Collaboration is a cornerstone of the AEC industry. Teams must work together effectively throughout a project in order to stay on schedule and avoid costly errors. At the forefront of collaboration is the ability to communicate efficiently between teams. Setting national standards for contractors and subcontractors offers an opportunity to ease some of the strains of collaboration by keeping everyone on the same page and working from the same playbook.
Recently, there has been a push for the establishment of BIM Standards in the U.K. The top six contractors in the U.K. are working together to define the U.K. PDF guidelines for BIM professionals. By setting these standards, there will be increased collaboration and a reduction in time spent training individualized processes. BIM standards are already being used in some countries, such as Sweden and the U.S. With standards in place across several nations, everyone is able to work together in what is ultimately the same language.
According to the StruXur article, “The U.K. Wants BIM Standards. Here’s How You Can Start,” there are several things you can do to start the standardization process that will help you achieve your goals. In order to reduce the number of redundancies on projects, it is important to designate someone within your team that can track compliance on all projects. Having a data manager or digital manager during design and construction will ensure that you are following all standards in place. This will also reduce the amount of time spent doing mundane tasks such as sorting through notes and revisions.
Another goal of standardization is ensuring that your data is easily findable and searchable. There are several tactics you can put in place to make sure that your data is easy to find, such as using true-type fonts, consistent line style, consistent labeling and naming, and consistent placement of design and labels on PDFs. In order for PDFs to be easily searchable, keep the same line type for every feature of design, and label each PDF consistently with a project number or identifying ID so each design can be found quickly. The overall quality of work often improves as a result of standardization. By setting these standards, projects are completed with consistency and uniformity. It also sets guidelines for design, so time is not wasted on presentation or style.
Planning and execution are also made easier through standardization. Because every document follows the same rules and design, it is easier to plan and manage projects once building has begun on-site. However, when plans do require changes, they can be made and managed more easily. Using custom markups and standardized workflows makes managing changes within project documents easier to track. Everyone on the team is working with the same toolset and can instantly see when the documents have been marked up or updated. This is especially important during the QA/QC phase because it ensures there is a record of all changes made on the project.
It is no secret that the world is becoming more and more digitized each year. While the construction industry is not adopting at the same speed as some other industries, standardization is the next step forward for the AEC industry. Standardization of digital project plans will give you a leg up when trying to win big contracts. As the U.K. builds out its national standards for BIM, PDF software such as Bluebeam Revu will help facilitate an easier transition.
Interested in seeing how Bluebeam Revu can help you implement BIM standards? Try Bluebeam Revu for yourself with a full working version on a 30-day free trial. When it’s time to convert that 30-day trial to a subscription or perpetual license, contact Applied Software and talk to a Bluebeam expert about your firm’s individualized needs.