Iva Kovacic, Lars Oberwinter, Christoph Müller

Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria


One of the consequences of increasing complexity of planning and construction process is a large number of disciplines participating in planning process, all of whom use wide spectrum of specialised visualisation, simulation or calculation tools. With the maturing of BIM tools and their increasing presence on the market, the hope for possibility of maximisation of process-integration through joining all of the different building-representation models in one single joint model came up.  The planning practice reality however demonstrated a number of upcoming problems with BIM implementation on technical- (heterogonous data, interfaces, large data volumes) but even more so on process-level (question of responsibilities and work-load distribution, lacking standards or conventions on building-representation).  The optimal data management, transfer and synchronisation within very inhomogeneous software context, such as employed within construction projects, require enormous organization, coordination and communication effort in the earliest design-phases. The BIM implementation implies therefore on necessity of fundamental rethinking of the traditional design process; for which the knowledge is still largely lacking.

In this paper we will present the first results of the exploratory research carried out at the Vienna University of Technology. We simulated a BIM-supported multi-disciplinary planning process with students of architecture, structural engineering and building physics, using several BIM-software tools. First insights on process-quality, such as team-, process- and technology satisfaction, as well as conflict- and stress levels will be presented. We were able to identify numerous technical problems related to the data transfer and inconsistencies in translation, which resulted in participant dissatisfaction and significant increasing of work-loads.  

The first results imply on the importance of traditional process-design techniques such as face-to face communication, coordination and work-load allocation between the team-members in order to conduct efficient BIM-supported process; as well as on urgent need for advancement of the tools in terms of data transfer- and exchange. In the next step, using mandatory protocols and timesheets, a detailed statistical analysis of the people-process-technology issues will be conducted, as well as comparison of "Open-Platform-BIM" to "One-Platform-BIM” model.

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