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Master Thesis Summary

Master Degree
International Project Management
In the Building Process Chain

Using BIM as a Project Management Tool


How can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

Submitted by:

Dipl.-Ing. Mart Broquetas


Student Matriculation No: 810136

Tutor:

Professor Roland Dieterle


University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart

M. Eng, MBA, Dipl.-Ing. Jrgen Marc Volm


Drees & Sommer, Stuttgart

-2Summary
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.
Company External

Rules and Regulations


Building; Helth and Safety;
Planning

Functional Description

BIM Software

Functions
Calculations
Requirement
Demolition
Reconstruction

Architectural, structural/civil
engineering; building
services

Virtual Reality
Modeling Language
(VRML)

Reuse
Refursbishment
Demolition
Reconstruction

Visualization
3D Models

Facility Management

Simulation

Renting, sale and use


Maintenance
Warranty

Comfort
Air, heating
Life-cycle costs
Light; sound; insulation;
use; fire; environmental
impact; life expectancy

4D
Schedules
Logistics

Desciption
Including Cost Estimates

Sourcing

Figure 01 A Fully Functional BIM (after BSI, 2010)

Product Database
Pricing Database

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.
Master Thesis IPM
HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

-3The 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.
Table 01. The PM KPI ranking of BIM use

Key Performance
Indicator
Cost Reduction or Control

Positive perception
Total
Total
% of total
number of
mentions
projects
projects
29
21
60.00%

Negative perception
Total
Total
% of total
number of
mentions
projects
projects
3
2
5,71%

Time Reduction or Control

17

12

34.29%

8,57%

Communication Improvement

15

13

37.14%

0,00%

Coordination Improvement

14

12

34.29%

8,57%

Quality Increase or Control

13

12

34.29%

0,00%

Negative risk reduction

17.14%

2,86%

Scope Clarification

8.57%

0,00%

Organization Improvement

5.71%

5,71%

Software issues

0.00%

20,00%

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
Atkinsons (1999) Square Route principle and showed that BIM is clearly helping in 2 of
the 4 corners of Atkinsons concept for Project Management Success Factors.

Master Thesis IPM


HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

-4The 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.

Figure 02 . Example of a BIM Model and an automatic Beam Schedule obtained from it

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.

Master Thesis IPM


HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

-5Despite 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.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the
steamroller, you're part of the road.
(Steward Brand, cited in Onuma, 2009)

Master Thesis IPM


HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

-69 - References
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HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

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HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

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Master Thesis IPM
HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

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Master Thesis IPM
HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool

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Master Thesis IPM


HfT Stuttgart - WS 2010

Mart Broquetas
Using BIM as a Project Management Tool