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Paper w78-2010-40:
Evaluating the Value of Early Planning for Building Information Modeling using Lean Theory

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Craig R. Dubler, John I. Messner

Evaluating the Value of Early Planning for Building Information Modeling using Lean Theory

Abstract: Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides a means for owners, designers, contractors, and operators to generate, organize and use detailed information throughout a project lifecycle. An important aspect to the success of BIM is the process in which information is exchanged between team members. In a theory, information should be both accessible and usable, when required. Because the AEC industry is project centered, and several companies work collaboratively towards the design and construction of a facility, the availability and accuracy of information can become constrained. BIM has the potential to improve the effectiveness of building design and construction; however, if the information exchange process is not planned early in the project, the benefits of using the authored data may be mitigated by process waste. This paper serves to evaluate the value associated with early team planning for BIM on two projects being constructed on the Penn State University campus; one which implemented a BIM planning procedure in the design phase. The rationale behind lean theory is to increase efficiency by eliminating waste, consequently increasing value. Therefore, lean principles were modified to establish categories of building information exchange waste. During the case study process actual information exchanges were captured using a process mapping technique. Once the information exchange process was documented, the data was analyzed using the seven types of waste: overproduction, inventory, extra processing, motivation, defects, waiting, and transportation. When applied to information management, these concepts provide a broad framework for an effective process for standardization. Future work includes analyzing the project and team traits for relationships with the information exchange waste. This information will provide additional insight to the value of early planning for Building Information Modeling by documenting the economic benefits that may be achieved by the industry if the information exchange process is developed early in design.

Keywords: BIM, Lean Thinking, Information Exchange, Knowledge Management

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