Showing posts with label Master Thesis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Master Thesis. Show all posts

MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.4 Chapter Summary

The literature review shows a clear tendency towards major project complexity (Chan et al., 2004; Williams, 2002; Alshawi and Ingirige, 2003). It also shows a linkage between complex projects and the existence of inter-organizational associations to accomplish these projects (Maurer, 2010).A second linkage has been drawn between inter-organizational associations and the need for “better integration, cooperation, and coordination of construction project teams” (Cicmil & Marshall 2005, cited in Maunula, 2008).

The unprecedented level of communication, collaboration and efficiency that BIM allows (Lee, 2008) seems to draw the last linkage on this chain: we have more complex projects that require inter-organizational associations; these associations require better coordination and cooperation; BIM promises to allow this increased coordination and collaboration. Ignoring BIM from the Project Management point of view seems to the author as a big mistake.

Lastly, we have seen how the industry requires a shift from a document based approach to communicating information to what many have chosen to name as Project Integrated Databases. The scholarly literature and statements from BIM supporting bodies suggest that BIM could help on this shift from documents to PIDs, for its nature is the “creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional information”, as we have seen in the definition of BIM on Chapter 1.

We have also seen a list of 10 potential benefits that PMs can get by implementing BIM in the projects (Table 2.1). BIM can thus be the catalyst that will enable Project Managers to reengineer the processes to better integrate the different stakeholders involved in modern construction projects.

There are and there will be challenges to the acceptance and implementation of BIM. Some of them are inherent to the new associations between stakeholders needed. The correct implementation of BIM requires “understanding and developing inter-organizational work practices” (Harty, 2005, cited in Maunula, 2008). This requirement for the implementation of BIM could be the catalyst for an overall shift towards better, more collaborative processes that could improve drastically the results and the productivity of the companies working on the AEC Industry.

The intention of this dissertation is thus to analyze the benefits of BIM as a Project Management tool and to explore in which ways and to what extent BIM will help the implementation of better processes to successfully deliver complex construction projects and which are the main challenges ahead. The methodology to achieve these goals will be explained on the following chapter.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.3.2– BIM: more than just another IOIS

The AEC Industry is based on the collaboration of several parties during the project life-cycle, and the success of projects depends on exchanging information between stakeholders on a timely manner. IOIS aim to increase the sharing of information between partners. Some years back, researchers promised that IOIS would be used “to enhance construction project documentation and control and to revolutionize the way in which a construction project team conducts business” (Nitithamyong and Skibniewski, 2004: p. 492).

Despite the benefits brought by the extensive use of IOIS, these systems are still lacking on the aspect of integration. The author has the experience of working with some of this IOIS (shared FTP portals in USA and document management systems in Germany and Spain) and they all seem to be mostly used just as online repositories of documents that all stakeholders can access. Without disregarding what the existing IOIS have accomplished – reduction of email based communication, safe storage of documents, improved communication, etc - it seems that another shift in the way things are done is needed.

BIM could be the key approach to adopt to ensure this integration and shift from the document paradigm to the Integrated Database paradigm happens. On this line of thought, the International Alliance for Interoperability [IAI] has been developing since 1995 a standard for sharing building and construction industry data. This standard has been named Industry Foundation Classes [IFC] and it follows on the work done with STEP for Product Models. Although IAI’s mission is to “support open BIM through the life cycle” (IAI, 2010a), their holistic approach to BIM encompasses many other aspects of the project delivery process. Their Information Delivery Manual [IDM] (IAI, 2010b) considers, in addition to the IFC] standards, a methodology to support the implementation of BIM, addressing the business processes and information exchange requirements.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.3.1– From documents to Project Integrated Databases

As we have seen, there is a need for better integration of project teams (Manaula 2008), one way to achieve this integration is by the proper use of Inter-Organizational Information Systems [IOIS] (Ibid.).

Figure 2.3 Use of e-business solutions in the EU industries
(adapted from e-business Watch, 2006)

“The construction and facilities industry has historically used a document-based way of working, through drawings and reports, and has communicated through ‘unstructured’ text such as letters and emails” (BSI, 2010, p. 2).

