<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=445056146107513&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Guidelines of CAD/BIM Standards

Hagerman & Company

In an effort to maintain Building information Models organized for efficiency from project to project, companies may decide to implement standards. The way these standards are implemented can make projects flow smoothly or not depending on many factors. The purpose of this article is to outline some general tips on establishing and maintaining project standards and BIM standards with minimal effort.

Create the standards
– Many companies do not have clearly established CAD/BIM standards at all. Some have standards that vary based on the project. In some instances there are multiple people enforcing their own version of the company standards which creates confusion and inefficiency in the organization. It takes deliberate effort to put together standards so that they are comprehensive and educate people to work together more efficiently. If people can maintain consistent standards from project to project, they will save the organization time and money. In traditional AutoCAD, standards define the layering, the external reference structure and the sheet composition of a typical project and many other factors. With Revit, these standards are more about best modeling practices and methods of tracking and entering information. In any case, they are necessary for the sake of the team.

To create standards, it takes a highly technical person that understands the software in depth in order to know exactly which rules need to be implemented and which may be counterproductive to the team. It also takes the help of a project manager working alongside the highly technical person (usually CAD/BIM manager) to agree on what to implement that will be best for the team. It is also wise to involve the team members for some feedback on which rules and standards will work and which will not. Have a single standard defined and documented and don’t expect the team to establish this automatically, because it will not happen.

Enforce the standards – This is the most difficult thing to do when establishing standards. Anyone can establish the standards, however, it takes some major arm twisting to enforce them. Once standards are defined, they need to be written down and distributed to all the members. All members need to understand why they are in place and how to implement them into their work (education). It is common that the standards are not enforced by upper management after they are created. Empower the CAD/BIM technical manager and allow him or her to enforce those standards (BIM police!). If those standards are not enforced by someone, it defeats the purpose of having them. Users tend to resist change from the standards imposed on them because they have to adjust their work flow to accommodate. Upper level management should expect people to follow the standards developed by the team.

It also takes the technical ability of the CAD/BIM manager to customize and set up software so that standards can be followed by users without consuming as much time. There are many tools built into design software that will allow for this. There are also plug-ins that can be downloaded to facilitate model management and standards.

Maintain the standards - Once the standards are implemented, expect cases where users may deviate from them. The technical CAD/BIM manager can work with the project manager to determine whether the problems are legitimate or caused by unwillingness to adjust. For example, a user may claim that having to insert information on a certain Revit family is a painstaking process and this standard needs to be changed. The CAD/BIM manager may discover that the reason for the complaint is because he/she is not familiar with the software’s functionality and is inserting the information inefficiently. If the user is educated on the function, the standard can be followed without loss of time. In other cases, a user may state that the standard does not allow him or her to accomplish a certain task. After looking into the matter, the CAD/BIM manager may discover that this is a legitimate concern and that standards need to be updated or made more lax. After some time of going through this discovery process, the standards will evolve into something that can be used and followed without any issues and will increase productivity and profit for the organization. Standards are an evolutionary process and should be treated this way so that it works for all members and does not overly restrict them from doing their work.

submitted by Robert Levy, AEC Solutions Engineer, Hagerman & Company, Inc.