You might have heard the news and if you haven’t… well, I’m telling you now. The British guidelines for all things BIM (or, at least, for collaborative working) went under public revision right before Christmas and you have until January 25th to review it and, if you want, to submit your comments. – Disclaimer – […]
You might have heard the news and if you haven’t… well, I’m telling you now. The British guidelines for all things BIM (or, at least, for collaborative working) went under public revision right before Christmas and you have until January 25th to review it and, if you want, to submit your comments.
– Disclaimer –
In this article you find few screenshots, both from the original PAS1192-2 and from the version currently under public revision. They are used with fair intentions and a pure heart, in order to explain better the proposed change. They were taken between December 2016 and January 2017, therefore if you’re reading this after the PAS 1192-2 publication they might be superseded.
1. Public Revision: How to
Before I start telling you what are the major changes proposed in the new PAS 1192-2, let me tell you once again how you can read it for yourself and, if willing, submit your comments.
I am a member of the BSI (British Standard Institution) but you don’t need to be in order to read and comment. That’s why it’s called a public revision. This is not dissimilar to what has been recently done in Italy for the UNI norm 11337.
All you need to do is go to the Draft section of the BSI website: http://drafts.bsigroup.com/
From there, you have to log-in.
In case you are a member, this is not your BSI member account: it’s an entirely different one. In case you are not a member, no worries: you can sign up for free.
Once you’ve done this, the easiest way to find your PAS is searching for it.
You’ll see that you have Chapter 2 and 3 under revision.
Just a quick reminder: Chapter 2 is Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling, while Chapter 3 is Specification for information management for the operational life-cycle of assets using building information modelling.
Once you’ve choosen your favourite PAS to comment, anyway, you can either read it online or download it as a pdf. Actually downloading it is encouraged since certain sections are a little hard to follow on the portal.
The process of leaving feedback is actually very efficient. You can drop them while you read, as if you were commenting on a forum, and review them later. You comment directly on the section, so I believe everything is made a lot easier even for the people receiving feedback. It’s a system I would love to see applied also on the UNI portal, honestly.
2. PAS: what are they?
The acronym PAS, yet another acronym in our BIM world (and there goes another one), stands for Publicly Available Specification and, in the Standard Institute’s own words, «is a sponsored fast-track standard». What does that mean? Well, that’s simple. Writing norms is long, considered to be boring, mostly unprofitable and, above all, freaking expensive. This is why you have to pay for norms. If you’re looking for a more articulated answer to that question, you might want to check this article out: Why Charge for Standards? by the American National Standard Institute.
Anyway, whether you agree or not with the concept that you have to pay for Standards, PAS are not Standards, strictly speaking. They are Specifications, meaning they resemble a Norm in the way they are written but they are drafted on a speed track, often responding to an urgent market need and equally often in areas of rapidly evolving technology. This is how the PAS about BIM come into the picture. The official standard they refer to is the British Standard carrying the same number, BS 1192, equally available for free on the BSI shop. It’s a document carrying a 2007 date and it’s a Code of Practice about Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information. As I already wrote many times, it’s not about Building Information Modelling, the term BIM doesn’t appear even one time. It’s about collaborative working and exchanging information within the fields of architecture, engineering and construction.
As you know, BIM is all about collaboration. Or at least true BIM is.
Therefore, when the British Government committed to BIM in May 2011, the principle of BS 1192 was good but an update was badly needed. The Construction Industry Council sponsored his development and a so-called steering committee was formed. Then BS came around: in 2015 an annex was developed and was aligning BS with the PAS, which should have been aligned with the BS in the first place.
Another annex came out in 2016, so the correct reference should you ever want to mention them would be BS 1192:2007 + A2:2016.
Technicalities aside, the points that I find interesting about the whole PAS mambo jambo are these:
– they came out fast, when the professionals needed them;
– they came out free, when the professionals needed them.