A document based way of working means that through the project life cycle there is an “unstructured stream of text or graphic entities” (BSI, 2010, p. 2). This unstructured stream is a challenge for better integrated practices. The information exchanged at the document level is generally “fuzzy, unformatted or difficult to interpret” (Ajam et. al. 2010: p. 763).

A key aspect is to understand what means “proper use” of the IOIS mentioned in the beginning of this section. Ajam et al. (2010) argue that the proper use is that of going from document sharing practices to share information at the object or element level. The proper use of these IOIS is thus the one that allows the much needed integration of project teams and the switch from the mentioned unstructured stream of entities to an integrated and interrelated use of information, what has been named by several authors as the Project Integrated Database [PID] paradigm.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.3 – BIM and Information Management

The process on how information is exchanged is thus seen as a key aspect for successful implementation of BIM. This exchange of information is mostly done through ICT. A study shows that the construction industry has had a much lower integration of ICT and e-business processes than other industries in the European Union [EU] (e-Business Watch, 2006) ICT and e-business are generally used much less than in the other industries, as it can be seen on figure 2.3. In countries like Spain, according to the study by Bayo-Moriones and Lera-López (2007), the Building Industry is “behind the rest of sectors in the adoption rate of several ICT” (Ibid. P. 363).

The low rate of adoption of ICT compared to other industries is a challenge for the implementation of better ICT processes like BIM. Nevertheless, a bigger problem for this implementation might be the way the construction industry has traditionally worked. We will see on the following subsection how the change needed embraces the overall approach towards ICT and not just a shift from CAD to BIM.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.2.2 The BIM Potential

When people work together on a project, communicating specific characteristics of the project amongst the different parties involved requires documentation of these characteristics (Lee, 2008). Traditionally, this documentation was done on a paper or document basis (BSI, 2010). BIM takes the traditional paper-based tools of construction projects, puts them on a virtual environment and allows a level of efficiency, communication and collaboration that exceeds those of traditional construction processes (Lee, 2008).

Moreover “the coordination of complex project systems is perhaps the most popular application of BIM at this time. It is an ideal process to develop collaboration techniques and a commitment protocol among the team members.” (Grilo and Jardim-Goncalves, 2010 : p. 524).

BIM can be of great use on all stages of the project life-cycle. It has many dimensions: it can be used by the owner to understand project needs; by the design team to analyze, design and develop the project; by the contractor to manage the construction of the project and by the facility manager [FM] during operation and decommissioning phases (Grilo and Jardim-Goncalves, 2010).

Aouad et al. (2006) defined this multidimensional capacity of BIM as nD modelling, for it allows adding an almost infinite number of dimensions to the Building Model. This “n” dimensions can be seen in Figure 2.2 that shows what BSI (2010) understands as a complete BIM.

Project Management has a wide scope of services or dimensions; most of them, like managing Quality, Time, Risks, Procurement and Integrations (PMI, 2004) are dimensions that can be integrated into a BIM, as seen in Figure 2.2.. Although most BIM projects do not yet use BIM for all dimensions (BSI, 2010), it is on this nD understanding of BIM that the author is interested, for it is the approach that makes BIM a relevant tool for Project Managers.

As we have seen, very few PM scholars have studied BIM from the PM point of view. Other than on scientific Journals, an article from Allison (2010) is maybe the one that addresses the BIM potential as a PM Tool more directly. Allison describes “10 reasons why project manager should champion 5D BIM” (Table 2.1). 5D BIM is traditionally understood as BIM that includes, besides the 3D model, Scheduling information (the 4th D) and information for estimating the project from the model (the 5th D). Although the article is from an employee of a BIM software vendor, and the potential of BIM for PM might be slightly exaggerated, the list of advantages for PM practitioners is worth considering. These advantages are compiled in Table 2.1, and should be seen as potential ways in which BIM can benefit Project Managers.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.2.1 The BIM Background

“Traditional representation methods used by architects and engineers for hundreds of years, such as scale drawings, renderings, and three dimensional scale models, contain only a small part of the information needed to interpret and assess the quality of the design” (Khemlani et al., 1998).

