Client BIM briefing note: Information Management role

Introduction

Over the past 12 months we have seen a number of our client’s set out that they wish the design team to deliver “BIM Level 2”. Whilst this is great to see an increased interest in the need for BIM, many clients are missing a crucial aspect of a “BIM Level 2” project. This is the need to appoint someone to carry out Information Management for the project.

Where projects are contractor-led it is generally accepted that the Main Contractor takes on this role (or they appoint someone to assist with this task). However where a project is design team led, prior to a main contractor being appointed, there is more ambiguity about who will carry out this role.

In order to not end up in a position where no one on the team is able to perform the required tasks it is imperative that client’s set out Roles and Responsibilities in their enquiries/appointments/frameworks.

As you will see from the detail set out below it may be that tasks can be performed by a number of parties on the project. For example, a client could choose to provide and manage a Common Data Environment (CDE) but they could define the rest of the role to be carried out by a specific Information Manager or even split the role further between various parties. Whichever route is taken it is important that the tasks are covered by someone in order to ensure information is delivered efficiently and correctly.

Of course many clients rely on others to brief them correctly about how to setup project teams, particularly Project Managers, so hopefully a few Project Managers (who don’t already advise their clients about Information Management) read this and advise their clients accordingly!


Where does it set out the need for Information Management?

There are 3 main places within the “BIM Level 2” documentation where the role of Information Management is discussed. These are:

  1. PAS 1192-2:2013 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling
  2. Building Information Modelling (BIM) Protocol; CIC First Edition 2013
  3. CIC Outline Scope of Services for the Role of Information Management

We have set out the detail from each of these documents below:


1. PAS 1192-2:2013 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling

Available for free download: http://shop.bsigroup.com/Navigate-by/PAS/PAS-1192-22013/

PAS1192 sets out information management throughout the document but these are some of the key points related specifically the role of information Management:

a) Page 4 – 3.26 information management – “tasks and procedures applied to inputting, processing and generation activities to ensure accuracy and integrity of information”

b) Page 17 – 7.5.1 “NOTE3 On projects led with the CIC BIM Protocol (2013), a key role is the information manager. The information manager has a role in facilitating the management of the federated model and the production of project outputs. The information manager is also responsible for managing the operation, standards and culture of the common data environment. The information manager is not a stand-alone role and is expected to shift from design team to contractor prior to start on site. Under the BIM Protocol, a client is obliged to appoint an information manager at all project stages.”

c) Page 18 – Figure 10 – Roles, responsibilities and authority – Identifies the roles of Information Management and Coordination Management

d) Page 19 – Table 2 This table sets out a list of standard roles for a “Level 2 BIM” project. These are: Information Management, Project Delivery Management, Lead Designer, Task Team Manager, Task Information Manager, Interface Manager and Information Originator.

The Information Management role describes the following activities related to Information exchange activities:

  • Enable reliable information exchange through a common data environment
  • Maintain and receive information into the Information Model
  • Enable integration and co-ordination of information within the Information Model
  • Configure information for Project Outputs
  • Populate the information exchange format for the Information Model
  • Accept reject information exchanges within the common data environment
  • No design responsibility or right to issue instructions

The role of Project Delivery Manager, which could also fall to the same individual appointed as the Information Manager (or be part of the Project Manager role), describes the following activities related to Information exchange activities:

  • Assure delivery of information exchanges
  • Confirm suppliers ability to deliver information requirements
  • Accept reject information exchanges within the common data environment

2. Building Information Model (BIM) Protocol; CIC First Edition 2013

Available for free download: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-BIM-Protocol.pdf

From page vi:

“The Protocol requires the Employer to appoint a party to undertake the Information Management Role. This is expected to form part of a wider set of duties under an existing appointment and is likely to be performed either by the Design Lead or the Project Lead, which could be a consultant or contractor at different stages of the project. In some circumstances the Employer may appoint a standalone Information Manager.

The Scope of Services for the Role of Information Management will need to be defined in the Appointment of the party undertaking the Information Management Role. Details of the scope of services of the Information Manager have been prepared by the CIC. There are two versions [1]: a detailed version compatible with the CIC scope of services, and another simpler version suitable for incorporation with any appointment, these are published separately on the BIM Task Group website, www.bimtaskgroup.org.

The Information Manager has no design related duties. Clash detection and model coordination activities associated with a ‘BIM Coordinator’ remain the responsibility of the design lead.

The principal responsibilities of the Information Manager can be summarised as:

  • Managing the processes and procedures for information exchange on projects;
  • Initiating and implementing the Project Information Plan and Asset Information Plan;
  • Assisting in preparation of Project Outputs, such as data drops [2]; and
  • Implementation of the BIM Protocol, including the updating of the MPDT.

The initial responsibility for the appointment of the Information Manager lies with the Employer, who must ensure that there is an Information Manager appointed (whether by the Employer or another party) at all times until completion of the Project, save to the extent that this is the responsibility of the relevant Project Team Member.”

[1] We are currently only aware of one document that currently exists, which is the Outline Scope of Services discussed below.[2] Note the term ‘data drop’ is now more typically referred to as an ‘information exchange’.


