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Bad Data in a BIM World

Jason KunkelSeptember 29th, 2016

BIM is on a roll these days, and many organizations are finally taking the plunge after figuring out that it's not just a trend. The benefits are huge across the whole life of a building project: better design, more coordinated construction, and easier hand-off to owners are just the baseline of a successfully run BIM project.

One of the foundations to working in a BIM World is data. But as architects and engineers and contractors start to live in this world where they need to share data down the line, we need to make sure that the data is good data. As more of our systems become automated and turnaround time shrinks it is essential that we put in place procedures and functions that can make sure the data we are putting into our models is the right data.

Procedures and standards are the first step. You need to have a robust set of BIM Requirements and BIM Execution Plan to even begin building consistency and reliability of your data. Knowing what the target is helps the people producing the models and associated information not waste time on tasks that just aren't needed. These standards needs to be planned, pilot-tested, refined, and monitored as a living document.

Getting your teams trained goes hand in hand with the new standards. Working in a BIM World will require all new sets of tasks and it's essential to get your users up to speed. And not just production folks. Every level needs focused training to let them know what the new tasks are that they need to focus on.

Once your practices are in place and everyone knows how to use them, we still need to assume that the data collected won't be 100% accurate. For example, look at this article. I can't tell you how many little red squiggles showed up as I was typing it, letting me know that I had misspelled a word. We are talking about computers here and digital information, so fortunately there are tools that can be used to automate a lot of the data validation and checking.

If you've read anything I've written, you probably know I am a big fan of Revit. Revit at its core is a database, so it is specifically setup for this new BIM World. Working to help validate and monitor the data in your Revit model is the Autodesk Model Checker, which I am also a big fan of. Its job is to parse through your Revit model and verify, confirm, and check the existence of data in your parameters. It takes so much of the manual heavy lifting out of checking BIM model and data standards and should be in every BIM Manager or even Model Manager's quiver.

The goal of all of this is to avoid bad data. In the BIM World, bad data is worse than no data at all. As long as you set up the proper procedures, training, and quality checking, you can save yourself time in knowing that your data is concise, collected and most importantly correct.

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