Product Manager
Anthony Iandiorio

Unlock BIM Data Using the 3Cs Framework: Coordination, Cooperation, Collaboration

Building information modeling (BIM) software is widely mandated across the world and the majority of large-scale projects in the U.S. leverage it. But any architect, engineer, or construction professional knows that not all BIM data is created equal, and sometimes different BIM software is used across the same project, making it nearly impossible to get meaningful data to inform critical decisions.

To maximize your BIM software use you need high-quality data, user-friendly software, and teams ready to engage with the resulting model. Finding all of that can be tricky — but the 3 Cs framework can help.

What is BIM Software? 

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the holistic process of creating and managing information for a built asset across its lifecycle, from planning and design to construction and operations. This includes 3D modeling, management software, data stacks and more.

According to G2 the most common BIM software includes the following elements:

  • Provide 2D or 3D computer-aided design tools specifically targeted for architectural design and construction
  • Include collaboration functionality that allows multiple team members to work on the same project model at the same time
  • Offer tools to optimize building performance with performance data and advanced analysis engines

At its best, BIM powers efficiency. It keeps the ability to design and analyze systems at your fingertips while helping stakeholders get the information they need. At its worst, it creates mistrust of data, and causes costly delays and project rework. According to Autodesk's Harnessing The Data Advantage in Construction Report in 2020, bad project data cost global construction industry over $1.8 Trillion.

Unlocking Information in Toric

Here’s the thing about BIM: that middle part — the information — drives everything. Without the right information in the model, it becomes either a useless tool or a source of problems.

For BIM to work, it needs to extend past a 3D rendering to include all of the little details everyone on the job needs to do their work. That could be as far-reaching as overall project timelines or as minute as the placement of electrical outlets. 

The main hurdle is getting all the data you need from your BIM model and other BIM software in a way that is useful. We can help. With our user-friendly, code-free single data pipeline, we give you a single source of truth to compile all the information you need for truly useful BIM. In fact, you can even augment and condition your BIM model directly in Toric. 

The 3 C's Framework - Coordination, Cooperation, Collaboration.

To avoid headaches and make the most of BIM, we suggest the 3 Cs framework pulled from Mark Elliott, Ph.D.’s General Theory of Collaboration. You can use coordination, cooperation, and collaboration to unlock the full benefits of BIM data.

Phase One: Coordination

In this framework, coordination means connecting independent elements together. 

At its core, BIM is all about the intersection of the digital and physical world. It’s a tool that can pull various elements together into one working model that people can use. 

A basic BIM will, at the very least, deliver some level of coordination. In fact, 60% of construction respondents identified coordination (along with clash detection) as their top reason for implementing BIM. 

BIM models help to show how the pieces of the build puzzle should fit together, and that alone can be enough to benefit many projects.

Connect All of Your Data, from  BIM Systems in Toric

Toric connects data from your existing systems into one place for enrichment, analysis, and decision-making, effectively all your coordination can be facilitated in Toric. Th

Design Data

Connect directly to 3D models- pull metadata, quantities, 3D geometry in one place.

Finance Data

Bring your numbers from your ERP systems, account tools, and more.

Project Management ToOls

Connect all of your data from your construction management software including Budgets, Bids, RFIs, Issues, Health and Safety.

But there’s more to unlock here. Mere coordination doesn’t rise to the challenges of a dynamic construction project, where the pieces can change, as can their desired location and their timeline for implementation. Drawing independent elements together in one place isn’t enough. The BIM needs to be a living tool. And that means moving a level higher into cooperation. 

Phase Two: Cooperation

The next tier of the 3 Cs model highlights the fact that the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts. 

With a living building information model, individual stakeholders can make contributions that make the model more valuable. This moves past the basic 3D model to layer on metadata and integrate workflows, timelines, and pricing. 

For the model to become that robust, individual parties need to contribute the information relevant to their project contribution. As they do so, they also need to align what they add with what’s already in the BIM system. That requires cooperation. 

Cooperation Using Toric

Beyond connecting data, it's easy to transform and blend or enrich data in Toric. This data does not need to be updated manually, instead you can build a pre-built data flow and swap out the data, either local sources like spreadsheets or with your integrations. This way, interactive data apps always have the most up to date data across all departments.

As the model keeps all the data properly located and updates it in real-time, stakeholders can communicate and cooperate to ensure everything is feasible structurally, as well as budget and time-wise. 

In short, with this single master model, you drive cooperation and efficiency. As long as everyone uses the BIM model, periodic model coordination meetings should be enough to keep everyone on track and on the same page. 

Phase Three: Collaboration

If building was a predictable process, we could stop at cooperation. But it’s not. Waiting for permits, materials, and subcontractor availability alone is enough to throw a wrench into the works.

To keep things on track and on budget, your team needs to involve others - either in useful end reports or by managing data by leveraging data citizens in analysis.

AEC professionals need to be able to pivot. And because so many moving parts are in play, they need to be able to pivot alongside other stakeholders on the project.

Enter: collaboration. When you reach collaboration, you’ve stopped playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and started making jazz. You can respond to the changes in the project — and you can rest easy knowing other stakeholders are also responding accordingly.

When done well, BIM enables collaboration. It creates a single source of truth that gets updated in real-time. Project stakeholders can add, edit, and delete from the BIM’s shared pool of content as needs arise, keeping everyone on the same page and driving successful collaboration. 

At that point, BIM becomes something well beyond 3D modeling. With the right metadata attached to the model, it becomes your project reflected in the digital world. And that allows people to collaborate — and work out any kinks — in a responsive, low-stakes environment. 

With a collaborative BIM building, you can make sure that when you build in the real world, everything works. That can save various stakeholders hours and hours in submitting and responding to RFIs. And, perhaps more importantly, it can help project owners avoid unnecessary change orders and the potentially thousands of dollars that they cost. 

Dial In Your Three Cs with Toric

When you have a robust BIM model that all parties can easily access and use, you get a single source of truth for your project. You move past coordination, into cooperation. And as stakeholders see what BIM can do for them, you get more buy-in moving forward, moving toward collaboration — and on-time, on-budget projects.

If you want to see how Toric can help you get more out of BIM and drive collaboration on your projects, don’t hesitate to request a demo. We’re here to help you level up your data culture.

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