3. CIC Outline Scope of Services for the Role of Information Management

Available for free download: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Outline-Scope-of-Services-for-the-Role-of-Information-Managment.pdf

This document lists an outline scope and is split into 4 areas:

  1. Common Data Environment Management
  2. Project Information Management
  3. Collaborative working, information exchange and project team management
  4. Additional services

The scope sets out the following scope:

1. Common Data Environment

  • Establish a Common Data Environment including processes and procedures to enable reliable information exchange between Project Team Members, the Employer and other parties
  • Establish, agree and implement the information structure and maintenance standards for the Information Model
  • Receive information into the Information Model in compliance with agreed processes and procedures. Validate compliance with information requirements and advise on non-compliance
  • Maintain the Information Model to meet integrity and security standards in compliance with the employer’s information requirement
  • Manage Common Data Environment processes and procedures, validate compliance with them and advise on non- compliance

2. Project Information Management

  • • Initiate, agree and implement the Project Information Plan and Asset Information Plan covering:
    • Information structure across roles e.g. software platforms (all levels of supply chain) appropriate to meet Employer requirements and Project Team resources
    • Responsibility for provision of information at each Stage
    • Level of detail of information required for specific Project Outputs e.g. Planning, Procurement, FM Procurement
    • The process for incorporating as-constructed, testing, validation and commissioning information
  • Enable integration of information within the Project Team and co-ordination of information by Design Lead
  • Agree formats for Project Outputs
  • Assist Project Team Members in assembling information for Project Outputs

3. Collaborative working, information exchange and project team management

  • Support the implementation of the Project BIM protocol including updating the Appendices
  • Liaise with and co-operate with Project Team Members and the Employer in support of a collaborative working culture
  • Assist the Project Team Members in establishing information exchange processes, including:
    • Define and agree procedures for convening, chairing, attendance and responsibility for recording “information exchange process meetings”
  • Participate in and comply with project team management procedures and processes including:
    • Risk and value management
    • Performance management and measurement procedures
    • Change management procedures including adjustment to budgets and programme
    • Attendance at project and design team meetings as required
    • Agree and implement record keeping, archiving and audit trail for Information Model

4. Additional services

  • Provide the services to host the Common Data Environment

Summary

From the above documentation we believe it is clear that there is a need for someone to carry out the Information Management at all stages of a project. This could be an existing Design Team member already appointed to the project or a standalone Information Manager (as noted in the BIM Protocol). Equally the tasks could be divided up amongst team members appointed for the project. There will also be scenarios where this role changes from one party to another, for example once a main contractor is appointed. Which ever route is chosen any appointed Information Manager(s) needs to have the required skills, expertise and resource to deliver the requirements of the role.

One thing that I often see is individuals using the terms “BIM Information Manager” or “BIM Manager” on projects. For me this role is to manage all project information not just information from a model! PDFs are a Level 2 deliverable as well as models and COBie.  The whole point of BIM is to turn information into better digital outputs and that for me is every piece of information on a project whether its from a model or not. But also don’t just think this role is a new title for a document controller or simply Project Management (although some of the tasks could be carried out by Document Controllers and Project Managers), there are some very skilled aspects involved, such as federating asset model data, validating that data and then producing COBie outputs at the end of each RIBA stage.


A final note…and apologies for the shameless plug!

As a company Bond Bryan Architects have already acted in the role of Information Manager (see our Kent Primary Schools Case Study) and we have recently expanded this to be able to offer this to projects that don’t necessarily involve our own architectural teams. This new brand, Bond Bryan Digital, can support those projects where others don’t have the skills, expertise or resource to deliver the requirements of the role of an Information Manager. More information about Bond Bryan Digital’s services can be found here: www.bondbryan.com/digital.

Rob Jackson, Associate Director, Bond Bryan Digital

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2 thoughts on “Client BIM briefing note: Information Management role

  1. Hi Rob,

    Great article. Are you aware of any organisations offering a dedicated Information Management service (other than yourselves)? The client or project manager has typically filled the Information Manager role pre-contract on our BIM projects to date (that or the design team simply use a lightweight system like Google Drive to exchange models, and there is no real ‘Information Manager’ before the Contractor comes on board), but we are now being asked to either provide or subconsult this in bids.

    In your view should Architects be expanding their document control wings to be able to provide Information Management for Level 2 BIM projects?

    Cheers,
    Matt (Allies and Morrison)

    • Hi Matt,

      There are a number of companies offering Information Management as a service. We aren’t the only ones of course. The companies that offer these services range from technology resellers, project managers, architects, engineers to standalone BIM consultancies. I could probably name a dozen of these off the top of my head but there are more and more appearing every day.

      Information management is far more than document control. Document control is a part of it of course but a key part of the role is to put in place robust procedures for information delivery and then validate the provided information. A key component of this for “BIM Level 2” is to be able to produce a federated COBie output. Most companies don’t understand the intricacies of COBie, how to deliver and ultimately validate it and that’s where we offer our knowledge and experience to projects.

      We offer Information Management as an additional service to our architectural projects, but also offer this on projects where we are not the architects. More than happy to discuss further the specifics of what we offer. I think ultimately the industry should absorb Information Management into existing roles (as is intended by PAS 1192-2:2013) but at present there is a need to offer this role as an additional service, particularly before a main contractor is appointed.

      Regards,

      Rob

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