BIM for Contractors (post 2 of 4)

General Note: Over the past decade, I’ve been hired by almost every type of actor in the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) environment to help introduce advanced-technology workflows into their projects. This is the second in a series of four posts that summarizes those BIM, VDC, & parametric contributions at a high level.

One of the most enriching collaborations I enjoy with my technology consulting is in general contractors’ offices — usually while helping the group advance Building Information Models (BIM) into Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) tools.

Each contracting office has a different approach to project organization, usually based on current project needs. This is one of the main reasons contractors are required to be some of the most nimble players in the AEC industry — on each project they inherit a huge amount of previously-made decisions, and they find themselve conforming to some of the most diverse and disorganized datasets accordingly.

Below is the first place where all my GC consulting service topics have been compiled for the first time. What is remarkable about this list is how each topic has sprung from a moment when the GC has had to lead decsion-making at the relative end of a project’s design cycle:


  1. Interviews for VDC Goals.
  2. Stakeholder Interviews for Technology Adoption Goals.
  3. Assessing Level of Development (LOD) Needs and Authoring Model Element Tables (MET) per Stakeholder Interviews.
  4. Assessment & Advancement of Project Technology Adoption Scheduling.
  5. Assessment of Existing Building Information Models.
  6. Assessing BIM Execution Plans or Authoring where needed.


  1. Design Training Regiments to Accommodate Virtual Design & Construction Goals stated above.
  2. Deliver Customized BIM / VDC Training
    1. Project-based Training
      1. General Model Team Training is intended for all staff who would interact with project models. These scheduled topics aid in common drawing production skills and create habits that protect project models from unintended changes.
      2. Advanced Model Management Team Training is largely optional on projects. It is intended to give select team members instruction in the special modeling skills to gracefully address complex formal issues — tasks that are not necessarily required in normal project delivery and not critical for every team member.
    2. Topic-based Training
      1. Family Modeling & Management Training is intended for BIM Managers that will be trusted with the exclusive role of modeling (interchangeable) project families. These families are the root of data flow in the model and directly effect schedules, take-offs, and other harvested project data.
      2. LOD Orientation and Management introduces “Level of Development,” “Level of Detail,” or “Level of Decisions” metrics to projects. Usually evaluated against BIMForum Specifications.
      3. Clash Detection Training introduces BIM Managers to running on-site coordination meetings with models that report construction obstacles at any reasonable tolerance.
  3. BIM / VDC Training Assessment
  4. Model Authoring & Assistance
    1. Creating custom model elements when team training  or deadlines become constraining.
    2. Creating standard family libraries and project templates when project timelines require immediate start.
    3. Introducing teams to advanced BIM users for contract, part-time, or full-time hire.
  5. Deskside Support
    1. Ensure that training has been effective and implemented fully by reviewing modeling skills as applied to project files.
    2. Clarify topics as they are applied to non-standard areas in model data.
    3. Protect team moral as each member takes risks in a new environment.
    4. Scope, document, and streamline the way future BIM data will be organized and used in the Design Phases of team projects.


  1. Firm-wide Content Library Management
  2. BIM Execution Plan check-ups and management.
  3. Continuing LOD Reports: Model Element Table (MET) for current projects.
  4. Regular Deskside Support of Advanced Staff Skills on Live Project Models.
  5. Clashing Model & Reports. (Project Staff led.)
  6. Quantity Take-Off (QTO) Calculations. (Project Staff led.)


  1. COBie – Construction Operations Building information exchange.
  2. Firm-wide Research and Development Support.
  3. BIM Specialist Support as needed.