Now, some of you think they were just propaganda. Part of a Governative heist to talk professionals into doing BIM. And you know what? You are probably right. But I’ve got a bad news for you. The British Government created a very elaborate and very efficient marketing system in order to create the culture needed in order to put a collaborative machine into motion and you can’t do BIM unless you have a spread knowledge of the basic collaborative systems. There have been lots of criticism towards the PAS and I do not approve of it. Before you take up arms against them, just stop for a moment and think whether they did or did not fulfill they purpose and whether you could have done better.
3. PAS 1192-2 R2: what’s new?
While the first PAS was sponsored by the Construction Industry Council, as I said, this new draft is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Among the agencies working with this department, on their website you can find the Land Registry and the UK Space Agency.
Use of this document
It has been assumed in the preparation of this PAS that the execution of its provisions will be entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people, for whose use it has been produced.
Well, that’s something I would love to be able to put into… well, anything, actually. We are rapidly reaching a point where you can’t put up anymore with people unable to understand what you’re talking about so let’s cut the crap down: if you face a project without appropriately qualified and experienced people you are the one to blame.
Therefore I’m not going to take your hand and walk you through every single minor change that has been made to these documents. You download them and run them through a document compare, if you want that kind of service.
What I’m going to do, is point out some key changes, give some opinions and provide you with my perspective on how changes are looking from my angle.
3.1 The Strategic Phase
The Contract Phase in itself seems to be the main focus of this revision: the Model Production and Delivery Table is officially within the contract documents (of course it is) and a full set of Annexes and Appendices is fully formalized. And let me tell you they are a lot. You have:
– Employer’s Requirement (ER) and Employers Information Requirements (EIR) and they are not the same thing: ER is the traditional brief, traditionally used in traditional contracts and talks about the project itself (“I want to build a Hotel”) while EIRs is traditionally the “BIM part” of those Requirements (the only viable guideline about EIRs is still this one);
– the Digital Plan of Work (the fastest way to draft one is the NBS BIM toolkit);
– the BIM Execution Plan (pre contract);
– the Master Information Delivery Plan that states who is going to deliver what and in which stages and is in close contact with the Responsibility Matrix, the Model Production and Delivery Plan and, consequently, the Model Production and Delivery Table;
– the matrix for Project Roles and Responsibilities (see above);
– the Contractors Proposal, which is a response to the Employer’s Requirements and is still tied to traditional schemes.
Few of them are new names, as you can see, and lots of them are old concepts with a fancy name.
The main idea in the Contract Phase, here, is controversial. «It is the UK government’s express objective that BIM Level 2 has minimal impact on existing contracting methods», the PAS used to say. It still says that, even if I think that idea is long gone and we all agree on the fact that contracts need to change dramatically for Level 2 to work. Check out the work of David Mosey at the Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution in King’s College, London. For my Italian speaking friends, you might remember the summit we had in Milan about Legal BIM, a milestone in the process of defining where are we going with our Country regarding that issue.
With this perspective, PAS 1192 seems to be a patch up. Without getting into merit of actual contract forms, it provides a set of documents as a layer to put on top of what you have, as if BIM still doesn’t have the power to change the whole process but needs to settle for minor fixes, adjustments. Needless to say that I do not agree with this concept: it’s go BIM (and I mean full BIM) or go home. Even in contracts.
The main point in which I believe this is shown as critical is the relationship between Employer’s Information Requirements and pre-contract BIM Execution Plan.
Now, if you look at the relationship between Employer’s Requirements and Contractors Proposal, what you have are two documents talking to each other and the latter is drafted as a response to the first.
I do believe that with BIM you should have the same scheme: the pre-contract BIM Execution Plan (and we should really start calling it simply Project Execution Plan) should be drafted as a response to the Employer’s Information Requirements, meaning that it’s not drafted by the client but it’s a responsibility of that main contractor we call BIM leading consultant.