The first Computer Aided Design [CAD] application was invented in 1963 by Ivan Sutherland (Broquetas, 2010a). Widespread adoption of this new technology in the AEC industry did not happen in a few years, it took decades, and when it happened the Adoption of CAD software in AEC firms was progressive, and it is nowadays widely spread in virtually all architectural firms (Broquetas, 2010b). Some resisted the adoption of the CAD systems, and others have argued that CAD poses some challenges to creative design (Lawson, 2002). Nevertheless, in 2009, the result of a study and poll amongst AEC industry leaders, showed CAD as the greatest advance in construction history (Architect’s Journal, 2009).

Despite the relevance taken by CAD in the AEC industry, Khemnlani et al. (1998) argued that CAD simply imported the traditional representation methods used for hundreds of years by architects and engineers into the computer environment, and with that, the informational deficiencies that these methods imply were incorporated into the new way of designing and documenting projects. They foresaw the need for a more intelligent way of documenting projects that “will embody some of the knowledge added to the interpretation of drawings by the human observers” (Khemnlani et al., 1998 : p. 50).

While the AEC industry was slowly adopting CAD, the product development and manufacturing industry [PDM] adopted it much faster and the use in this industry rapidly evolved into a modelling process (Lee, 2008). This modelling approach raised the need for the PDM industry to develop practices of better integration of multidisciplinary teams. Due to this need, “since 1984 the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on the development of a comprehensive standard for the electronic exchange of product data between computer-based product life-cycle systems” (Pratt, 2001 : p. 102). This standard is named STandard for the Exchange of Product model data [STEP] and is included in the ISO 10303: Automation systems and integration, Product data representation and exchange (Ibid.) and its goal is to “develop common representations of complex products for communicating information between CAD and other design applications” (Eastman and Siabiris, 1995 : p. 284)

In the AEC Industry, the idea of integrated product models for buildings, or Building Product Models [BPM] has been around for many years with one of its pioneers being Charles Eastman (Eastman and Siabiris, 1995; Eastman, 1999) who has used the term since the late 70s of the 20th century. The integrated approach was for the first time named Building Information Modelling [BIM] by Autodesk employee Phil Bernstein (Wikipedia, 2010) although many argue that the term is essentially the same as BPM (Yessios, 2004), so Eastman should be given the “father of BIM” title.
The concept of BIM is thus not so new, but thanks to the computational speed and memory available today (Yessios, 2004) and the strong push from software vendors (Holzer, 2007) the interest in BIM has raised very importantly in recent years both in scholarly circles (Figure 1.3) as well as in the general public (Figure 1.4).

BIM is, as it will be seen in the following section, a set of tools and processes with the potential to change the AEC Industry in the same way the modelling approach changed the manufacturing sector. Both technological requirements and commercial interests are also aligned to allow widespread implementation of BIM. With this alignment of factors, the author of this dissertation sees no better time to analyze its potential benefits for the AEC Industry.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.2 – The role of BIM in improving the delivery of construction projects

Relevant literature about BIM will be critically reviewed in this section to assess its potential use as cooperation, integration and coordination set of tools and methods for complex projects with inter-organizational associations.

Despite the numerous potential barriers reported to the inter-organizational use of BIM (Fox and Hietanen, 2007), the relevance of BIM for the AEC industry can be better understood having an overview at the background of this technology. We will analyze the literature on the background of BIM and later we will review the potential benefits of this technology.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.1 – Project Complexity and Inter-Organizational Collaboration

Master Thesis. Sub-Chapter 2.1 Project Complexity and Inter-Organizational Collaboration
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
A project is “a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (PMI, 2004: p. 5). Defining what a Complex Project is may not be that easy, but some attempts have been made. Simon (1982, cited in Williams 2002) defines a complex system as “one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a non-simple way”. Morris and Hough (1987, cited in Williams, 2002) analyzing complex projects state that they “demand an exceptional level of management, and that the application of conventional systems developed for ordinary projects have been found to be inappropriate for complex projects”.

Construction Projects tend to be more and more complex (Chan et al., 2004 and Williams, 2002). This is due to an increase in the use of CE (Williams 1999) and the increase of number of stakeholders and PM tools and methods used (Bosch-Rekveldt et al. 2010).

Baccarini (1996) mentioned organizational complexity as a key defining element of complex projects. On the other hand, Williams (1999) defined project complexity as characterised by two dimensions, with two sub-dimensions each (Figure 2.1).

