TeamSystem Construction Project Management (CPM) available in the Cloud with Microsoft Azure

CPM, the management platform by TeamSystem Construction – leader in the AEC industry – is now available in Software as a Service (SaaS) mode on Azure, the Microsoft Public Cloud platform. A new, agile and intuitive approach that fully exploits the functions of CPM in the pursuit of interoperability in the BIM environment.

Founded on the consolidated experience accumulated by the STR brand, TeamSystem Construction is the new TeamSystem brand in the field of construction project management software.

 

CPM is the TeamSystem Construction management platform for generating quotations, managing project costs, planning and scheduling jobs and supporting works and site management.

 

From today, CPM operates in a new dimension: in fact, the platform is now available in the Cloud in Software as a Service mode on Microsoft Azure, the Microsoft public cloud platform that offers the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS models of cloud computing service.

 

This strategic choice will enable the most effective possible use of big data and the BIM approach in the planning, construction, management and maintenance processes with a view to the increasing digitalization of design, execution and management processes in a completely new way; this will facilitate maximum interoperability with the main 3D CAD packages through the adoption of the IFC standard, and will give all the benefits of an immediate web-based usability that maintains and fully exploits all the 4D and 5D functions of CPM. This is achieved by a cloud solution specifically designed for the construction industry, offering optimized performance for BIM modeling and project data management to support the work of professionals and companies.

 

This new cloud-based means of using CPM is part of a strategy promoted by TeamSystem Construction, which will shortly be enriched by new solutions. Announcing this is Cristiano Zanetti, General Manager of Vertical Business at TeamSystem: “the availability of Project Management on the Microsoft Azure platform is an important step in our Cloud strategy, which from next September will be featuring a new player: Estimating Cloud, a solution entirely conceived in the logic of Software as a Service which will offer its users Accounting and Estimation functions in the BIM environment. These will be available to use on the Web through any browser, with full interoperability with the most widely used three-dimensional CAD packages. All this will come with a totally new user experience based on an easy and intuitive approach. It is designed for all professionals who come into contact with Building Information Modeling and who need a simple but also complete and innovative solution“.

 

In its new Software as a Service user mode, Project Management will continue to offer users all the advantages that have made it the solution of choice among some of the most important players in the construction industry such as Pizzarotti, CMB, Metropolitana di Napoli and many others. At the same time, however, it is within the reach of organizations of all sizes, creating a new generation system that exploits the most advanced digitalization technologies and BIM methodology to manage all steps in the building process, from design to cost estimates, from job planning to procurement, from timing and cost control to the execution of works, all in a single digital ecosystem.

 

“Operating on the cloud means choosing flexibility and accessibility, two differentiating drivers that we are sure will contribute to the success of CPM, offering a competitive advantage to the clients of TeamSystem Construction. Thanks to Microsoft Azure, operators in the construction sector can leverage an advanced tool providing scalable business support and access their wealth of business data on the move, anywhere and at any time, as well as the applications needed to generate quotations, manage contracts, plan works and direct site activities. All with the assurance of interoperability and maximum security”, declared Mattia De Rosa, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead at Microsoft Italia.

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Project management and 4D and 5D BIM, an “obligatory” passage - Execution phase

In the previous article, in addition to the players involved in the BIM process, we described the time and cost management activities typical of the Design phase. In this article, instead, we will focus on the execution of the works, without neglecting the sensitive moment of the economic offer associated with a public and/or private tender.

The formulation of the offer

Having a consistent business database with all the processes typical of the economic entity that offers them fully analysed, is a fundamental step for an evolved tender office. It is time to abandon the logic of files scattered in different folders across business PCs. Producing a sustainable economic offer means making the data available, once it has been processed (offers from materials suppliers, subcontractors or service providers) to a series of company functions (purchasing office, vehicles office, construction site leaders, etc.) which, respecting good project management practices represent, on the one hand the lesson learned of the tender’s study phase that can be beneficial for other offers, on the other representing the basic work on the basis of which it will be necessary to take action in case the offer is the best on the market. Starting from this data to create a budget represents a big step forward, with real time and cost savings for the company.

The execution phase

In Italy, time (4D) and cost (5D) management of a construction contract is one of the key points of the entire production process characteristic of this sector. In fact, just as we are not used to drafting a budget for proper monitoring and control activities, we tend not to take into consideration the risks associated with the mismanagement of the contract. BIM and Project Management are fundamental tools and methodologies, as if on one hand the BIM methodology produces information relevant to project management, on the other, with its methodology and different applications, it helps us manage this huge stream of data. During the execution phase, the control and monitoring of time and costs, as well as being integrated, also becomes extremely easy, with very little dispersion of information. Good practices, borrowed from Project Management help us, after having carried out a solid scheduling and planning effort, to combine the existing accounting logic (procedural handbook, accounting log, work progress report, payment certificate) to that whole essential aspect in monitoring a contract which, in Italy in the vast majority of cases is unfortunately still lacking, especially when it comes to the Public Administration realm.