This scheme is partially proposed in section 5.1.8, when the BIM execution plan response gets its first mention.
Underneath each phase, you still have lots of the documents you used to have: you have Assessments, Task Information Delivery Plans and all that jazz.
As if this was not enough, a couple of additional documents have been added as appendixes to the Employer Information Requirements, with two main purposes:
– further specification in terms of the Built Asset and its Security, with due reference to the infamous PAS 1192-5 “Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management”;
– assessment tools.
The Assessment Phase has been split in several parts, again:
– OIRs and AIRs are concepts taken from PAS 1192:3;
– the Plain Language Questions are that part of the assessment more shaped like a quiz (you had to call them like that since people get all stiff when you say “Assessment”: you can look them up here).
Moreover, the Employer Information Requirements get a whole different structure: instead of having the original three sections (information management, commercial management and competence assessment), the proposed breakdown starts from a what-when-how concept. And I couldn’t approve more. The points an EIR should define are stated as:
– information content (what);
– timing of delivery (when);
– delivery process and standards (how).
The previous sections aren’t completely erased, however. You should think at the above mentioned as “objectives”, while in the main sections you still have “technical management” and “commercial management”, alongside a more general “management” taking care of data segregation, clash avoidance, details of the collaboration process and the whole set of BIM management things.
The link between Execution Planning Phase and the Need Assessment and Specification Phase is Procurement and its scheme seems to agree with the idea that I was illustrating above.
This is not new as well, but the double arrow is particularly significant, meaning that procurement is actually able to give a feedback to the client and influence its requests upon receiving the market’s response to the requests that were made.
Just note that you still have to carry out three types of assessment:
– a “BIM” assessment form;
– an information and communication technology assessment form;
– the resource assessment form.
To make a silly example, if you have a consultant called Gigi and he designs bananas this means you have to ask questions about Gigi’s expertise as a banana designer, about his expertise as a banana designer in BIM, about his expertise with BIM in general (he might have been designing pineapples for ages before shifting to bananas), which kind of computer and connection Gigi will be given, which kind of computer and with which banana-designing software. All these aspects are important.
The BIM assessment itself gets a new structure. What originally was gateway questions (“Are you prepared to share your model with us along with your mother and sisters?”) has now a specific focus about whether the company is aware of standards and how much it is willing to use them on the project. It makes sense, in a document of standard specifications.
Also, the former Information Technology Assessment Form is now mentioned as Information and Communication Technology Assessment Form (even if it still has the old name in some paragraphs and I fear this generates a little confusion) and has a whole new section about security. It’s a hot topic.
3.3 The Execution Planning Phase
Originally called just Execution Phase, it’s the second step of the project, after the EIRs, and it’s where you should draft your pre-contract BIM execution plan. It stands right after the Strategic phase of need and now the link between them is a two-way link, meaning that some things you find out – for instance – during the assessment phase can influence your EIR through a feedback during procurement. I couldn’t agree more.
A section about the post-contract BIM Execution Plan is badly needed. For now, we just have to say a prayer for the Project Implementation Plan. The document is no more: the Supplier Capability Assessment has taken completely over.
Meanwhile, the pre-contract BIM execution plan is still described as a light document, containing:
– the Supply Chain Assessment Summary;
– project goals for collaboration and information modelling (including model uses);
– major project milestones consistent with the project schedule;
– Model Production and Delivery Plan, hereby described as Delivery Strategy. Yes, there is a discrepancy between this part and the previous part: it is still unclear whether the table is part of the pre-contract Execution Plan and only the Plan is part of the Contract, or the Plan itself is in the pre-contract Execution Plan and therefore attached to the contract itself.
Unfortunately the cascade scheme for the Design/Constructor Supplier Chain stayed the same. I was sincerely hoping to see some updates and improvements in terms of clarity.
3.4 Delivery Phase
It’s the actual phase of the project, after the contract has been delivered through procurement and everyone is on the same page. It’s where people actually work: up until now we’ve been just talking.
