Top 5 FAQ about issue management answered

Top 5 FAQ about issue management answered

The design process is fundamentally a multidisciplinary task. No one designs a whole building by themselves. It is a complex process with many different systems and technologies that, at the end of the day, must all fit together and work in harmony. Because of the design project complexity, and the number of different disciplines involved, effective communication between teams is essential. Team members need to align on different project topics, or as they are known in the BIM coordination field: the project issues.

So, once you start reviewing your project, discussing the possible solutions, and documenting all the information, you’ve already started with issue management. But what is issue management exactly? What is an issue? And why is issue management so important? In this blog, we’ll discuss the answers to the five most frequently asked questions about BIM issue management.

Image made with BIMcollab Nexus. Triodos Bank, a project by Triodos Bank & EDGE Technologies. Provided by J.P. van Eesteren

1. What is issue management?

Essentially, issue management is the process of identifying and documenting issues that need to be coordinated in a project, and keeping track of their progress until they are completely resolved.

Coordination issues come up during all phases of the design process and can be brought up by any team member. It could be that one of the designers found incompatibilities between their and another team’s model. Or perhaps the coordinator is reviewing the project and finds model elements that are not meeting a specific requirement. Or maybe a team member has a remark or a question about a specific part of the design and requires more insight into it.

Once identified, issues should be properly documented and assigned to team member who is then responsible for that issue. He or she will analyze the issues further and propose a clarification or a solution. Most often this process is not that straightforward. Before reaching a final solution, a lot of other questions are raised and additional feedback is shared by multiple team members in the process.

So, managing the complex process of documenting the issues, assigning them to the right team members, keeping track of the exchange of information, the solutions proposed, and the approvals, is what is considered “issue management”.

2. What is an issue?

An issue can be any topic that needs attention from the team. It could be a coordination problem that needs to be addressed, a remark about a specific design solution, or a change request from a project manager. Another example of a typical issue is a geometrical clash between modeled elements from different disciplines that has come up during the model validation process.

3. Why is it important to use an issue management platform?

As your BIM project evolves and the number of issues grows, keeping track of the agreements and information exchange within your team and with external stakeholders becomes a challenging task.

Some teams rely on traditional ways of managing issues in the BIM process. For example, they create issues by making, discussing them via emails and messaging apps, use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of changes, and then share this information with stakeholders to update them about the progress.

But these workflows make the information exchange very complex, as it requires a lot of repetitive and error-sensitive manual work. It often results in extensive documents with multiple versions. As the process becomes more interactive, and new information and changes are coming from all sides, these documents become very hard to manage. There is a high risk that not all information will reach the right stakeholders on time, or that information will slip through and not be included in the overview.

That is why having an issue management platform is so important. An issue management platform allows teams to centralize all issues and communication in a single source. It enables teams to handle information exchange in a structured way. When all team members use an issue management platform to communicate, there is no need to document individual interactions seperately. The entire communication process, changes and edits are documented in the issue history. It gives you and your team a full overview of the integrated design progress.

Another great benefit is that using a cloud-based issue management platform guarantees that everyone involved in the project always has access to the latest information. As the information is stored in a central, online database, every time someone creates a new issue or revises an existing issue, this information is immediately updated and available for everyone involved.

4. How does issue management reduce project costs??

As we explained, managing your project issues manually is a lot of work. Besides the potential risk of not having all information documented and updated, a manual issue management process demands a lot of valuable time from team members.

Have you ever thought about how much time is spent trying to find a specific issue in a large document, locating it in the model itself, updating it with new comments that are coming in, saving it, and sharing it again with the rest of the team every time a new update takes place?

After that, the other team members have to repeat the same process from their side. Time consuming, right? And as we all know, time is money. If you calculate the costs of the time your team has to spend on manual issue management, you’ll realize that those costs end up much higher than the costs of an issue management and BIM coordination solution.

Once you have an issue management solution in place, you will have more control over the integrated design project. You can keep track of its progress and forecast bottlenecks by analyzing the metrics of your projects. Additionally, taking control over your project’s information will help you to prevent errors before they happen on the construction site, saving valuable time and material. Hence, implementing an issue management platform is a wise decision.

5. How do you choose an issue management platform?

There are a lot of aspects you should consider when choosing your issue management platform. First, make sure you are working with an Open BIM solution that enables every stakeholder to participate in the project communication, no matter their preferred BIM software solution. Good to know is that the open format for BIM issue exchange is the BCF format.

Second, you should consider how easy it is for each team member to participate in the project communication. Having the ability to directly communicate from their preferred BIM software makes it way accessible for them. Make sure you confirm how many BIM tools the issue management platform connects with.

Third, make sure you can set up your project workflow in a structured way, including well-defined roles and rights for all your team members. This way you will have control over the project access and are able to customize your issue management platform to your specific workflow needs. That is why the ability to define who can edit or close an issue, as well as the possibility to create mandatory fields, create confidential issues, and define approvers are very important features that give you the flexibility you need.

Now that you know more about issue management and how important it is to have a platform that allows you to keep control over your project information, we assume you want to take your BIM workflow to the next level. Our BIM coordination and issue management platform BIMcollab Nexus can help with that. If you want to know more about what BIMcollab can offer you, don’t hesitate to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with us or check out our recorded webinars.