Automatically estimating times

Another important step, given the percentage of labour included in price lists, or of other highly evolved information, is to estimate the time in an “almost” automatic manner. After having imported the .ifc file and linking it to the various items, estimating the implementation timeframes remains an exercise of sequencing and optimisation, possibly carried out through the study of the Critical Path Mode.
With BIM, having connected the price list items and the relative measurements we can also have visual progress states at our disposal through which it is possible to automatically reconstruct the digital model, thus having “as builds” which are fully congruent to reality. In this case the resulting benefits are once again manifold. Let’s try to imagine, for example, what happens when the non-timeliness of information leads to sliding timelines and related costs. These digital models, allow us, through the concept of “learned value management”, to appreciate the value of indexes such as the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Cost Performance Index (CPI) including visually, making it possible to understand why and where we are spending too much or where we are late. In terms of times, other “earned” based methods can also be used such the “earned scheduled” concept, which make it possible to keep delays under control in a more precise manner.

Advanced planning techniques

Once planned and scheduled together with the budget, consideration should be given to elementary resources (labour, materials and freight) which, for construction companies, represent the real driver of production on the construction site and therefore the interest to manage them better without any waste is essential.
Once again, as with the design scenario, the execution can benefit from advanced PM techniques such as those encompassed by Lean Construction that helps us, through the LPS® (Last Planner System) to optimise the re-planning carried out “just in time” (week by week) or relying on the LBS® (Located Based System) to facilitate, for example, the lay-in of semi-finished products in several points of the same structure on the same day.

Towards a digital responsibility of managers

In this transitional period, covering the responsibilities inherent in the Technical Director or perhaps the General Manager role is not quite so easy in the construction industry. Under the strain of an increasingly competitive market and digitisation models which, including at a legislation level start to set their sight towards future scenarios, often looking around, executives find themselves having to completely rethink their organisations and its approaches. Finding the right combination of hardware/software and digital training is founded on a fundamental shift in culture and approach that is not easy to address in a short period of time. Pursuing such a strategy may therefore mean rethinking the organisations in such a way as to make it resilient. Because if on the one hand there is the need to maintain a know-how that represents the core business of economic players, on the other, there is the necessity to determine a common factor and exalt it towards a smart digital approach, without foregoing quality, time and money.  
In a time of change, as we are experiencing at the moment, we should commit ourselves to the maximum (regulators, professional orders, software house, etc.) to drive forward this “digital revolution” that lends itself to a more transparent style of management in terms of communication and a more evolutive/collaborative in terms of the professional component.

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Project management and 4D and 5D BIM, an “obligatory” passage

In applying the BIM model, time and cost planning relies heavily on the Project / Program management methodology and in particular on knowledge areas relating to managing times, costs, risks, communication, integration and contingencies.

What are the points of contact and the collaboration systems between the various figures that operate based on these new methodologies?

This time we will analyse how and where Project Management and Building Information Modelling (BIM) come together, help each other and create a focal point for innovation in the construction industry.

The professional figures dedicated to BIM

Let’s start by analysing the figures dedicated to BIM according to the 11337 Standard and those dedicated to Project Management. Generally there are 3 figures dedicated to the digital management of information processes in the construction sector, consisting of two types: the first two operate at the management level and the other at the operational level. On the management side, we have the Information Manager (BIM Manager), and the Information Coordinator, (BIM Coordinator). On the operational side, instead, the information modeller of graphic models dominates the scene, namely the BIM Specialist. The Information Manager looks after the drafting of the information specifications and/or offer and is the reference figure for the coordinator, consulted by the contract manager or project manager to report on the design stages. The Information Coordinator, the second management figure, looks after the correct application of the general rules set out by the manager and defines specific information relating to the contract. This figure also performs all coordination activities and obtains the desired results, participates in all coordination meetings relating to the same models, directs the work of the modellers therefore working in close collaboration with the contract manager or the PM. Finally, we have the graphic model information modeller (BIM Specialist or BIM Modeller), operational figure responsible for preparing and updating the objects and models and the extraction of the related data. This figure works closely with the coordinator to whom they report any event of relevance to the information process.

The Design phase

The standard therefore correlates the first two managerial-type figures overseeing the BIM in the design phase to the figure who must have the full requirements of the entire project cycle, which goes from planning to the assignment of design services to the call for tenders, all the way to the execution and closure of the project, namely the Project Manager who for a public work, for example, must be the “Solely Responsible Project Manager”.
Building information modelling, with its information management system is essentially aimed at the collaboration of all designers involved in the design and safety aspects, decisively and positively impacting on two areas of project management: integration and communicationIt should be noted that the Project Manager spends approximately 70% of their project related time communicating. Succeeding to have a model full of information during the design phase therefore makes it easier to identify the eventual risks associated with the execution of the work and assessing the impact and probability of their occurrence.The BIM model therefore starts to bring the construction world and the Industry 4.0 realm closer and closer together as, albeit virtual, the product (the design) represents a genuine industrial digital prototype.

The 4D and 5D part of BIM

BIM, in terms of the 4D and 5D aspect, manages to facilitate and sees to the completion of the design phase that impacts on planning, having as input processes the IFC file and as output  the bill of quantities deriving from the parametric design, the execution timeframes grouped by Work Packages and the associated costs, which spread over time generate an S curve and  the baseline of the costs or of the construction budget. Unfortunately the schedules with the non-graphic information exported from the various design software are not enough of their own. Therefore being able to import one or more IFC files associated with the same federated model, into a software that then makes it possible to manage, during the execution phase, the planning of time and costs, is of fundamental importance. The parametric scope (architectural, structural, plant related, etc.) must be linked to a work process (from the pricelist -> list of prices -> cost analysis) and to an estimate of the times (Gantt), also parametric.

