Hopefully, you have all heard of a BIM Manager, but what about a Model Manager? In this 7-part series, I will dive into what a Model Manager does, why they are a vital project team role, and the specific tasks assigned to this position throughout the course of a project.
This first post is an overview of the position, which will be followed by information of the specific responsibilities:
- Part 2: Project Planning Tasks
- Part 3: Project Setup Tasks
- Part 4: Model Maintenance – Weekly Tasks
- Part 5: Model Maintenance – As Required Tasks
- Part 6: Model Coordination Tasks
- Part 7: Project Milestone Tasks
Just as a design project requires a Project Manager, a Revit project requires a Model Manager to oversee the whole project and be the main bank of knowledge. A design project would not function efficiently without one person overseeing all the others who are working on a project, and a Revit model is the same. A Model Manager is vital to the health of a Revit project by being an advocate for good modeling practices to help maintain intact, precise, and accurate models.
A Revit project is inherently more technologically complicated than an AutoCAD project. Revit is a complex software and with multiple people working in the same file(s), periodic review and maintenance are vital to keeping them running smoothly and efficiently. By assigning this role to one or two project team members and allotting them dedicated time to perform these tasks, the rest of the team can focus on the design, therefore increasing project success.
I want to make it clear that this role is not something new. There is probably someone on every project who is informally filling this role already. This is also NOT a full-time job. The person who is designated the Model Manager will still be working in production on the project. In fact, it’s vital that they are a full-time member of the project team so that they know the specifics of the project and the associated models.
Do we really need one?
If you do not have a dedicated Model Manager for each project, no one is looking at the models holistically. Each person is looking at their slice of the design problem and doing what is best for them, not necessarily what is best for the whole project. When this happens, bad practices creep in. This results in models with too many objects making navigation difficult and inefficient, bloated file sizes which make models run slowly and more prone to crashing, and elements disappearing or appearing incorrectly due to data corruption. A Model Manager will identify and resolve these issues before they can become catastrophic and guide team members about proper modeling practices moving forward.
Every Revit project should have at least one person designated as the Model Manager and large project teams (more than 6-7 Revit users in one model) may require two. When team sizes allow it, a backup Model Manager should be designated, someone who is aware of the outstanding issues in a model, in case the primary model manager is unavailable. The backup person will generally not require the same amount of time dedicated to the overall model health of the building but will be able to step in when required.
The Model Manager must be involved in all decisions regarding the model and what is expected, which includes being an integral part of the Project/BIM kickoff process. Because a Model Manager is a Revit expert, they will be able to speak to what is reasonable to model and provide what works within the constraints of the budget and project timeline. The Model Managers for all project team members (consultants) should meet at the beginning of a project to set the guidelines for modeling (BIM kickoff meeting) and then periodically throughout the project. For smaller, simpler projects, this meeting can be part of regular project coordination meetings while for larger, more complicated projects, it might need to be its own meeting.
Most design projects are fast-paced with deadlines and requirements quickly and constantly changing. Because there is always a time crunch, those working in a model are not always performing tasks that are optimal for the health of the model either because they don’t have time, they aren’t aware of set procedures, or they don’t have the required expertise. When one person is responsible for the health of the model(s), they develop a system that inherently comes with efficiencies, which in turn help models to run smoother and with fewer crashes and failures. Having the same individual manage the models throughout the life of a project is ideal, as they will have the institutional knowledge of the project and will be able to more quickly address issues as they arise.
Who makes a good Model Manager?
There are a few important qualities that someone must possess in order to be successful as a Model Manager:
- A natural people person who enjoys helping others
- Process-oriented and organized
- Is an inherent problem-solver who relishes in solving problems
- Has a good working knowledge of Revit and is always pushing their abilities
Notice that I did not include “Revit Expert” in that list. It is not necessary for the Model Manager to have 10 years of Revit experience and know how to use every tool. For one, this is just not going to be feasible and two, as long as they know who to go to for help, they don’t need to know it all themselves. I fulfilled this role on the first Revit project I ever worked on, after only having used Revit for about a year. So if I could do it back in 2009, you can do it now!
General Roles and Responsibilities
- Work closely with the BIM Manager to assist with standards and general best practices
- Review and revise the BIM Execution Plan (BEP)
- Plan and conduct the BIM kickoff meeting
- Coordinate all model-related tasks with consultants
- Oversee general model health and function
- Perform regular model maintenance
- Perform any major tasks related to a model
- Be the central knowledge bank for information about the Revit model for this particular project
- Promote the use of best practices and guide team members as needed
Overview of Model Manager Duties
The Model Manager has specific duties at each phase of a project, with many overlapping and continuing throughout the entire life of a project. Below is an overview of the tasks per phase. The rest of the series will go more in depth of each of the categories below.
- Coordinate the BIM Kick-off meeting with the Project Manager and BIM Manager
- Review and revise the BEP as required
- Meet with the Model Managers of external team members to review BEP and determine responsibilities of each party
- Input General Project Information
- Set up Location & Site
- Set up Project Location
- Set up Shared Coordinates
- Set up True/Project North
- Verify All Views Are Assigned A View Template
- Enable Worksharing
- Set up Worksets
- Set up Master Keynote File
Model Maintenance – Routine (weekly)
- Delete Unnecessary Views
- Delete/Assign View Templates to Unassigned Views
- Review and Resolve Warnings
- Purge Unused
- Refresh the Central Model File
Model Maintenance – As Required
- Remove unnecessary links
- Manage Worksets
- Keep the Revit folders on the server clean
- Check the model for poor or improper modeling techniques
Model Coordination & Review
- Plan and conduct the Revit review portion of regular team meetings (internal and with consultants)
- Perform Coordination Review
- Prepare models for exchange
- Prepare models for exchange using eTransmit
- Proper use of the Relocate Project tool
- Archive at major deadlines
- Archive at project end
- Prepare model for CA phase
- Archive at the end of construction
Stay tuned for the next installment in the series – Part 2: Project Planning Tasks.
Purvi is the Practice Manager for Architecture, where she supports the integration of software and technology in the building trades. Previously, she was a preservation project architect, where she specialized in using innovative technology to facilitate the documentation and rehabilitation of institutional buildings. Purvi has 15 years of experience in the architecture industry and 10+ years of Revit experience working with existing buildings (most of them also historic), and she has used Revit from conceptual design, through construction administration and project close-out. She has a Bachelors of Architecture from The Cooper Union and a MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. Purvi is currently the Chair of the Parker Gray Historic District Board of Architectural Review in Alexandria, VA, and a member of the Association for Preservation Technology International Technical Committee on Documentation.
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