Everything about developing BIM scope for Property Owners


Though most property owners implement BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology in their capital project development, but most conclude that they did not benefit enough from BIM.

One of the major reasons is the lack of strong BIM scope embedded into the contractual scope of the Architect or Other consultants or contractors on the project. Let us together understand how to develop a robust BIM scope as a property owner, developer, or consultant developing BIM scope for your client.

Before we dive into the topic let us define a few boundaries for the discussion:

1. Article's primary beneficiary is the property developer or owner or Owner’s representative like project management who is developing a BIM scope of service for the capital project.

2. BIM means Building Information Modelling (BIM) which is a collaborative design development method that leverages 3D geometric embedded with object properties for various use cases during all project/property stages.

3.      Article develops a framework for to scope of BIM service, but each project is unique and we understand that readers will consider them during the developing BIM scope or consult experts at Desapex for help.

6 things to know to understand the scope of BIM service:

  • What is the use case of BIM? or why do we need BIM technology in the project?
  • Who will develop 3D (BIM) models during the design stage and construction stages?
  • Who will review and approve the 3D (BIM) models on behalf of the owner?
  • How be 3D (BIM) models used by the construction team?
  • How will the 3D (BIM) models & other project documents be stored, developed & accessed by all stakeholders?
  • What tools and technologies are to be used to accomplish project BIM use cases?

Answering these 6 questions for scoping for BIM services for a typical project. Note that these questions have to be considered for every project:

What is the use case of BIM? or why BIM technology?

1. Visualization with BIM: 3D model (BIM) helps in better visualization of the building/factory along with all services.

2. Clash (Services) coordination with BIM: 3D Model (BIM) helps in coordinating services (MEP) at ceiling level, narrow shaft, plant (equipment) rooms, terrace, and service corridors well before facing the space issue during construction.

3. Accurate BOQ with BIM: 3D (BIM) Model: can be based to extremely accurate Bill of quantities (BOQs). It is necessary to ensure we have clear requirements of elements to be quantified using BIM. Note that not all elements need to be modelled to extract quantities.

4. Coordinated Construction Drawings with BIM: 3D (BIM) model can be the best source of coordinated construction drawings for teams onsite.

5. Sustainability management with BIM: Whether it is organizational sustainability or carbon footprint goals. 3D (BIM) models can become the single source for all the carbon footprint or sustainability analysis. The owner can make an informed decision on materials and design options based on analysis using information leveraged by 3D (BIM) models. Note that specialized software tools are required to do the calculations, but information required are to be embedded by model authoring project team.

6. Project Planning with BIM (Also called 4D BIM): Instead of project planning on popular tools like primavera or MS project there are many tools like Synchro or Bexel which can be a great alternative to plan all project activities directly linked to 3D (BIM) model. Note that traditional tools can also be used, and the plan can be simulated using any of the popular BIM 4D tools. Also, note that not all elements or activities to be modelled to simulate since the project will involve many non-model linked activities.

7. Cost Management with BIM (Also called 5D BIM): Since most cost-bearing elements are available in the 3D (BIM) model we can also manage the budget and all cost management activities with the 3D (BIM) model. Note that you will have special tools with the interface between your design team (model authors) and the cost management team

8. Construction Progress reporting with BIM: We can automate the construction progress reporting by comparing BIM Model and progressive laser scan data gathered from the site to depict accurate measurable construction progress. Along with construction progress, even construction quality can be monitored without even visiting the site for most of the elements.

9. Digital Handover with BIM or BIM for FM: Since the 3D (BIM) model have all building elements with the capability to add metadata or non-geometric information, 3D (BIM) models can be a great way to take handover of building with asset information. These models can then be linked to separate software platforms that can leverage data in 3D (BIM) models for multiple use cases like Asset management, Energy management, lease management, maintenance management, space management, etc.

Who will develop 3D (BIM) models during the design stage and construction stages?