LOD and QTO

The design variations and phases that develop around a BIM model through the LOD (Level of Detail) must be correlated in terms of the QTO (Quantity Take Off) documentation to a measurement which in turn is linked to a WP as part of a WBS that defines the relative timelines. For example, in a preliminary design (LOD 200) for a reinforced concrete element we can “settle” on an incidence per cubic metre of concrete of the kg of steel necessary for the reinforcement specified in the design. During the computational phase therefore, from the first estimates, we will tie the parametric object to a work process. This link will remain fixed to the benefit of future dimensional changes and detailed design, such as when we will be provided with the reinforcement details from the executive plan (LOD 400) having the possibility to determine the future benefits to the Facility Management (LOD 500) through the As Build.
In fact, in reference to the design, the planning of the same benefits from advanced project management techniques in terms of virtual environment aspects and the fact that the continuous changes and studies of the models require “agileproject management techniques to avoid unnecessary work. It is hoped that real computational models (different from QTO) will start being used soon, which will facilitate the various input and output phases of the design. Starting from the BEP (Building Execution Plan), in fact, the design part becomes exponentially crucial for all subsequent phases. In the next article we will analyse the execution phase. 

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Construction Planning AND Execution with STR Vision CPM

BIM 5D & 4D all in one solution

If the construction market is one of the main economic segments in the world today, the results of the modernization process that have taken place in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry are also significant. The increasing complexity, scope of requirements, and the global dimension of contracts and projects impacts all the players involved, showing a tendency towards organizational and structural strengthening while playing, for the most part, on the ability of the sector to overcome the competitive challenges of the coming years and to respond to the question of modernizing the territory and the cities.
The dynamism dictated by the market sees the emergence of complex competitive models which translate into the need to acquire new organisational skills combined with the traditional ones, and new analysis tools that guarantee accurate and timely data in order to obtain useful information and ensure sustainable business growth. Operational models consolidated by decades of experience are destined to change on a daily basis, while quality and efficiency are the great imperatives that the market demands along with increasingly more complex and urgent interventions and achievements.
In this setting, the ability to strengthen and enhance the culture focused on planning and management control becomes the key, from estimates of the actual versus the planned scenario, to obtain an exact measurement of variances in profit margins compared to forecasts.

Planning and Control

Planning and control systems are tools designed to support those responsible for leading the company and are indispensable for increasing the effectiveness of business actions. Control inevitably requires planning, which in turn dictates the necessary scheduling. The planning process makes it possible for the business to focus on a point of arrival and to organize resources and consequently channel actions towards the desired result.

Next to a day-by-day business logic focused on actions, a planning and control process comes into play, based on three main pillars: strategic planning, scheduling and budgeting.
Strategic planning aims to improve the rationality of decisions (or actions) in the systemic and integrated management of the business. A decision is said to be rational when it is consistent with its objectives, above all if it is compatible with the current opportunities, existing constraints and available resources. This must lead to the “creation of value” for the company, in other words the ability to carry out the activities necessary to create a “product” better than competitors, considered valid by all the figures involved, from users to customers, contractors and subcontractors.
Scheduling refers to the organization of all the necessary activities, quantifying and administering the required and available resources to achieve the expected targets or goals. This requires the budgeting of resources, be they financial, instrumental or human. The role of the budget fits into the end-to-end planning, scheduling and control process, assuming the role of the dedicated tool for defining the level of production efficiency and of the company’s competitive ability in the marketplace. For this very reason, it is necessary that the business structures itself and accounts for the value of resources used, continuously comparing the consumption of resources and profits, to gain adequate knowledge and to ensure an efficient management control.

How BIM is Changing the Construction Industry

In the last 30 years, the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry has experienced a dramatic revolution, with new approaches as well as the development of innovative tools. From computer-aided design – first in 2D and then in 3D – to parametric design for objects -first at a quantitative and then at a qualitative level – innovations have brought about a significant change in the way of conceiving a building project, its execution, and its management stages.
While Building Information Modeling (BIM) can be defined as an integrated model for construction work which includes all data covering all aspects of its creation, in practice it is a completely new approach to the execution and management of construction work. Here architectural, structural and installation designs, features and properties of materials, components and systems, planning of execution stages, schedules and execution costs, as well as maintenance works are regarded as a whole, as parts of a single process where the entire product life is taken into consideration to reduce mistakes and optimize execution, checking and monitoring.
An effective information system is therefore needed, able to draw upon all that useful information to measure the extent of consumption and profit.

5D and 4D BIM Software

STR Vision CPM (BIM 5D & 4D Construction Project Management) offers all operators in the construction, plant, and design sectors a flexible software tool designed to generate parametric estimates, calculate quantity takeoffs directly from models, manage and monitor contract and resource costs, plan and schedule work on Gantt Diagrams, virtually simulate the execution of the project using IFC Viewer and support works and control management, thanks to actual versus planned and Earned Value Analysis.
STR Vision CPM is certified by Building SMART International, which guarantees compliance with applicable international standards and ensures the correct importing of IFC data (IFC2x3 ISO/PAS 16739).

Screenshots of STR Vision CPM, showing its support for multi-discplinary models, quantiy take-off, budgeting, and scheduling capabilities.