Complex Projects require inter-organizational associations (Maurer, 2010). To ensure success in inter-organizational project ventures, trust between the different project partners is acknowledged as a key success factor (Maurer, 2010 and Kadefors, 2004). Because of the nature of work in these inter-organizational ventures there is “highly recognized need for better integration, cooperation, and coordination of construction project teams” (Cicmil & Marshall 2005, cited in Maunula, 2008).

Figure 2.1 Dimensions of Project Complexity (after Williams, 1999: p.271)

Inter-organizational information systems [IOIS] are one possible way to cope with the integration, cooperation, and coordination challenges faced in construction (Maunula, 2008). IOIS are sometimes referred to as Web-based Project Management Systems [WPMS] (Forcada et al., 2007; Nitithamyong and Skibniewski, 2004), Web-Collaborative Extranets [WCEs] or Document Management Systems [DMS] (Ajam et al. 2010). This research will use the term IOIS for it seems more generic and able to encompass all these different nomenclatures while highlighting the multi party collaborative nature of their use.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.- Literature Review

Due to the scope of this dissertation, three main topics were identified, and relevant literature for each of them has been analyzed. The topics are:
  • Project complexity and inter-organizational collaboration
  • The role of BIM in improving the delivery of construction projects
  • The current status of BIM and other ICT in the AEC Industry
Literature for each of these topics will be critically reviewed in the following sections. On the final summary of this chapter, links between the literatures will be drawn and conclusions from these links will be used to design the research methodology and to suggest further topics for research out of the scope of this dissertation.

Let’s start with the first topic for it has a wider scope and will help us understand the overall framework in which BIM has a role to play and the gaps in current practice that could be bridged by the correct implementation of BIM.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 1.3- Research Question and Objectives

On the previous sections we have seen that the implementation of BIM is not homogeneous in all countries. We have also noted that despite the increase in literature related to BIM in recent years (Table 1.2 and Figure 1.3) PM scholars have ignored BIM as a tool to be considered in PM research.

Considering the increased complexity of construction projects mentioned on the first section of this chapter, any tools that help optimize the design and construction process should be analyzed if they help practitioners cope with this increased project complexity. On the other hand, PM scholars have for too long ignored the study of BIM (Table 1.2), despite its potential benefits that we will alter see, despite the increased interest by other field’s scholars (Figure 1.3) and by construction professionals in general (Figure 1.4)

The intention of this research is to study BIM from the PM point of view, and to do this, this paper tries to answer the question: “Is BIM a Project Management Tool? How can BIM help Project Managers succeed in delivering complex construction projects”? The author’s intention is to proof based on existing literature and empirical evidence that the answer to the first question is affirmative and that the answer to the second one includes a wide range of ways in which BIM can be a helpful PM Tool.

Parallel and as a consequence to this search for answers, several research objectives are defined:
1. To identify in which aspects is BIM implementation showing more benefits for the delivery of construction projects
2. To compare the benefits of BIM with the role of the Project Manager
3. To define which role should the Project Manager assume within the BIM framework.

The intention of the author is in no way to produce a promotional pamphlet for a specific BIM platform, nor is it to ignore the challenges and shortcomings of BIM platforms. For this reason, another research objective is defined as:
4. To analyze the existing challenges for BIM implementation and estimate future developments that might mitigate these challenges.

Figure 1.4 Google Search Trends for CAD vs. BIM (Google Trends, 2010)

The research methods to answer the research question and objectives will be described in the Methodology chapter of this paper. A key aspect that lead to the definition of the research methodology is the in depth analysis of relevant literature. The following chapter will deal with this topic, since despite the lack of references from the International Journal of Project Management there are plenty of scholars from other related research fields that have analysed the role of BIM (Table 1.2).

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 1.2- Problem Definition

BIM is argued to be “a catalyst for change, poised to reduce industry's fragmentation, improve its efficiency/effectiveness and lower the high costs of inadequate interoperability” (Succar, 2009: p. 357). Studies show that there has been an important growth on the use of BIM software in the recent years (AIA, 2009; McGraw-Hill, 2008 and McGraw-Hill, 2010).

