a back-up daily. Don’t forget to ensure the tool is in possession of SSL licenses and ISO certificates. 

How BIMcollab can help you improve your issue coordination workflow 

It must be clear now: don’t use spreadsheets for your issue coordination process. It takes too much valuable time, is prone to errors, is not integrated with your software, counteracts an optimal workflow and the data is often unprotected.  

Luckily, a BIM collaboration platform such as BIMcollab Nexus offers a solution. It helps you to simplify issue management by offering a structured way of storing, sharing and solving issues. You can easily assign issues and deadlines, keep track of all communication and connect with the most popular BIM tools. Reduce the risk of mistakes, data loss and ‘forgotten’ issues and involve your stakeholders by working together in one central tool. Are you ready to try it?