The BIM Methodology in Project Management

The BIM methodology makes it possible to integrate a 3D model of the project with information concerning the tools, equipment, human resources and other activities necessary to concretely bring the work to completion. Moreover, technical and economic information is fully managed and kept under control at all stages, both in terms of forecasts as well as final values.
Within the BIM process, STR Vision CPM intervenes in more than one of the phases concerning the design, construction and maintenance of a work. In particular, the most relevant functions available concern the phases relating to the computation, work planning/scheduling, cost analysis and budgeting, and the technical and economic control of the progress of a project/contract.

The BIM Methodology in Project Management

The BIM methodology makes it possible to integrate a 3D model of the project with information concerning the tools, equipment, human resources and other activities necessary to concretely bring the work to completion. Moreover, technical and economic information is fully managed and kept under control at all stages, both in terms of forecasts as well as final values. Within the BIM process, STR Vision CPM intervenes in more than one of the phases concerning the design, construction and maintenance of a work. In particular, the most relevant functions available concern the phases relating to the computation, work planning/scheduling, cost analysis and budgeting, and the technical and economic control of the progress of a project/contract. STR Vision CPM guarantees interoperability through IFC Standards with solutions such as Autodesk Revit, GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD, Nemetschek Allplan and Tekla Structures, allowing designers to continue working with the tools they prefer and to use, for 4D (timelines) and 5D (costs) development, the management platform most valued by engineering and construction companies.

Control Starts from Estimate

It is no secret that construction cost control starts with an offer based on an estimate. In order to improve accuracy of the estimate and obtain more clarity, which could help the decision maker to make better decisions and manage the project effectively, we should go through a unified approach that includes :

Instead of having this unified approach, most software companies in the market see each single activity such as estimate, scheduling, construction cost control and construction accounting as separate and so they develop software which solves one thing at a time, with different goals for different types of software. 

 In the construction industry, an estimator is the person responsible for compiling estimates of how much a product or service will cost. The estimator’s job involves assessing material, labor, equipment and analyzing different quotes from suppliers and sub-contractors. Estimators might work starting from a bill of quantities, which outline the base requirements of the job, or just a set of drawings from the client. 

In essence, estimators are the backbone of a construction company and have the duty to maximize the revenue of the bid.

Estimates from BIM

Given the importance of a construction cost estimator’s job, which directly affects revenue, we developed STR Vision CPM to enable them to perform well, and to get things on their radar faster. The introduction of BIM concepts has led the estimation to be more comprehensive and visual with the ability to quickly control objects that still need to be estimated. The technology available and CPM visual engine allow you to make the quantity takeoff directly from the 3D drawing model created as an IFC file. This file contains the properties you need in order to estimate single objects managing a huge variety of complexity as it could not have been possible to do until today.
However, this is not all. Our advanced features allow you to do more, for example: if you have already calculated an estimate from a 3D model, but the model has been redesigned with changes, you could easily import the new 3D model and decide which changes you accept or not in order to calculate a new estimate. 

Relations between Impresa Pizzarotti and STR commenced in the  early 2000s in the context of preparing international tenders. Here are  some projects of  Pizzarotti & C Spa which involve the use of STR Vision  CPM

We facilitate the job, because your time matters. Moreover, imagine if you could create a series of rules using the available software, which could be stored and applied to create new estimates automatically. That is exactly how STR Vision CPM works. In fact, in STR Vision CPM, the rules created are a relationship between single object properties, its material and its price. Applying these rules en masse allows you to save a significant amount of time during the construction-estimating phase.

Conclusion

In the application of BIM, cost and time planning draws heavily on the Project/Program management methodology and, in particular, on the knowledge areas for managing time, costs, risks, communications, integration and reserves.
Building information modeling, with its information management system, is essentially devoted to the collaboration of all designers interested in design and safety, with a decisive and positive impact on two thematic areas of project management: integration and communication. Recall that the project manager passes 70% of his or her time dedicated to the project to communicate. Having a model of the design with all its information allows us to identify the possible risks in the execution phase of the work, as well as assess the impact and probability of occurrence.
Thus, the BIM model starts to bring the construction world closer and closer to Industry 4.0 (the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies) because, albeit virtual, the product (design) represents a real industrial digital prototype which allows us to get more accuracy and control in managing projects and their execution.

STR Vision CPM

STR Vision CPM is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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For the management of historical and archaeological architectural heritage the applications of GIS 3D, meaning the Geographic IT system that “is composed by a series of software systems to acquire, archive, extract, elaborate and visualize special data in the real world”, remains isolated as there are insufficient cases to be brought as examples for a standardization of the method. As an alternative, the scientific international community has undertaken a path that combines the possibilities of the use of HBIM in historical architecture and archaeology.
It is currently an argument for discussion on which are the technologies that are more suitable for the documentation and management of historical heritage. The ideologies come together creating a model that gives stratified information in four dimensions and not only in three. In this way we are not solely taking of geometric model but of a real database that is able to give as much information as possible that belongs to different fields. 

As has been proved, in the case of an ex novo design the BIM approach is the winning one. The use of BIM in the case of historical context, which contains a rich informative heritage (e.g. documents, archive drafts, historical and more recent photos), has engaged the scientific community over the last few years. In fact, the acronym has been changed to HBIM (Historical Building Information Modelling) when we are dealing with the application in accordance with historical buildings and archaeological infrastructures. The main difference between the BIM and HBIM lies on the type of information that the two types of digital models will conserve. 