  1.  Design stage model development: The best scenario is always having an Architecture or Engineering team who can develop the design with 3D (BIM) models. But there might be a few consultants who might not have the resources to develop 3D (BIM) models. This supply chain may be bridged by having a specialist BIM consultant like Desapex.
  2. Construction Stage model development: Again Ideal scenario is to have a construction team or contractors who are well-versed with 3D (BIM) models who might not have the resources to develop 3D (BIM) models. This supply chain may be bridged by having a specialist BIM consultant like Desapex.
  3. If we are considering to halt the 3D (BIM) model progression during the design stage and skipping the construction phase then the major benefits of BIM will be unrealized. After all maximum project resources (money & effort) are spent during construction so skipping  

Who will review and approve the 3D (BIM) models on behalf of the owner?

  1. No matter who develops the model either design consultants/contractors or a separate BIM service provider it is a must to have someone from the owner’s team or representatives review & approve the model.
  2. Typically a separate BIM consultant can be appointed with the responsibility to check, review and provide feedback on models developed during the design stage, construction stage, and finally at the handover stage. BIM consultant shall ensure that the model quality & information available is suitable for the planned use cases from 3D (BIM) model.

How be 3D (BIM) models used by the construction team?

  1. This remains a major challenge since the construction team working on-site to access the models. Cloud-based model hosting solutions accessible through mobile phones & handheld tablets do solve the issue of accessing models and drawing on construction sites but still, it is not hassle-free & smooth like having paper drawings.
  2. It is important to have a plan in place before starting the design stage on how 3D (BIM) models will be referred to on site. The plan should bring clarity on which software tool will be implemented during construction and how it will be accessed by project stakeholders.
  3. Autodesk construction cloud and Synchro construction suite are a few examples of cloud-based construction management tools which will not only provide model access on-site but have snagging, issue tracking, and other useful functionalities.
  4. 4D BIM or 5D BIM will not be effective if the model development is not happening during the construction phase. So it has to be clear that appointing a BIM consultant to do 4D or 5D BIM scope without resolving the supply chain gap to develop 3D (BIM) models during construction is a big red flag.

How will the 3D (BIM) models & other project documents be stored, developed & accessed by all stakeholders?

  1. Let us understand what CDE (common data environment) is before elaborating on this. CDE is a secured file server that stores all the project documents and has the functionality to be accessible by all project stakeholders as per their role in the project. CDE should be able to track revisions, and versions in documents and may also have the functionality to develop the 3D (BIM) model at the same time.
  2. If we do not have such a CDE then the project has started on the wrong foot and is heading toward disaster. Sorry but there is no better way to phrase this. But we still see owners not prioritizing on this and still sharing files through disconnected platforms like email or bulk data sharing platforms like we-transfer.
  3. A specialized consultant like Desapex can not set up the CDE but also structure the folders, and user access rights and manage the structure throughout the project life cycle as per ISO 19650 protocol.

What tools and technologies are to be used to accomplish project BIM use cases?

  1. It is very important to understand that all BIM use cases won’t be accomplished using 1 tool. So documenting the software tools used for various applications will bring clarity to the project stakeholders.
  2. Authoring Tool: Used by people developing models. Examples are Autodesk Revit, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Bentley Open Building designer, etc
  3. CDE Platforms like Oracle Aconex, Autodesk Construction cloud, Bentley ProjectWise, etc
  4. 4D tools: Bentley Synchro, Bexel

Few pitfalls to avoid while preparing a BIM scope document:

1. Never miss out on accommodating time for developing and updating 3D (BIM) models.

2. Never just mention about LOD 100, 200, 300, 350, 400, 500, etc. Clearly articulate why you need a 3D (BIM) Model.

3. Never miss out to appoint a consultant to review and approve 3D (BIM) models representing the project owner. Please do not leave it to model authors.

4. Never expect 3D (BIM) models are accurate with the site without comparing with laser scanned data.


Developing a scoping document is always tough since it is a contractual document of appointing a stakeholder on any project. The limitation in scope documents always derails the project goals. Especially since BIM is one such technology where all stakeholders have some benefit it is always a great idea to have an expert consultation from Desapex to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Author : Shreenidhi Hungund
Reach us: sales@desapex.com
Follow us: Desapex
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