In the USA, as of 2008 and according to AIA (2009), 34% of registered AIA members have purchased a BIM software package, percentage that doubles the numbers of 3 years before (Ibid). It is important to remember the definition of BIM used on the previous section comprises not only tools but also the adoption of new processes, so the data expressing “use of BIM” has to be analyzed with caution for it is not clear if it refers only to the use of BIM software or to the holistic approach to BIM that this dissertation is interested in.

Regardless of this difficulty analysing the data, the penetration rates (McGraw-Hill, 2010a) show the relevance that the technology is gaining in some countries. But not all countries embrace it at the same pace. As it can be seen on Figure 1.2, North America is ahead of Europe on BIM adoption rates.

Figure 1.2 BIM Adoption Rates in North America and Europe
After McGraw-Hill, 2010a)

On the other hand, and despite the great increase in Journal Articles about BIM in recent years (Figure 1.3), Project Management Literature has tended to ignore the topic of BIM. Only Bansal (2011) and Benjoaran (2009) mention this concept in the International Journal of Project Management. The only mention found on the Project Management Institute literature –the Project Management Journal and PMI organised Conferences- is a conference paper by Lee (2008) that briefly mentions the possible beneficial outcomes of using BIM from the Project Manager point of view.
BIM is becoming a relevant topic of research in recent years (Figure 1.3) but none of this increase in interest on the topic has arrived to PM specialised literature (Table 1.2). Research is thus needed on the role of BIM as a Project Management [PM] tool. Most of the potential benefits of BIM mentioned on the previous section of this chapter are key aspects of the role of a Project Manager (PMI, 2004), for this reason PM literature should no longer ignore this topic and join other scholars on analyzing the potential benefits of implementing BIM in construction projects.

Figure 1.3 Evolution of the Number of Journal Articles Mentioning BIM

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 1.1- Background

The author of this Master Thesis has always been interested in the implementation of ICT in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction [AEC] Industry. During the last decade, the major shift in ICT for the AEC industry has been the proliferation of Building Information Modelling [BIM] in industrial and academic circles as the “new CAD paradigm” (Succar, 2009).

BIM is currently the most common denomination for a new way of approaching the design, construction and maintenance of Buildings. Different authors and commercial firms have chosen to name this new approach in different ways (Table 1.1) but they all refer to the same concept that will be referred always on this dissertation as BIM.

There is not a single definition of what BIM is. Some scholars define it as “a set of interacting policies, processes and technologies generating a methodology to manage the essential building design and project data in digital format throughout the building's life-cycle” (Succar, 2009: p. 357). Other scholars prefer to define it using papers by commercial BIM vendors. Aouad et al. (2006) used the following definition: “building information model (BIM) is a computer model database of building design information, which may also contain information about the building’s construction, management, operations and maintenance” (Graphisoft 2003, cited in Aouad et al., 2006: p. 5). Other software vendors have also stated their own definitions of BIM such as “create and operate on digital databases for collaboration, manage change [...] and capture and preserve information for reuse by additional industry-specific applications” (Autodesk, 2002 : p. 2). For the purpose of this dissertation the author would like to use his own definition of BIM that encompasses the most common accepted views on the topic.

Building Information Modelling [BIM] is the most commonly used term to describe a set of parametric CAD tools and processes for the creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional information regarding the design, construction and/or operations of a building, with the purpose of improving collaboration between stakeholders, reducing the time needed for documentation of the project and producing more predictable project outcomes.

Table 1.1 Widely used terms related to BIM
(after Succar, 2009 : p. 359)

Although it is sometimes understood that BIM is only the software platform and that all the inter-organizational integrated processes should receive other names (like Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, etc), when referring to BIM in this dissertation, the reader should always understand that BIM refers to the previous definition of tools and processes and never to just the software tools that allow the geometrical modelling and the input of information. It is the understanding of the author, that this holistic definition embraces all the potential of BIM and offers a better understanding of all its scope.

Defining the term though, is not the purpose of this dissertation. As we will see in the following section, despite the potential benefits that we can infer from the previous definition, the implementation of BIM and the perception of its benefits is not equal everywhere (AIA, 2009; McGraw-Hill, 2008 and McGraw-Hill, 2010). This disparity between potential benefits and acceptance is the starting point for our problem definition.