BIM calls for and coordinates different professional figures for the integrated design, planning time, modalities, organization and work on a construction site. On the other hand, HBIM is more specific to the phase of geometric knowledge and history of the building, through evaluation, the state
of conservation of the materials, where it represents a three-dimensional catalogue oriented
to documentation and planning of the maintenance interventions.

TeamSystem Construction Project Management

TeamSystem Construction Project Management is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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As mentioned previously, one of the main challenges is related to the definition of new roles and responsibilities among the parties involved in the project. In fact, in order to manage efficiently the flow of information that is generated, shared and used, we need to establish a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders associated with the project. The introduction of the BIM methodology entails the acquisition of new skills, the development of new workflow and the birth of new professional figures.
Different internationally known academic and professional sources have described the profiles and areas of competence of the professionals that operate in BIM. The English norm PAS 1192-2:2013 identifies up to 7 types of roles that can be considered for the managing process of BIM. The same norm defines that these roles should not be mistaken with the professional roles of individuals belonging to an organization, but they are characterized by the level of authority in the management of the flow of information within the BIM process.
Based on the experiences collected directly on the field, it is possible to identify three main types of professional figure:

Although These professional figures have different responsibilities, abilities and knowledge, there is nonetheless some crossover, and as such the definitions are not necessarily clear cut.

BIM Specialist

The figure of the BIM Specialist is able to:

The BIM Specialist has the role of ‘designer of information’ for graphic design and non graphic; and he carries out the following activities:

BIM Coordinator

The role of the BIM Coordinator is to:

Consequently, the abilities he has range from the coordination of the content held within the data of and the model in order to collaborate more effectively with the BIM Manager. He can also be a part of the elaboration of the BIM Execution Plan in collaboration with the BIM Manager. He works to solve out the problems related to sharing and aggregation of data content. Another of his responsibilities is related to the coordination and aggregation of content, identifying potential interferences and/or inconsistencies whilst proposing solutions to the relevant persons on the project and the BIM Manager. There are two specializations that follow both the role of the BIM Specialist and the BIM Coordinator: specialist/coordinator for building and specialist/coordinator for infrastructure.
The figure of BIM Specialist/Coordinator for Building is responsible for the planning, construction and management of construction building in residential field, culture and administrative, sports and entertainment environment.
On the other hand, the BIM Specialist/Coordinator for infrastructure is responsible for the Planning, construction of buildings and constructions such as roads, railways, harbors and others.

BIM Manager

The BIM Manager, usually manages and coordinates the BIM project according to the overall resources and the standards, in conjunction with the business procedures. Moreover, he uses the software tools that are requested for the coordination of the activities, control and management of the BIM project. The BIM manager is responsible for the management and coordination of information for the suppliers that are involved in the planning and management service of the building, additionally he has to write down the documentation for the technical and operative parts of the commission together with making key decisions on the strategy to be implemented within the company.
Most of the time, the figure is transversal to the building and infrastructure specializations, because he is responsible for the management and coordination of different teamwork in several fields from engineering to architecture. Regarding the management of information:

TeamSystem Construction Project Management

TeamSystem Construction Project Management is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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Compared to the traditional method, the adoption of BIM creates both many-opportunities and-challenges too. BIM technology provides a project from the outset, a-greater control and precision to project members, they can-manage-more efficiently some variables like cost, quality and time. These kinds of benefits have a major influence on both-productivity and production efficiency in addition to every-activity related to information management. As a result, the design of information is explicit and available to all stakeholders who are then able to support decision-making initiatives through better management, use and sharing of information. In the first moments of the rise of BIM, project participants-were used to using their own tools and systems to share information that were structured and suitable for their specialized needs and requests. For this reason, the amount of information that could be distributed was limited due to the lack of a central source of information. The issue has now come to an end, because today the project data is-reachable through different BIM  software that controls information of a project more-efficiently.
Previous case studies show that the use of BIM can lead to monetary savings by reducing the cost of retrieving project information in minimizing life cycle costs of the facility. The return on investment from BIM implementation-was analysed by Young, who found out that approximately:

 

Percentages of who expressed positive ROI by using BIM

Contractors
Web Designer 71%
Owners
Web Designer 70%
Architects
Web Designer 58%
Engineers
Web Designer 46%

The article will now follow with an analysis of the benefits at the different phases of the lifecycle of a project. These are divided into 3 principal phases: pre-construction, construction and post construction.

