BIM and workflows: BIM implementation and processes’ automation inside a company

Lorenzo Penna

Politecnico di Milano

One Team


Traditional methods for design are rapidly evolving because of the changes in social and cultural scenery, clients that are more demanding and informed and new technological frontiers that are quickly diffusing in this new digital era.

The revolution that BIM is promising to bring in the construction industry cannot be achieved so easily only with the simple adoption of new technologies and tools.

The complexity of its implementation consists in adapt existing companies’ processes to new inter-disciplinary and collaborative approaches based on models. Only with a correct definition of appropriate workflows is possible to use instruments at their best performances.

Indeed, my thesis illustrates the one year work experience I did in One Works s.p.a. about the importance of workflows in this scenario. The KAAR project, the one that I am working on since the beginning of my experience, is a very huge and complex project that has an entire team focused on BIM management and the development of guidelines and standards for their consultants. Therefore, when I started working on my team, I realized that there were not present definitions of workflows and procedures inside our company. In fact, it has been complicated to understand the project because of the lack of proper documentation which was explaining methods and procedures.

For this reason, I decided to create a BIM Guide and a Modeling Guideline for KAAR project, starting from the general indications the contractor gave us, from the BEP, from project’s standards, from the state of the art of existing models and from a deep analysis on how to create a BIM Guide, based on the existing literature. The methodology I used to create them can be resumed with a simple iterative process of ANALYSIS > PROBLEMS > SOLUTIONS > TEST > DEFINITIONS. Being the project divided in 4 lots (4 underground car parks), I used this process many times, always improving the final definition of workflows: analyzed the first model and its standards, I found its problems, I propose and developed possible solutions that I tested in another model in order to define every detailed aspects of procedures in my guidelines.

After a year of work around the enhancement of these processes and the definition of a

common language for the team, the project obtained enormous benefits. About efficiency and timing, we can now work in 2 or even 3 lots contemporary with the same amount of resources, while before wasn’t possible to do. About design quality, we can spend more hours and energy in design issues thanks to the more flexibility of models. About collaboration, if new resources need to work on the project it is sufficient to give them the Guideline documentation in order to integrate them rapidly in the project, without spending weeks in training. About the company aspect, the studio can use this work to extend tested methods to other projects, as well as Dynamo scripts for example which can be adapted and reused.

The research study of my thesis is born contemporary with the desire of the company to implement BIM in a methodical and standardized way. For this reason, the documentation I created has become useful as a starting point for the creation of internal standards and BIM Guides.

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