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MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 1.- Introduction

The development of a construction project goes through several stages and requires a wide range of services (Clough et al., 2008). During any project, there will be reciprocal interdependencies between different stakeholders, such as financing bodies, authorities, architects, engineers, lawyers, contractors, suppliers and tradesmen (Ibid.). Another driver in the project-management domain causing an increase in reciprocal interdependencies is the rise in concurrent engineering [CE] (Williams 1999).

To this inherent complexity of stakeholders we must add that construction projects are becoming much more complex and difficult (Chan et al., 2004; Williams, 2002; Alshawi and Ingirige, 2003). The big size of projects is traditionally seen as the cause of project complexity (Williams 2002) although it is argued that it is not the size itself but aspects derived from the size of the project - like number of stakeholders or number of project management tools and methods – that contribute to project complexity (Bosch-Rekveldt et al. 2010).

On the other hand, studies show that while productivity in other industries has increased considerably in the last 40 years, the productivity of the construction industry has actually been steadily decreasing.

Fig. 1.1 – Construction and Non-Farm Labour Productivity Index (Teicholz, 2004)

To cope with the increasing complexity of projects, information and communication technology [ICT] has been developing at a very fast pace (Taxén and Lilliesköld, 2008). This uptake in ICT did not bring yet all the expected benefits to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction [AEC] Industry (Majer et al. 2010), such as an important increase in Labour Productivity. This could be because the human ability to cope with these complexities has not developed at the same rate as ICT (Taxén and Lilliesköld, 2008), or because the implementation of ICT alone is not enough and the industry needs a shift into a new way of working.

In any case, understanding what ICT can do to help industry professionals cope with the increased complexity of projects is key to reach successful project outcomes and could be the key to increase the overall productivity of the industry. Any changes in tools and also in processes that may help the Construction Industry shift its tendency towards higher productivity should be considered and studied in detail.

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My First Published Paper

My first scientific paper has just been published online
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Back with new content!

CAD Addict is back with plenty of posts ready to roll
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I've been off for some weeks during August plus the rest of the month was so nice here in Barcelona weather wise that I had really no time to lock myself and try to write something. In the following weeks, I have decided to start posting my Master Thesis bit by bit.

Why am I doing that? Well, I am starting my PhD during this semester, and I want to revisit what I wrote almost a year ago. Plus since my PhD will deal in a way or another with the implications of BIM to improve the Spainsih construction industry, I thought any feedback from you on what I wrote would be of great help. To start, you can revisit the summary page of my MT here, and the list of references I used (with links to the articles) here.

To not bore all of those not so interested in the MT or in theretical BIM I will also be posting regularly the sort of posts that have made CAD Addict a place of reference for around 30000 visitors from 162 countries each month. So thanks for reading and please do leave feedback!

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Master Thesis Abstracts of the IPM course available online

The HfT has a repository of all (or most) of the abstracts of the students master thesis available online.Català - Castellano - Deutsch
Not so long ago, I published here the summary of my Master Thesis on the Topic of BIM for Project Management. We have been told today that all abstracts are now available on the School website, so I thought I'd share the link to it so you can see the summary in pdf and properly edited form.

You can see the Abstract of my Master Thesis named "Using BIM as a Project Management Tool - How can BIM help the delivery of complex construction projects" here.

For all the other abstracts, see this page. The quality of the Master Thesis varies as it happens in any course. Two of the ones I know where pretty well done (besides mine ;P) are the ones by Jürgen M. Volm on Risk Management (focused in Germany) and the one from Ralf Schulmeister on how to implement Lean Management in Germany.

Since I posted the summary and references I got a lot of inquiries about the Master Thesis and I am very happy to answer those questions. If you need any help writing or researching a similar topic, please contact me and I'll do my best to guide you on the hard process of academic research.


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(References) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

List of references used for my Master Thesis
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
If you are looking into researching the topics of BIM and Project Management, maybe some of the references I used for my Master Thesis might be useful for you. So here they come.

