Case study of executive design for the redevelopment of a public building

Ing.Anna Bilotta -socio di Energia Calabria

The objective of the work “Application of BIM to the planning and management of an executive design case study for the redevelopment of a public building” was to apply the BIM approach to the definition of a general method for the redevelopment of public buildings: starting from a case study, developed during the training internship by the project team, the BIM Manager – a role held by the writer – wanted to explore the current boundaries existing between Project Management and BIM Management, analyzing the potential arising from the specialized integration of the two concepts under examination.

The application of BIM to the project process, here intended as Building Information

[modeling] Management, it happened through:

  1. the development of the real case study;
  2. the production of the PGi – Information Management Plan;
  3. supervision, direction and coordination of the implemented process;
  4. the control of the progress of the activities, of the product quality, of the efficiency of the project team;
  5. the collection and control of results, essential to the correction and optimisation of the process steps;
  6. the collection of lessons learned;
  7. the development of the method, useful for the design of requalification interventions through

integration between BIM and Project Management.

The PM (Project Manager) in this process plays the role of integrative structure, which links all these aspects together. This is because, in principle, it is not sufficient simply to complete the work, but all the general and particular programmatic lines must be satisfied, the process development of the activities must be coherent and the expectations of the Client, Sponsors, Institutions, users and, in general, all the Stakeholders involved in the Project Life Cycle must be fully satisfied.

The case study concerned the executive design of interventions for the Redevelopment of a public property, owned by the Municipality, which at that time was largely unused and to be reassigned to the function of a day centre for adults with limited autonomy. The interventions planned on the existing building and to be renovated concerned, in general, the activities necessary to obtain a building adequately functional to the needs of the intended users: interventions on internal and external spaces, aimed at improving comfort and creating places in which to meet, talk, play and socialize. The centre has been dimensioned in executive design to accommodate about 30 users inside, in addition to operators and accompanying persons.

In order to organise the activities, the project team assumed the awarding of the contract through a tender procedure for the assignment of engineering and architectural services that follows the scheme dictated by UNI 11337. The task of the BIM Manager was to manage the entire design process – or technical/organisational project – in BIM mode, starting from the drafting of the PGi and effectively applying the concepts developed in it to the project activities.

The starting point for the management of the activities carried out by the team to elaborate the case study is

the observation based on the fact that the information management, typical of the BIM process, enables

the interface and communication between Project Management procedures on the one hand and the technical-practical activity of the various professional disciplines on the other. Therefore, information management represents the glue between them, in which Project Management constitutes the backbone of the implementation process, while BIM Management controls the application of interoperability to its elements.

In order to develop and implement the management activity, the BEP was drawn up, defined by UNI 11337 Information Management Plan, a document that responds to the Client’s requests and provides all the information required for the correct start up and development of the project. In particular, the BEP has been outlined through the Guide published by the University of Pennsylvania and in relation to UNI ISO 21500:2013 Guide to Project Management. The different thematic areas indicated in the process matrix have been developed and more in detail the concepts related to:

  1. Project Integration
  2. Scope
  3. Resources
  4. Schedule
  5. Costs

Preparatory activity at the beginning of the work was the setting up of the project team, also through meetings and brainstorming to compare and get to know the team members: in the case study this allowed the team to be formed, joined and welded together, as well as to trace the guidelines of the job order, characterising the baseline of the work to be carried out.

In its articulation, the post-contract BEP contains a series of technical elements for the generation of first and second level process maps, for the evaluation of resources, human and instrumental, the experience of the technicians, the design elements to be developed (surveys, modeling of the existing and planned, interface between software and IFC translators), the objectives to be achieved, as well as any reference to time and costs. This substantial document also contains the definition of communication and interoperability methods through a platform for the management and dematerialization of organized processes (so-called CDE – data sharing environment) with assignment of roles and responsibilities through specific workflows.

All these elements are intended to meet the needs of the Client and Stakeholders in parallel with the entrepreneurial assumption that guided the choice to carry out that given project process in that specific historical-economic context.

Development of the first level process map

The activities carried out by the team generated two types of results in terms of product deliverables:

  1. The management documentation consisted in the elaboration of the BEP, with its annexes; the WBS, hierarchical structure of work breakdown, which selects the activities to be carried out in relation to the project objectives and work packages; the OBS, project organisation chart; their integration through the RACI responsibility matrix; the WBS Dictionary, which associates the costs, implementation times, designated deliverables to the WPs; the preliminary Gantt diagram, which schedules the activities.
  2. The project documentation, developed by the working group, took shape through the creation of the digital model of the existing building and its lot, a model containing both information on the state of the art and the design of the interventions, demolitions and reconstructions and external accommodations; the graphic drawings, as IFC digital model and as representations of the model itself; the abbots, as synthetic elements of quantity control, also used as tools for the export of the quantities themselves and the typological subdivision of the interventions; the estimate of times and costs (dimensions 4D and 5D) through the application of openBIM between the authoring software used and the specific tools.