Pre - Construction Stage

In the pre-construction stage are considered all the valuation concerning the project trying to estimate eventual economic advantages for the contractor and the client. BIM is helpful not only for delivering a framework to assess the feasibility of the project but also to provide an evaluation of the building’s future performances in terms of regulations regarding functionality and constructability. At this early stage, studies on energy, acoustics and lighting are carried out and analyzed. If evaluated correctly, they will eventually have a major impact on the overall future result. Performing this kind of sustainability analysis was not possible with the traditional method. The implementation of a BIM system requires higher initial costs because of the involvement of design and construction shareholders. It has been demonstrated that the total cost of the construction phase will be reduces thanks to a decrease in delays, changes in orders and requests for information and claims. The concept behind this procedure advocates the possibility to integrate knowledge, systems, business structures and practices of several stakeholders into a collaborative process. The possibility of having a digital representation of the physical building before it’s construction enables an earlier detection of errors and evaluation of the design performance. The control during the pre-stage of the construction will help with quality checks and will ensure constructability by detection, modification and check of inconsistencies in the project. The overall communication among all parties involved in the project is enhanced since from the beginning with positive consequences in lowering errors and clashes that can be detected earlier. At the moment, clash identification represents the most widely used metric to evaluate the economic value of BIM. All the activities and processes are improved using BIM, because of the accuracy in cost estimations and improved information. The cost element, often also called 5D, can be controlled, because all the stakeholders are aware of the cost implications thanks to the design before the progress of the project. Consequently, design can be improved to praise the clients’ budget.

Construction Stage

BIM not only allows for reduced costs in the pre-construction stage but also during the actual construction phase. In fact, it avoids rework and is extremely appealing in particular for bigger corporations because of the cost savings. In some of the construction projects that were completed in the past, it was reported 40 to 90 per cent reduction of rework thanks to the application of the BIM system prior to the actual start of work41. One benefit of BIM in this phase is the capability to check beforehand all components of the project, therefore controlling and planning the construction process in advance, reducing the need of on site inventories and minimised costs42. Additional to this, BIM has also the ability to keep track of the progress of the project by regularly updating the installation dates of both structures and systems to the model43. The function 4D, allows a graphical visualisation of the project with the schedule, it also gives the possibility to visualize the virtual view of the project at any time of the project. This functionality not also grants cut on costs but also a greater possibility to better manage the logistical aspect. In fact, prior analysis and simulations of alternatives will not have an impact on actual costs and potential-delays in the delivery of the project but just a pre analysis on the system to detect the best solution. Consequently, this has a positive impact on quality and it will facilitate the identification of potential errors, therefore, the probability of severe problematic issues is reduced to the minimum. It is also mentioned that more than 80 per cent of contractors support that reduction of conflicts during construction has the greater value in the adoption of BIM44. In conclusion, also during the construction phase the advantages provided by the implementation of BIM are evident and proved.

Post - Construction Stage

Since, throughout all the process, important information has been collected and stored in the BIM system this grants easy access and record also after the construction. Most of the problems and time-consuming processes for facility managers’ is the time spent in finding out information. It is clear that this will easily faced by the BIM. In fact, anytime they needed to improve the building with renovations or maintenance work they needed first to talk to direct person with on site surveys but this is no more necessary.

Advantage of BIM

The technology BIM is able to support and improve many business procedures. Even if the sectors of Architecture, Engineering, Building and Facility Management are among the first that adopted BIM already different improvement were implemented. The fields of BIM linked to BIM technology and the process are the focus of the construction design and building for how they react to increasing pressure of a greater complexity, a faster development, greater sustainability, reduction in building costs and of its usage. In fact, the traditional method was not able to face all this pressures. The most convincing reason to adopt-BIM is the intrinsic advantage of the 3D representation during the design phase of the project and the preparation of the documentations. The 3D representation permits the team a enhanced understanding, visualization and resolution of the problem throughout the whole process. The coordination within a single model is considerably better with respect to the one 2D documentations. The BIM approach allowsenhancing the construction process with benefits such as a decrease in the project costs, a faster deliver of the result and a improved quality of the project. Additional associated benefits are:

The CIFE (Centre for Integrated Facilities Engineering) of Stanford University run a survey on 32 big projects that use BIM and identified the advantages. Among those:

Proponents of BIM

The ability to provide interoperability to the different parties involved in a construction project is the core of the Building Modelling Information system. Proponents of BIM highly support the idea that the only limitation that the system has is related to the ability of the users. They then emphasize that list of benefit that the use of BIM has:

TeamSystem Construction Project Management

TeamSystem Construction Project Management is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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Avoid errors, ensure data quality, grant transparent business goals

OPEN BIM represents a modern approach to interdisciplinary collaboration for all construction industry operators.

It refers to a universal approach to collaboration in the design, construction and management of buildings accordingly to standard and open procedures.

The OPEN BIM community opens its doors to all software producers, architects, engineers, builders, and building owners, because the OPEN BIM logo is a success story for the most streamlined collaboration on BIM projects in every part of the world.

OPEN BIM is an initiative of many software developers based on the openSMS Data Model, and the program is a marketing campaign initiated by GRAPHISOFT®, Tekla® and others to encourage and facilitate the coordinate comprehensive promotion of the OPEN BIM concept in the construction industry. Using defined communication, branding, and availability for all Companies participating in the program.

OPEN BIM software promotes open and transparent workflow that allows professionals to collaborate independently of the software they use and defines a common language for widely shared procedures that enable industry and governments to get projects with transparent business goals, service comparability, and data quality assurance.

The main goal of the OPEN BIM program is to produce durable projects that involve the entire lifecycle of the building, avoiding data replication and errors.

The result is the BIM, Building Information Modeling that can be shortly defined as an integrated model for construction work (building, infrastructure, etc.), which includes all data covering all aspects of its creation; in practice it is a completely new approach to the execution and management of construction work. Here architectural, structural and installation designs, features and properties of materials, components and systems, planning of execution stages, schedules and execution costs, as well as maintenance works are regarded as a whole, as parts of a single process where the entire product life is taken into consideration to reduce mistakes and optimize execution, checking and monitoring.