  • Alshawi, B. and Ingirige, B. (2003) “Web-enabled project management an emerging paradigm in construction”. Automation in Construction. Volume 12, pp.349-364.
  • Atkinson, R. (1999) “Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, it’s time to accept other success criteria”
  • Autodesk (2002) Building information Modelling.
  • Autodesk (2007) BIM and cost Estimating.
  • Aouad, G.; Lee, A. and Wu, S. (2006) Constructing the Future: nD Modeling. London, UK and New York, USA: Taylor and Francis.
  • AIA (2009) The Business of Architecture: An AIA Survey Report on Firm Characteristics.
  • Allison, H (2010) “10 Reasons Why Project Managers should Champion 5D BIM software” VICO Software.
  • Architect’s Journal (2009). CAD - The greatest advance in construction history.
  • Baccarini (1996) “The concept of project complexity - a review”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 14, pp. 201-204.
  • Bansal, VK (2011) “Application of geographic information systems in construction safety planning”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 29, pp. 66-77.
  • Bayo-Moriones, A. and Lera-López, F. (2007) “A firm-level analysis of determinants of ICT adoption in Spain”. Technovation. Volume 27, pp. 352-366
  • Benjaoran, V. (2009) “A cost control system development. A collaborative approach for small and medium-sized contractors”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 27, pp. 270-277.
  • Bentley (2003) Does the Building Industry Really Need to Start Over?
  • Bosch-Rekveldt, M.; Jongkind, Y.; Mooi, H.; Bakker, H. and Verbraeck, A. (2010) “Grasping project complexity in large engineering projects: The TEO (Technical, Organizational and Environmental) framework. International Journal of Project Management. Article in Press
  • Broquetas, M. (2010a) From CAD to BIM: Part I - History of CAD.
  • Broquetas, M. (2010b) From CAD to BIM: Part II - History of CAD.
  • BSI (2010) Constructing the Business Case. Building Information Modelling. London and Surrey, UK: British Standards Institution and BuildingSMART UK.
  • Chan, A. P. C.; Scott, D. and Chan, A. P. L. (2004), “Factors Affecting the Success of a Construction Project”. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. Volume 130, pp, 153-155.
  • Clough, R.H.; Sears, G.A. and Sears, S.K. (2008) Construction Project Management. A Practical Guide to Field Construction Management. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
  • Eastman, C. (1999) Building Product Models: Computer Environments Supporting Design and Construction, CRC Press, Boca Raton FL
  • Eastman, C. and Siabiris, A. (1995) “A generic building product model incorporating building type information” Automation in Construction. Volume 3, pp. 283-304.
  • e-Business Watch (2006) A Pocketbook of e-Business Indicators. A portrait of e-business in 10 sectors of the EU economy
  • Europapress (2010) El 66 por ciento de los españoles no habla inglés, según un estudio. Europapress
  • European Commission (2009) COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT on the implementation of Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Roca, X. and Gangolells, M. (2007) “Adoption of web databases for document management in SMEs of the construction sector in Spain” Automation in Construction. Volume 16, pp. 411-424.
  • Fortune, J. and White, D. (2006) “Framing of project critical success factors by a systems model”. International Journal of Project Management. Volume 24, pp. 53-65.
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(Summary) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

The summary of my master thesis. More to come soon.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
See the previous post for more information on the Master Thesis and to see the Power Point presentation I used. Here you will find a brief summary of the thesis (the thesis has 22000 words). I am now in talks to publish the MT in a scientific journal. If that happens I guess I will not be allowed to publish it here, if it doesn't happen, then i am planning to publish it by Chapters or sections here.

Master Thesis Summary:

Building Information Modelling [BIM] is the most commonly used term to describe a set of parametric tools and processes for the creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional information regarding the design, construction and/or operations of a building, with the purpose of improving collaboration between stakeholders, reducing the time needed for documentation of the project and producing more predictable project outcomes.

Although the rates of companies adopting BIM (McGraw-Hill, 2010a) and the research about the topic has been steadily increasing in recent years, there is very few literature analysing the topic from the Project Management point of view.

To try to fill this void, this dissertation attempted to analyse BIM from the Project Management point of view. The research started with the mission to answer a double research question: “Is BIM a Project Management Tool? How can BIM help Project Managers succeed in delivering complex construction projects?” To answer this, the author analyzed relevant literature, analyzed the benefits of implementing BIM in 35 different construction projects and reviewed the opinions of AEC professionals collected through questionnaires.

