What is involved in BIM coordination
A BIM coordination is a multidisciplinary process that involves verifying that there are no inconsistencies and interferences between the different disciplines of a model (architecture, structures, electrical installations, thermal installations, sanitary installations).
Coordinating also involves reviewing the information contained in the models, not only the geometric representation. Other tasks that are included in BIM coordination are the coherence and tracing of the information incorporated in the models, sending collision reports, creating lists of models and elements, coordinating and carrying out meetings with the BIM team so that each one can make the required modifications.
When carrying out the architectural project, it is necessary to foresee the slab and wall passages for the plumbing pipes, for example.
When receiving the BIM model with both disciplines, if it is found that these passages were not foreseen, the modeller should be informed so that they are included. If this is not done, not only will it have to be done on site, but it will not be accurately quantified when considering the materials in the BIM model.
Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to coordinate a BIM model and detect interferences:
- Modelling of BIM elements
- Verification of the modelling of BIM elements
- Choosing the right BIM tools to perform coordination
- Export and receive the BIM model in the correct format for coordination. Generally, this format should be IFC.
- Make the correct linking of the disciplines in the model for coordination.
- Establish the BIM coordination rules.
- Define the areas within the project to be coordinated, as well as the disciplines.
- Perform interference coordination with the chosen software.
- Communicate the results to the team members.
- Send communication reports to the appropriate team members.
- Make any necessary corrections to the model.
- Re-check results and re-coordinate.
- Measure the results obtained.
When linking the files of the different disciplines, it should be considered that the models should have the same units and the same coordinates. If this is not the case, the models will not be correctly located and coordination will not be possible.
Some guiding questions to ask when starting BIM coordination
- Were the models created with the same software?
- In which format will I receive the files for each discipline?
- Which software will I use to perform the BIM coordination?
These questions should usually be defined in advance and documented. But we know that this is often not the case.
Therefore, it is good to consider this checklist as a working methodology to follow in order to ensure a correct coordination, improve and add points with every experience obtained.
About the software
CDE: Common Data Environment
There are some software that allow us to perform coordination and interference detection in the cloud, within the collaboration platform itself. Some of these software can be BIMcollab, BIM 360 or Trimble Connect.
This type of software allows advanced coordination, such as validating model information, performing different types of reviews, creating interference detection rules and applying them to all projects, as well as creating reports and sending them to all relevant team members.
Coordination with information-generating software. Basic and preliminary coordination can be done with modelling software. We call these software tools information generators because they are designed to generate information but not to manage it, since, as we saw earlier, there are much more specific and appropriate information management tools.
What it means to carry out a BIM coordination
Multidisciplinary BIM coordination means that several files will be linked together in a single BIM model. One file for each discipline.
How do we link files created with different software into a single BIM model?
With the IFC format. This format is an open standard format, compatible with all BIM software, just used to exchange this type of files.
IFC is something similar to the PDF file in the BIM world but loaded with information, not only geometric but also parametric.
Exporting to IFC from any software requires certain procedures and requirements to be taken into account so that the information is not lost when exchanging and linking files.
What to check when carrying out BIM coordination
- Did we do the right interference check between the different disciplines?
- Is the information contained in each model the correct one?
- Did we verify that the spaces and measurements of the model are in accordance with the requirements of the project design?
- Do the spaces foreseen for passages and service spaces have the appropriate measurements according to the requirements of the project?
- Do the spaces foreseen comply with current regulations?
This list of questions will help us to detect more quickly in our project if there are collisions, incongruent information, missing information or elements that are not correctly placed.
It allows you to send task lists to each team member, comments, revision clouds and generate an audit around the modifications in a project. It is also possible to send screenshots, attached documents and more information.
The most commonly used software for information management within projects are: BIMcollab (the one we use and recommend), BIM Track, Revizto.
With these questions we will be able to establish clear rules of coordination before starting each project.