With the growing use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the engineering and construction industry, the question is how can BIM models help organizations who use Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb to enforce transparency and accountability in managing the hundreds of their every project management processes as well as to ensure a real-time single version of the truth performance and status reporting to provide better insight and visualization of the captured information. The concepts of 4D and 5D are examples of how information from planning and scheduling and cost estimating software applications have created more value and benefits from the BIM Models.
Since the requirement of associating PMIS information with BIM models is mainly intended for the project management team and not the team who are responsible for authoring, reviewing, and approving BIM models, the needed solution must have no requirement for those team members to become BIM experts. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use the IFC, which is a global standard for data exchange in the building industries, to share and visualize the BIM model data. For many, the IFC has been considered to be the main enabler for collaboration in managing the project life cycle stages using BIM.
With this in mind, the selected solution for associating and visualizing PMIS and BIM information will be MS Power BI which is the solution used by many of those involved in delivering engineering and construction projects to monitor, evaluate and report information captured in the everyday project management processes. MS Power BI helps in providing project team members with better insight in monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the performance of request for information (RFI), non-compliance report (NCR), punch list, work inspection requests (WIR), change orders, and the many other project management processes.
In addition, Vcad for MS Power BI from BLogic is a solution that enables viewing IFC BIM models using MS Power BI. Vcad is an MS Power BI custom visual that is capable to link the geometric elements of IFC files to the data it contains. After uploading an IFC file, the Vcad service processes the file which can then be viewed in MS Power BI and connected directly to the data thanks to some ready-made templates. In this way, it is possible to generate reports in a few clicks that can be updated, modified, and shared according to the user’s needs. Please visit this link to see how the process works. https://youtu.be/S9S9WTmspUg
To ensure that the PMWeb PMIS information will be automatically associated with the VCAD BIM information, each PMWeb project management process needs to have at least a field for the “AssetName” which is used in the IFC BIM model to identify the different objects or assets included in the model. Additional IFC BIM fields for “AssetTypeName” and “AssetGuid” can be also added although this is not a requirement.
The next step is to create the link between the PMWeb PMIS BIM fields and Vcad IFC BIM fields in MS Power BI to enable associating the PMIS records with the BIM assets and objects. The link will be between the “AssetName” which will be used in associating the data from the PMIS and BIM applications.
Using the same IFC BIM models generated by Vcad, different MS Power BI reports can be created for each PMWeb project management process or group of project management processes. The layout of the report would usually include in addition to the BIM model, a table or a list of the different transactions for the project management process being reported on along with different graphical visuals to summarize the information captured in those transactions.
The MS Power BI report will be an interactive report where the information will be automatically filtered depending on the selection and the BIM model will highlight the selected BIM objects or assets. This will provide the report reader with immediate visualization of the BIM objects associated with the selected RFIs. The same approach will apply to all other PMWeb PMIS processes that had been associated with the VCAD IFC BIM model using MS Power BI. For example, by selecting the RFIs that had been withheld for 12 days or more, the PMIS tabular and graphical visuals will display only those selected RFI transactions and the BIM model will reflect the associated BIM objects or assets. The user has full control to zoom and rotate the BIM model to have better visualization of the associated BIM objects or assets. The Vcad viewer allows having an X-Ray view to locate the objects inside the BIM Model.
The same approach will be followed with other captured information in PMWeb including imported project’s schedule data with the option to link the Oracle Primavera P6 and MS Project schedule data similar to what was done for PMWeb. In addition, other data sources can be also extracted, loaded, and associated with the BIM model as well as blended with the data from other applications like those of PMWeb, Oracle Primavera P6, and MS Project.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value over the 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 complete 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 topics relating to 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 more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.