The research was successful on proving that BIM is a relevant tool for Project Managers because the benefits found in projects using BIM outnumber the challenges, moreover the benefits found are in line with the role expected from a Project Manager, as defined in the different knowledge areas of the PMBOK.

The literature showed a need for better integration of project teams and collaboration between all parties. It also showed the need for a new way of dealing with information, moving from the document paradigm to the Project Integrated Database paradigm. The information analysed pointed in the direction that BIM could be the tool that allowed this better integration of teams and of information. The research study pursued based on that has shown that it does, with Communication and Coordination as two of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) showing more benefits due to the use of BIM in construction projects.

Paral.lel to the research question several objectives were defined, the first objective was to identify in which aspects BIM is showing more benefits for construction projects. Added to the already mentioned Communication and Coordination benefits, Cost, Time and Quality Improvement were the other three KPIs proven to have more beneficial influence from BIM in projects.

Comparing the main benefits of BIM implementation with the role of the Project Manager was the second objective of this research. The traditional Iron Triangle was used. Having Time, Cost and Quality as a major aspect in which BIM is showing positive effects, proved the relevance of BIM for PM practitioners. The study also used Atkinson’s (1999) Square Route principle and showed that BIM is clearly helping in 2 of the 4 corners of Atkinson’s concept for Project Management Success Factors.
The benefits for stakeholders and the organizational benefits were not so easy to identify. Organizational improvements were mentioned directly or indirectly in the case studies a few times and the questionnaire survey showed some respondents with opinions related to the improvement of the organization because of BIM use.

This research also aimed to define which role should the Project Manager assume within the BIM framework. Almost half of the respondents considered that the Project Manager should be BIM Proficient and 24% of them considered that the Project Manager should be in charge of overall BIM Management. The research shows that BIM is an Information Management Tool that goes way beyond its design functions. For this reason the author is pretty confident to state that it is the PM who should lead the BIM Management the same way the PM is the leader in setting up other IT systems and protocols in complex projects.

The research also showed that there are some challenges for BIM implementation. Mainly, these challenges are related to the Cost and Time needed to train staff to work efficiently with BIM.

The second challenge found was the existence of certain Software Issues that seem to not be allowing the use of BIM with all its potential. The research suggested that the PM should contribute to the solving of these issues, instead of considering the a reason not to use BIM, to be sure they address the aspects that can most benefit projects.

Despite the described challenges for BIM implementation. This research shows enough positive aspect related to the Project Management role, and it is suggested that PMs will benefit a lot from the use of this new way of working.

This dissertation also suggests that further studies should focus on how to improve BIM and aspects of BIM implementation, rather than trying to prove if BIM should be used or not. The AEC Industry needs better practices and BIM is one of them. But researchers should focus on how to make this adoption easier, more cost effective and smoother, and not waste much more brain power trying to convince those who resist change.

To see a complete list of references used for this research check this post.

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Most Commonly used Design Software

See which software packages are being used by more people
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
After analyzing part of the questionnaires of my master thesis I created this table showing the answers to the question "Which software package do you or your colleagues use regularly?" There where a total of 93 completed questionnaires from several locations and from a varied type of stakeholders, so the sample can be considered quite representative. I was surprised though by the high percentage of respondents who answered that they or their colleagues used Revit regularly. Here maybe is where the sample has some flaws, and people applying BIM concepts were more prone to answer the questionnaires than those who don't. Hard to guess. In any case, here is the table, take your own conclusions.

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The evolution of Scholar research on BIM

More and more scholars are lately doing, and publishing research about BIM. See the evolution.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
Based on on my previous post where I published a table with the Journals that have published articles about BIM and that showed an increase in scholarly research in recent years on the topic, I created a chart to better show this. Because the table was quite dense, I decided to simplify it to better show the evolution of this research with easy numbers. Here it comes.

This is part of my Master Thesis, so I'd appreciate if anyone who wants to use this can reference to it as it is shown below, or at least link to this page so people can find the updated Reference.

Broquetas, M (2011) 'Using BIM as a Project Management Tool.
How can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?', Master thesis, Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences.

This is still a working title, if I finnally change it, I'll let you know

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