TeamSystem Construction Project Management

TeamSystem Construction Project Management is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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BIM modeling software

With BIM the model brings all the information within

BIM, acronym for Building Information Modelling, is defined as an approach in which architectural, structural, plant engineering, material properties, components, planning of implementation phases, timing and execution costs, maintenance works, are all considered organically as part of a single process that involves the whole life cycle of the project.

All the data is synthesized in a model, which carries the information.

The advantages of a BIM approach for a construction or engineering company consist of a more efficient process of management and control.

Through integrated BIM 3D modelling, the details of the measurements are taken directly from the designer’s data; so in the event that a designer makes some alterations, the estimate can be updated automatically (BIM 3D).

Furthermore, work scheduling can be carried out with greater awareness of the constructive dynamics involved, by comparing the work status to the estimated completion times; and for each single activity and constructive element of the work, in order to finish the construction job (BIM 4D).

In addition, a careful analysis of costs and resource utilization can lead to a timely check of the costs to be borne, and the margins of earnings (BIM 5D).

In the first phase of estimation, a quantity take-off allows you to determine precise measurements for each article of metric.

The calculus directly derived from the quantitative properties of objects drawn in the architectural, structural and plant models of a project.

In this way, two important advantages are obtained:

It is also possible to set computation rules based on categories and object families to maximize metric metering. If pricelists are linked to object families, it is possible to determine the value not only of the whole work, but also of each element of the project at the same time.

Through the interaction between the work program and the 3D models connected to the same metric calculator, it is possible to obtain a graphical simulation of the anticipated work states of the project.
STR Vision CPM is a BIM construction oriented software: it integrates the 3D model of the project with the information of tools, equipment, human resources and other activities necessary to finish the job.
In addition, technical and economic information is handled and kept under control at all stages, both progressively (as per estimate), and in order to predict the final cost.

Planning Concept based on a 3D object-based model
Planning Concept based on a 3D object-based model (3D Working Methods, 2006. BIPS, Denmark)

STR Vision, within the BIM process, intervenes in more than one of the phases, importing 3D models, and enabling professionals to go through the 4D (Timing) and 5D (Cost Control). Specifically, the most relevant functions available include estimating, work scheduling, cost and budget analysis, technical and economic control of the progress of a project / contract.

STR Vision CPM software interoperates through Standard IFC with Autodesk Revit, BricsCAD, Graphisoft Archicad, Nemetschek Allplan, Tekla Structures, allowing the designer to continue working with the tools he/she prefers and use to develop 4D (timing) and 5D (costs) the most highly regarded management platform by engineering companies and construction companies.

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Building information modeling

Although based on conventional 3D modeling techniques, BIM is the “intelligent” evolution of the classic 3D model. The BIM model not only includes simple geometric information on construction elements and components, but also all documents and data necessary for the technical and economic management of the project.

BIM is changing the construction industry

During the last 30 years, design (in its many aspects: architectural, engineering, installation, landscape, etc.) has experienced a real revolution in the construction industry, and new approaches as well as innovative operative tools have been developed. From computer-aided design (at first in 2D and later in 3D) to parametric design for objects (at first at a quantitative and later qualitative level), innovations have brought about a deep change in the way of conceiving a building project, its execution and its management stages. The result is the BIM, Building Information Modeling that can be shortly defined as an integrated model for construction work (building, infrastructure, etc.), which includes all data covering all aspects of its creation; in practice it is a completely new approach to the execution and management of construction work. Here architectural, structural and installation designs, features and properties of materials, components and systems, planning of execution stages, schedules and execution costs, as well as maintenance works are regarded as a whole, as parts of a single process where the entire product life is taken into consideration to reduce mistakes and optimize execution, checking and monitoring.

What is exactly the Building Information Modelling?

BIM is a dynamic set of procedures, processes and technologies that generate an interactive methodology to manage the design of a building and the data of a project in a digital format throughout the whole life cycle of the building’s life

BIM methodology was first theorized by Phil Bernstein and then made popular and standardized by Jetty Laiserin. The BuildingSMART Alliance, which is an international authority that regulates BIM, defines the concept through three main functions, which although different are linked to one another:

The application of BIM technology has a direct or indirect influence on all stakeholders-within the architectural, -engineering-and-building sector. BIM is an alternative method to using, creating and sharing data in construction.

It is possible to define BIM as the technology of modelling and associate processes to produce, communicate and analyze a building model that is characterized by the following aspects:

Underlying concepts of BIM, tool or process?

One of the main discussion points concerning BIM regards its existence as a tool, process or both. The differing points of view arise from two schools of thought. In the paper ‘BIM, Education and the Global Economy’, Camps argues against the impression of BIM as a simple and single tool used in the construction industry, in fact, he highlights that by declaring it as a process, BIM is a factor of change that improves the collaboration among all the members of project teams. However, opponents argue that it should not be considered more than a single tool useful for an effective support of the IPD process. 

A more complete shared opinion is related to the concept that the true value of BIM stands on the combination of it as a tool and process. The simple equation-tool + process = value of BIM is expressed as the value of-BIM is in the important building efficiencies and initial cost savings and extends to the operations and maintenance of the facility It is relevant to highlight that the more recent disengagement of-the construction industry from classing, time consuming, and-cost intensive activities was due to the introduction of new tools and processes. Therefore, being reluctant to innovation and change may lead to the same processes and no improvement. 

