The growing trend to use Building Information Modelling (BIM) in capital projects delivery and asset management makes it necessary for the project management and asset management team to share, review and view BIM models. That is similar to what they used to do with other project documents when managing the many project management processes. Those could include the processes needed during the project delivery life cycle phases, such as Requests for Information, Submittals, and Change Orders, among many others. The procedures are required during the capital asset management phase for work requests and order processes. Those individuals do not need the skill or knowledge to the author or manage BIM models but need to know how to use those models or their components or objects when they need to reference them in their communications.
To enable this, Autodesk Revit, which is by far the most used BIM authoring software, has the feature to export the horizontal and vertical BIM 3D models and 2D drawings authored in Revit in a format that non-Revit users can use to share, review and view those BIM models. Autodesk Revit exported DWFX formatted using Microsoft’s XML Paper Specification (XPS). DWFX files may contain 3D design data, object properties, and metadata of the BIM models. In addition, a DWFX file could have more than one record or sheet, depending on the user’s selection. For example, it could include a 3D Model and several 2D Drawing sheets associated with the exported Model. Those 2D drawings could be, for example, the floor plans, the cross sections, and the elevations, among others.
PMWeb is one of the Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) solutions that have created a BIM model viewer to allow the project team members to upload BIM models so they can be shared, viewed, reviewed, and take snapshots of selected BIM objects and associate them with the different project records created using PMWeb. Those BIM models will be automatically uploaded and stored on Autodesk Forge Cloud to enable accessing those models using web browsers. Each PMWeb client will have a private bucket on Autodesk Forge to store their DWFX models.
For the uploaded DWFX files, PMWeb BIM Module allows capturing metadata details such as BIM name, description, type, category, and Level of Detail which could be LOD100 for Concept Design, LOD200 for Schematic Design, LOD300 for Design Development, LOD350 for Issued for Bid or Construction, LOD400 for Shop Drawings and LOD500 for As-Built. In addition, PMWeb allows assigning user-defined fields and notes and providing a score for each uploaded BIM model.
The BIM Model Manager uses the same popular commands of the Autodesk A360 application to manage and view the uploaded BIM model. Those commands include Orientation Cube, Orbit Button, Pan Button, Zoom Button, First Person Button, Camera Button, Section Analysis Button, Measure Button, Explode Button, Model Browser Button, Properties Button, Setting Button, Full-Screen Button, and Manage Screenshots Button.
PMWeb BIM Model Manager allows the user to take snapshots of selected BIM Model Objects so they can be attached to the many PMWeb records such as RFI, Submittal Items, Meeting Minutes, Potential Change Orders, Change Orders, Work Permits, among others needed to clarify the communication or to make reference to. In addition, PMWeb allows emailing and printing of those snapshots.
In addition, the PMWeb Model Manager Collaborate command allows the record creator to invite other PMWeb users to the uploaded BIM Model so they can share their reviews and comments on the BIM model. The record creator can set the rules for the invited team members, like who can edit the record, who can edit the notes, who can edit attachments, and who to be notified of team changes. All comments made by the invited team members will be dated and time-stamped so the different team members can reference them.
Of course, PMWeb also allows uploading and attaching the original Revit file where the BIM model was authored directly into the different PMWeb records and the PMWeb document management repository and then choosing to link to the relevant PMWeb record. When the Revit file upload is completed, the user needs to click on the PMWeb 3D icon to view the uploaded file, which will be automatically converted into DWFX file format and stored on the Forge Cloud bucket. The PMWeb 3D Viewer is the same Viewer used in PMWeb BIM Model Manager, which has the same Autodesk A360 commands and functionalities. This approach is recommended to enable the user to maintain a copy of the Revit source file stored on the PMWeb document management repository.
If the uploaded Revit file had more than one record or sheet, such as the 3D Model, along with different 2D Drawing sheets, a list of those views would be displayed to select the record. When the user clicks on the desired file or record name, the document will automatically appear on the PMWeb BIM Model viewer, similar to what is shown below.
Further to the PMWeb BIM Model Manager module, PMWeb has another BIM module that directly integrates with Autodesk Revit BIM authoring software which will electronically connect the Revit models to the PMWeb database. This integration option can launch PMWeb from within Autodesk Revit to create a linked Model Manager record in PMWeb. For example, by clicking a button in Revit, it will extract the lists of floors, spaces, and equipment from the Revit model and send the lists to PMWeb Asset Manager to create new asset records in PMWeb and link them to PMWeb. The integration will also allow extracting COBie data from the Revit model and sending it to PMWeb COBie Manager.
The Revit BIM plugin will be used to create new PMWeb records – such as RFIs, Submittal Items, Submittal Packages, Work Requests, and Work Orders – linked to selections in the Revit model and automatically send them to PMWeb so they can be managed as per the predefined workflow for each process. The forms created in Revit will access PMWeb data as it relates to each built form.
For example, when an RFI is created in the Revit PMWeb plugin, the RFI form displayed within Revit will include the fields for description, number, date, phase, CSI code, category, trade, status, reference, priority, due date, from, to, question, proposed solution, answer, whether the RFI is out of scope and/or have cost and schedule impact and the relevant project schedule activity. In addition, it will automatically capture the Revit object reference details.
In addition to those ready-to-use PMWeb and BIM integration modules, other PMWeb and BIM integrations can be created using PMWeb APIs that support SOAP and REST protocols. An organization needs to decide the objective of the integration and what data fields between PMWeb and BIM need to be integrated.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM, is a Senior Project Management Consultant with over 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value of over US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in project management, including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.
Bassam is a frequent speaker on Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for over six years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), an accredited Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), and a Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Master’s in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation from George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.