The growing adoption by project owners of solutions to digitally transform the delivery of their capital construction projects has raised the need to have better visualization of the information generated from the massive volume of data captured by the different information authoring software applications. Those are applications for planning and schedule like Primavera P6, cost estimating like CostX, project management information systems like PMWeb, BIM modeling like Autodesk Revit among others. Those authoring applications and others are usually configured to be used by their intended users such as planning engineers for P6, cost estimators for CostX, architects and design engineers for BIM, and many other project management team members for PMWeb.
The growing demand for better visualization coupled with the growing volume of data that can be consumed by project stakeholders using data visualization and business intelligence tool like MS Power BI. Most of the authoring tool that generates tabular data can be configured to read data directly from the authoring applications. Some could be direct like PMWeb while others like P6 might need to have a data extraction program. Nevertheless, the challenge comes when there is a need for other visuals to be better to visualize the project’s information. In addition to the already developed custom visuals for maps, Gantt charts among others, there is a need for BIM model visuals.
In addition to the BIM Visual developed by BLogic Vcad, a new BIM visual developed by KG-DEV called 3DBI (https://kg-dev.be/) is now available for Autodesk Revit and Sketchup. The 3DBI allows on-premise visualization of the BIM model which is a must requirement for many capital project owners as well as easy and straightforward to use. The 3DBI add-in for Revit will produce the needed output data and model for the selected 3D view. The BIM model which will become available in PMWeb could be viewed using the different scenes created in Revit. The user can zoom in and zoom out, tilt the model among other functions.
One of the key advantages of MS Power BI is that enables to associate multiple data sources, say for example BIM data and PMWeb PMIS data, by ensuring that similar data field names are used on those applications. For example, the BIM model exported from Revit using 3DBI has two important fields, the BIM object ID and the Category Name. If there is a requirement to visualize the procurement scope of work on the BIM model, the PMWeb commitment module will be used to capture all current and planned purchase orders. The purchase order will include details of the project, supplier name, method of shipping, etc. whereas the LPO detailed section will have details of all items to be procured such as quantities, unit of measure, and others including the object ID and the Category Name.
Similar to other MS Power BI visuals and tables, when there is a data association between different data sources, selecting a data value on one visual will automatically filter the relevant data on the other visuals. For example, assume that a project stakeholder wants to view the furniture in the project, whether the stakeholder clicks on the furniture category in the procurement table or selects furniture from the category filter, the BIM model will automatically adjust the view to the furniture objects only.
The project stakeholder can further drill down to locate specific objects or objects that are in the BIM model. What is important is that the stakeholder can associate the same BIM object with other PMWeb data tables like those for submittal, Request for Information, Change Orders among others. The power of visualizing PMWeb data on a BIM model is a very powerful capability for stakeholders to have the dimension of project information location in addition to the other graphical and tabular visuals they are used to having.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services, and project management information systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality, 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 40 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 300 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.