On the same stream of thought, Fong strongly emphasized the extra value of BIM, interpreting it as more than a tool of technology, it should be incorporated in the-business as an aid for decision making to evaluate the quality of procedures, documentations as well as performance predictions and cost estimations.

The components of information: cost, time and quality

The illustration aims at giving a clear and visual idea of the coordination of information in a Traditional Information Exchange, the left side, versus the BIM Information Exchange, image on the right. The parties involved in the project can communicate and have access to information easily with fewer transactions among them. Intuitively this leads to the concept that the risk of misleading information flow is reduced using the BIM approach, reflecting the benefits on a reduction in cost and time. The increase in speed, communality and accessibility is achieved via a shared database that allows users to gather information early on, information technology and knowledge representation. Consequently, based on the previous studies, other conclusions of BIM include a significant decrease in risk, enhanced productivity, streamlined production and assistance of quality control.

BIM information exchange
A distinction between information exchange in a traditional context and in BIM (Young 2008 cited in Foster 2009 - YOUNG, N.W., Building Information Modelling Transforming design and construction to achieve greater industry productivity)

The activity fields of BIM

The activity fields of BIM
Three activities fields of the BIM technology (Succar, 2009 Building Information modelling framework: a research and delivery foundation for the industry stakeholders. Automation in Construction, 357-375.)
In a general overview of the application of the method BIM, it is possible to define three main areas for the identification of a domain in which players and services are present: technology, process and policy. The technology field includes all the parties that work for the improvement of-software, hardware, tools and networking systems all useful to the AEC industry. The process field contains-the-people that are involved in the building, design, use and management procedures. Lastly, the policy field is for organizations, which manage the preparatory phase, normative and contractual practices. As demonstrated, the three circles are linked to one another; they are all involved in the processes.

The sphere of application of the BIM methodology

As shown in the figure, Building Information Modelling has different applications in the-AECsector.

The figure aims at showing a distribution of the activities. It is possible to derive an average value of the frequency of the application for each use of BIM. The data shows that 3D coordination and the revision of the design are widely used while the majority of the remaining usages are lower than 30%. However, the most significant result is that the use of BIM is well consolidated and covers almost all the activities in the AEC sector.
The publishing series of "Common BIM Requirements 2012" analysis of the objectives of all new constructions and restructuring, together with the use and facility management all the purposes of the use of BIM are stated.

Distribution of the application of the Building Information
Distribution of the application of the Building Information (KREIDER,R., 2010.BIM and FM: The Portal to Lifecycle Facility Management. Journal for Building Information Modelling, Spring 2010.)

Planning phase of the building

BIM is adopted to design the architectural and structural parts of the construction, together with the surrounding area.

Comparison between the 2D scheme and a BIM executive project based on a shared
Comparison between the 2D scheme and a BIM executive project based on a shared (DALLA MORA, T., 2014. An Overview of the Building Information Modelling)

Coordination

Different software is used to create different objects-and so, they can be joined together to find out possible conflicts. Anyway, the perfect solution would be the usage of models connected together since the beginning, such as, technologies of cloud computing.

Extraction of 2D sketch

During every moment in the design process, it is possible to extract from 2D sketches from the model and the designer can make sure that they are always up to date.

Communication and visualization

The 3D model is particularly useful for a deeper understanding of the planning solution, not only for the designers but also for all the different parties involved that are not familiar with the work of the experts. It also possible to work through the model; moreover, the use of BIM can be useful to real estate agents thanks to a strong visualization and potential buyers can more easily personalize the house’s design.

Decision making support

BIM can also be  adopted to study the different alternatives,  compare different  parameters such as ranges of performances, scopes and costs. For  instance, it can be helpful as support for different  decisions on the investments.

Guarantee on costs

The control of the project is one of the most enriching values of BIM, because it allows us to spot and work out problems in the design phase instead of during the construction phase. Due to the control tools of the model, it is feasible to favor the building with rule-based software validation that relies on information that have been defined according to the BIM requirements. This method is advantageous to the client who can oversee and control if the requirements have been respected, but also for the security personnel of the building in order to do security checks.

Quantity Take-off (QTO)

BIM is convenient to extract quantity throughout the offer stage and for acquisition during the building phase.

Costs estimation

Linking costs to quantity, can allow you to accurately evaluate the costs. Moreover, the 5D model can allow the study for the development of the costs throughout the whole process.

Analysis

BIM can help architects in the simulation of the performance and life of the building. A different analysis can be run such as structural analysis, energetic analysis, sound and lights analysis.

Construction

BIM can also be adopted for the design of the security system and to study the layout of the construction site with a focus on synergies within the surrounding areas. Additionally, 4D simulations can be powerful for example to master the sequence of installation of the different components, the planning of the production, the building inspections and to visualize the construction phase.

Facility Management (FM)

BIM can be used as a support tool during the operation and maintenance of the structure, as well as for the restoration and design of the spaces.

STR Vision CPM

STR Vision CPM is a full BIM software: it integrates the 3D model project with information about tools, facilities, human resources and all the parts you need in order to complete the job. You can control and manage the technical and economic information, both forecast and consumptive data, during all the project phases.

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