These two categories identified in the documentation listed above are respectively defined as management deliverables and technical deliverables.

Process Gantt diagram

The training experience through the application case also made it possible to recalibrate the first draft of the preliminary BEP, updating it in parallel with the development of the design in an experimental way: monitoring of the various phases was carried out, meetings were held

coordination and the actual data on the trend were collected. The BEP produced, therefore, is itself a result; it has become, therefore, a realistic document, which has reflected the activities carried out, generating a “final planning” to be used as a starting point for future projects. In this sense, it has constituted the main deliverable of the study carried out by the writer.

The reports that have been elaborated downstream of the study summarize what has been collected during the study.

the execution of the assignment. There were two control products:

  1. the extrapolation of the so-called Earned Value, obtained by comparing the preventive and final chronoprograms;
  2. the development, of the S-curve, budget curve, expressing the “economic value” of the work, in the case of design services, in terms of working hours; the diagram shows the offsets between the curves that express the performance of the work: Planned Value (PV), value of the

planned work; Actual Cost (AC), how much actually spent/worked; Earned Value (EV), value of what has been achieved compared to budget forecasts.

The results obtained from the process undertaken have been linked, first of all, to the acquisition by the team of awareness of the method. The control of these results has shown that, in undertaking the BIM project, they are strongly necessary:

  • method training, i.e. the acquisition of skills.
  • the training of professionals, not only in terms of organisation but also in terms of learning technical and instrumental concepts;
  • the specialization: here the individual professional no longer finds space, but it is indispensable

a BIM-team, a highly structured team, in which each member is fully aware both of what they are doing and how they should do it, with the conscious choice of the appropriate and most effective tools in relation to the results to be pursued and achieved;

  • a cohesive and efficient team, which over time improves, integrates, adapts to the processes it has to face and achieves its goal of improving performance and optimising management.

These aspects highlight how the Planning phase can no longer be considered an exception to the process, but in the execution of tasks through the application of the BIM methodology it becomes the heart of the process and necessarily determines its success or failure.

The BIM method certainly makes it possible to improve the production process, but this implies a constant commitment to deepening and studying the improvement methods. In fact, it is an iterative method, in which only field experimentation and system optimisation, through the collection of the errors previously made and the consequent correction of the same, leads to an ever better result (general methodology of PDCA quality processes, Plan Do Check Act). In order to allow such a refinement of the practice, it is necessary an increasing collaboration between professionals and a precise specialization of each technical figure involved: only with such a commitment the application of the BIM method can lead, even in a short time, to excellent results that guarantee a good level of quality of the product achieved.

The analysis of the results obtained has also made it possible to collect the lessons learned, which have been schematicated according to SWOT type metrics. This method served to direct management towards an implementation of the process model applied to the case study, using its strengths and correcting its weaknesses and, at the same time, evaluating its opportunities and protecting it from all those external parameters that cannot be directly controlled.

From these various analyses, among the most significant results is certainly the highlighting of the strong usefulness of organising several different sub-teams within a single project, specialised by discipline, and associating a project sub-plan to each of them: this converts process risks into controllable elements, also because it makes it possible, for example, to replace technicians in case of need and therefore cancels the risk itself.

The lessons learned analysed were then applied to the process as a training basis for the improvement of the process itself, through the hypothesis of drawing up from scratch the project process already carried out. For the development of the new design, a parallel was carried out between the final activity of the case study, which has now become a forecast for new planning activities, and the new project to be carried out. From their comparison, the new curves were extrapolated and the new chronoprogram was generated, thus tackling the first of the iterative cycles on which Project Management is based, aimed at self-improvement and qualitative increase in project performance.

Comparison between final curve (green) and ex-novo forecast (blue)

The training experience has, therefore, made it possible to develop a methodology able to apply the BEP to the project reality, integrating the managerial tools of planning, execution and control with the use of the BIM in order to highlight the effective process improvement it offers in terms of reliability and management of results.

Makes, there 10/06/2020

Anna Bilotta

Case Study – Anna Bilotta