The crucial document of this phase is, of course, the BIM Execution Plan. It’s a live document, a master document containing all procedures and agreements necessary in order to carry on with the project.
Between the first version and this revised proposal, the main sections in which the BIM execution plan is organized are still the same:
– planning and documentation;
– method and procedure.
No significant changes here, just a couple of things were added. Specifically:
– in the management section, they added a section about change control methods, meaning you have to set up some sort of system to track revisions;
– in the standard method and procedure, a couple of sections about security were added. A hot topic, as I said.
From the strategic point of view, there’s a shy but significant attempt to unify figures and erase the dichotomy between BIM management and actual management. We’ve got a long way ahead of us and we’re certainly not ready to go down that road, but you have to start somewhere.
As a consequence, the whole column A of Table 2 (“Information exchange activities”) is no more: Information Management activities are blended in and divided by role; the Leading Consultant is becoming more and more similar to what we call a BIM leading consultant: the figure in charge of the whole process also from the Information Management point of view. Tables regarding activities and authorities are much longer, in this new draft, and developed in more detail. That’s good.
On a lighter note, Figure 11 about Volumes has been redone and now it’s understandable even without a couple of glasses of whiskey. Wonderful. I wonder how many people will realize that they always got it wrong.
3.5 – Mobilization
You might think that this is delivery, all the preparation needed in order to actually give the client what you worked on (and hopefully get paid). It’s not. You still haven’t done anything, we still have just been talking. In the PAS 1192-2 own words:
«Mobilization is important because it provides the opportunity for the project supply team to make sure that the information management solution works before any design work is started. This includes making sure that the necessary documents have been prepared and agreed, the information management processes are in place, the team has the appropriate skills and competences, and that the technology supports and enables the management of information according to this PAS»
This is where your team reads your BIM Execution Plan and tells you if you’re crazy or just have been drinking.
Ideally it’s also a stage in which you provide the needed training, which details were originally provided in the Project Implementation Plan. It’s a moment where the project has already started but nobody is working yet. How many times have you seen that happening?
3.6 – Production Phase
Ok. Now you can start working.
Something crucial gets stated about deliveries, in this section. The original version (9.,1.4) said:
Data delivery shall include some all of the following data entities: native (product-proprietary) file formats, COBie-UK-2012 and read-only PDF; to enable a complete Level 2 project.
We always knew it was too shy and incomplete. Now (still 9.1.4) it reads:
Data delivery shall include some or all of the following data file types: native (product-proprietary) file formats, clash renditions, open source file formats (IFC-Industry Foundation Classes), COBie and read-only PDF; to enable a complete Level 2 project.
The focus on data file types, alongside with all those corrections from IT to ICT, reveal a steadier, more technical hand behind these PAS. IFC gets an explicit mention but make no mistakes: natire product-proprietary file formats still have to be submitted. Shall has a very specific meaning, in the PAS: it’s used to express requirements. Sorry, guys.
From the practical point of view, the whole Level of Definition concept was cleared up a little in order to reflect latest trends: you still have an explicit split between geometrical detail and information definition, but we got rid of those awful terms, “level of model detail” and “level of information detail”. You also have a basic example of progression, from Conceptual to Construction (without Stage 4).
When you reach the relevant section, however, you have Level of Detail and Level of Model Information. The expression Levels of Model Definition is no more, at least in the title. You have it afterwards, with the progression table. This is only one of the sections in which you have inconsistency of terms and I’m a little confused.
Just bear in mind, on a lighter note, that BIM-enabling tools are now called “Data Production tools” (Table 1) and I think it’s just a shame. Moreover, I honestly think that a significantly small portion of the tools presently available on the market are able to actually “produce” Data. And if the production is driven by a human… well, AutoCAD actually produces data just as much as Revit. I reject the concept that any “Data Production Tool” is good to do BIM and my heartfelt suggestion is that we go back to the original term “Enabling tools”.
