As the use of Building Information Modeling increases every year it is easy to ask “when will some of the same standards that are afforded to buildings be incorporated into the infrastructure side of construction”. Over the past several years efforts have been put into place to develop standards to define the Level of Development requirement via the model. Much of these efforts had a prior focus on building elements such as windows, doors, structural elements and MEP systems leaving a gap when it comes to the infrastructure work on a project or infrastructure projects as a whole. Sometimes the a blanket LOD is applied to a project that is clearly higher than what the team wants or needs for successfully coordinated civil sitework.
Why are BIM execution plans vague when it comes to civil infrastructure
When the BIMForum published its latest iteration of LOD guidelines in 2017, it provided a comprehensive guide to help define what each model element and dataset should look like that was to appear in the model. However, some essential elements were left out. With the exceptions of bridges, most infrastructure work fails to appear in the guide at all. Even if you dig into the site utility section, the definition explanation at its highest level of detail of LOD 200 providing approximate sizes, vertical control, and apparatus. As the definition is extremely vague, this does not offer enough guidance for clear BIM Execution Plan language leading to misunderstandings and scope gaps during implementation. The lack of an industry-wide standard and a tool for which we can utilize to plan our modeling efforts are dramatically affecting projects.
Why do we need more definition
While the lack of development of an infrastructure model might not seem like much of an issue at first, it can wreak havoc on a project, especially on projects where the infrastructure plays a huge role or is the primary focus. Not having consensus on what is necessary to provide to the project can have detrimental effects, leading to project coordination oversites, schedule delays,, and cost overruns. So how can we change this pattern? We believe that there is a way to move towards a more clearly defined and understood definition of the requirements. In the right hands, tools such as LOD Planner are helping projects determine these requirements earlier in the project. By providing easy to understand visuals, LOD Planner allows team members to plan and visually scope model requirements. The best part is they do this for not only buildings but infrastructure work as well. By going through the planning process in LOD Planner team members can have an understanding of the requirements necessary for the project as well as the timeline to deliver them. It is without a doubt that this tool significantly helps improve modeling and BIM coordination deliverables on any deployed project. LOD Planner is a massive stride in the right direction when it comes to infrastructure modeling.
Stay tuned to see how FlywheelAEC is working with LOD Planner in the future!