What is BIM Coordination?

BIM is becoming widely accepted in the AEC industry. To implement it effectively in a project, you need to make sure your BIM coordination is on point. A seamless BIM coordination process is essential to improve collaboration, tackle design issues, and realize a high-quality building. But what exactly is BIM coordination, and why does it play a crucial role in the digital construction landscape? 

What is BIM Coordination? 

BIM coordination is essential within construction. It facilitates a collaborative environment by integrating various BIM models from different disciplines – including architecture, construction, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) – into one shared 3D model. This process ensures that design and construction elements are well-integrated. Any clashes and errors can be identified and resolved before construction even begins, resulting in a conflict-free model for smooth project delivery.

The BIM coordination process

Model creation 

First, each discipline involved in modelling creates their own BIM model using their preferred software. These models include specific details of the building design relevant to their respective discipline.  

Integration of disciplinary models 

The next step is when the BIM coordination process actually begins. The separate disciplinary models are carefully integrated into a single, unified digital model, by combining the IFC files.  This step is crucial for creating a complete digital representation of the construction project, combining all elements and systems, which serves as the basis for further analysis and coordination. 

Clash detection  

Now that all models are combined, it is likely there will be conflicts and clashes in the design. Hence, you’ll need to execute clash detection. This is a critical process where specialized software, such as BIMcollab Zoom, is used to identify clashes between model elements. Specialized model checking software enables BIM coordinators to detect both geometric (physical space conflicts) and functional (illogical or unfeasible operational relationships) clashes. Each identified issue is documented and prepared for further discussion. 

Coordination meetings 

Once issues are identified, coordination meetings follow, where team members involved in the coordination phase —from designers and architects to engineers and contractors—come together. These meetings are interactive and focus on exploring potential solutions for the detected clashes. The collaborative dynamics of these sessions allow for each team member to share their perspective and come up with solutions, contributing to a deep understanding of each issue. 

Model revisions 

Once potential solutions for an issue are proposed, the modelers involved with a specific clash go and redesign elements, adjust placements, and create modifications to resolve the issue. The integrated model is then updated to reflect the changes made, ensuring the model remains accurate and up to date.  

The Pearl by De Vries en Verburg

Quality control 

Of course, throughout the BIM coordination process, quality control checks are performed regularly to ensure the accuracy of the BIM model. This includes checking for new clashes, as well as verifying whether changes have been implemented correctly.  

Documentation and reporting

 An important part of the BIM coordination process is detailed documentation and reporting. You want to make sure that clash reports, meeting notes, and issue resolutions are maintained. It provides you with a detailed record for reference and promotes transparency in your project.  

Iterative revision process 

The process of BIM coordination is highly iterative. After each round of clash detection and solution development, the model is updated to reflect the changes. This may lead to new rounds of analysis to ensure that the implemented changes do not introduce new problems. This continuous revision process enhances the overall accuracy and integrity of the construction project. 

To get the most out of the BIM coordination process, it is essential to have a clear and up-to-date overview of all issues, as well as what has been communicated, shared, and decided. A BIM coordination platform such as BIMcollab Nexus – seamlessly connected to BIMcollab Zoom for model checking – centralizes all issues and communication in the cloud, offers clear reporting features, and allows for efficient model collaboration with all stakeholders. 

Role of the BIM Coordinator 

To ensure a smooth BIM-coordination process, the role of the BIM coordinator is crucial. A BIM Coordinator not only leads the technical analysis and management of the BIM model but is also responsible for facilitating communication and collaboration among all involved parties. They ensure that updates and changes to the model are implemented and that all parties have access to the most current information. This includes regularly updating the central model as solutions are implemented and ensuring a seamless transition from design to execution. The BIM coordinator is responsible for:  

  • Model integration: They ensure that all digital representations of the disciplines involved are correctly merged into a central BIM model. 
  • Conflict Analysis: Using advanced model checking software, they detect conflicts and inconsistencies between the models. These can be physical conflicts, such as spatial planning issues, or functional discrepancies where system elements do not align properly. 
  • Solution Management: Besides identifying problems, they also coordinate solution strategies by facilitating and leading collaboration among the involved parties. A centralized BIM collaboration platform can be an essential tool in this process. The BIM Coordinator organizes coordination meetings where project stakeholders come together to discuss and implement solutions.  
Cloud 5

Benefits of BIM coordination 

BIM coordination distinguishes itself from other BIM processes through a strong focus on integration, collaboration, and conflict resolution. While other processes might focus on individual aspects of the construction process, such as design or analysis, BIM coordination is the glue that brings everything together. It is an essential step in complex projects where multidisciplinary interaction is frequent and critical, and brings various benefits: 

Reducing conflicts and errors 

BIM coordination plays a key role in the early identification and resolution of conflicts between different construction disciplines. Advanced model checking software like BIMcollab Zoom uncovers geometric and functional clashes early in the design process.  This proactive approach reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes, prevents delays during the realization phase, and ensures a smoother construction process. Addressing issues early in the project saves time and resources and minimizes the need for expensive modifications and repairs after construction has begun. 

Improving communication and collaboration 

A central BIM model is at the heart of effective BIM coordination. It serves as a single source of truth for all stakeholders involved in the project, as the model gives a clear and accessible overview of the project. The transparency offered by a shared model not only enhances communication but also facilitates better decision-making, as everyone has access to accurate and up-to-date project data. This improved communication and information exchange helps reduce misunderstandings, streamlines decision-making, and increases overall project efficiency. 

Efficiency and cost savings 

Efficient BIM coordination integrates planning, design, and execution into a seamless workflow. By detecting problems early and enhancing collaboration among different disciplines, projects can be completed faster and within budget. Besides, it will help you with efficient resource utilization. Material use and labor hours can be better planned and optimized. Moreover, reducing the need for changes and revisions on-site significantly lowers overall project costs. BIM coordination provides financial predictability, which is essential for managing the budgets of large construction projects. 

The role of BIMcollab in BIM coordination 

BIMcollab plays an essential role in BIM coordination by offering advanced tools for clash detection with BIMcollab Zoom and issue management and model collaboration with BIMcollab Nexus. These platforms integrate seamlessly and connect with BIM software such as Revit and Archicad, enabling BIM coordinators to effectively identify, categorize, and resolve conflicts. This promotes a streamlined workflow and ensures that issues are addressed quickly and efficiently, which is crucial for maintaining project timelines and budgets.  

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