In the Common Data Environment chapter, the Archive has been clarified to be a section where you place superseded files, without any validation needed, and the overall schema is much more neat than the previous one.
Regarding the Approval Gate, there’s something a little alarming and I also pointed it out in the comments. It’s written that the task team manager «defines the purpose for which the information may be used», and it seems that he defines model uses in this stage. Of course he doesn’t. Model uses are defined way before, in the contract phase. During Approval Gate, the task team manager simply verifies if data is suitable for the intended model use.
In what we can call verification phase, PAS 1192-2 takes a couple of concepts from ISO 9000:2015. You now have both validation and verification. Both are “confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence” but the concept here seems to be that validation is confirmation “that the requirements for a specific intended use or application have been fulfilled”, and verification simply confirms that “specified requirements have been fulfilled”. A further note explains this: verification simply should confirm that the information has been received, without getting into merit whether it was conform or viable for the specific model use intended. That should be the role of validation.
I kind of agree with this distinction, with some due notes.
1. both validation and verification should be carried out through demonstrable and certifying protocols, otherwise they are simply a manual qualitative check and have no place in this kind of workflow;
2. while verification seems to be good enough as a light protocol, verification is a full-on certification: it’s the stamp you used to put for approved drawings and as a protocol should be treated with lots of care.
Keeping these terms in mind, the task team manager verifies data and validates them with reference to the purpose for which the information model was intended. Or at least this is what I would like to read in that section.
Another crucial update is about the document status in the Common Data Environment. Even if they did not change codes, they clearly state that documents of status S (shared) and D (getting from WIP to Published) are «non contractual and to be used at risk». Which conflicts a little with descriptions of D stages:
– D1 is Suitable for Costing;
– D2 is Suitable for Tender;
– D3 is Suitable for Contractor Design;
– D4 is Suitable for Manufacture/Procurement.
Unless it’s not, is it? It’s not reliable enough, if it’s “to be used at own risk”. I’m confused. I hope someone can clear the fog for me.
File Naming stayed the same (you’ll be happy to hear that), but they added something about the Number itself and I am really grateful.
“00001” is the unique number when concatenated with other fields. The number of digits might have to be extended if the first three characters are used for some classification purpose.
What I am less grateful is that it’s unclear which “other fields” you are to concatenate it with. You can actually choose? Seriously? I hope not. I really hope not.
Chapter 10, BIM stages for the dPOW, is something I have been awaiting for and I’m happy to see it in the PAS. We now have an official document stating that the project phases are:
a) strategy and need (0)
b) brief (1)
c) concept (2)
d) definition (3)
e) design (4)
f) build and commission (5)
g) handback and close-out (6)
h) operation and end of life (7)
It’s odd not to see anything about reusability of the asset, honestly, but here you have them.
The Evaluation Phase is a novelty as well. As we set the stage for Level 4 (and we might want to skip Level 3, if you take my advise), the Handover stage goes into a Post Occupancy Evaluation that should provided significant data for the following phases and when the circle comes back to Strategy.
On the other hand, these PAS take a step back when it comes to Classification. You can kiss Table 4 goodbye: they are not going to take responsibility and advise you on which is the more suitable classification system for each phase.
Guys, guys, we really really need guidelines on this. It’s a crucial and potentially disruptive subject.
I think it’s clear that the main focuses in this revision are two:
On a general principle I agree with lots of updates: the ecosystem of documents revolving around contracts is richer and I approve of that, but I do believe we are lacking a strong position on how much contracts and working relationships in general need to change for BIM to actually work.
From an editorial point of view, I think this draft is still to be worked upon. There are inconsistencies in terms, even in crucial terms, and this sometimes creates confusion.
I encourage you to participate in the public revision and add your voice to the debate.
We’ll come back to this after January 25th, when these documents will be updated in their final form.