W25_SJP_Knowledge Enhancement for GPC ELPC Examinations (Part 4)

Issue Identification and Appraisal

As mentioned in the Blog 22, the final few blogs will look at areas where my knowledge is lacking and needs to be enhanced in order to increase my opportunities for be in good standing for doing the final examination.

The GPC’s self-assessment questionnaire uncovered a few deficient knowledgeable areas that need addressing. In order to better understand the subject areas development of blogs to assist learning about the areas is a way to better absorb the content. The final few blogs will all have the same problem statement, “What subject areas need knowledge advancement prior to undertaking the GPC Expert Level Project Controls examination?”

Feasible Alternatives

The deficient subject areas can be termed feasible alternatives, and these are:

  • Monte Carlo Simulation – covered in Blog 23
  • Configuration Management – covered in Blog 24
  • BIM Modelling
  • Project Forensics
  • Stakeholder Engagement – covered in Blog 22
  • Contract Selection
  • Management Competencies

The above list is based on the results from the GPC’s self-assessment which was performed in May’2017 and is a summary of seven areas that need enhancement in the coming weeks. Hopefully a blog can be developed for each item during the remaining weeks the course runs. For Blog 25, the subject will be “Building Information Modelling’ (BIM), a subject that the author has not had any involvement in so far during the 35+years in the Oil & Gas Industry.

Develop the Outcomes for each

Each remaining blog will develop an outcome for each ‘Feasible alternative’ (FA) subject as the subject gets reviewed, it will not identify an outcome for the other FA’s in that blog.

BIM crosses multiple modules in the GPCCAR, M03-4 – “Creating the Work Breakdown Structure”, M07-1 – “Introduction to Managing Planning & Scheduling”, M08-6 – “Developing the Contractors Cost Estimate (Bottom Up)” and M10-3 – “Managing Change – The Owner’s Perspective”. Each module outlines the BIM as one of the Tools & Techniques that can be adopted. Certainly, reading through the BIM sections there are some great visuals that allow the project controls practitioners to better understand how the schedule can interact with a 3D model of the facility to show progress or areas where the schedule may be vulnerable.

Below is the list of items that this blog will address.

Table 1 – BIM items in GPCCAR Self-assessment

Selection Criteria

The criteria for this blog is found in several areas in the GPCCAR, as well as some online research;

  • M03-4 – “Creating the Work Breakdown Structure”
  • M07-1 – “Introduction to Managing Planning & Scheduling”
  • M08-6 – “Developing the Contractors Cost Estimate (Bottom Up)”
  • M10-3 – “Managing Change – The Owner’s Perspective”.

Analysis and Comparison of the Alternatives

What is BIM and how can it assist?

BIM is a process for creating and managing information on a project across the project lifecycle. The BIM is the key output of the process which should include the digital description of every aspect of the built asset. This model draws on information assembled and updated at key stages on a project, creating a digital model which enables people to interact and optimize their actions, resulting in a whole life value of the asset. Currently the UK construction industry is undergoing its digital revolution with BIM seen as a way of working. BIM is information modelling and information management in a team environment with all team members working to the same standards, allowing the combined efforts of people, process and technology to determine an optimized model.

BIM brings together all of the information about every project component in one place, making it possible for anyone to access that information for any purpose, e.g. effective integration of different aspects of the design, reducing the risk of mistakes or discrepancies thus minimizing abortive costs. BIM data can be used to illustrate the entire project life-cycle from inception to demolition, and by signaling any conflict detection, prevents errors creeping in at the various project stages.

Figure 1 – BIM Benefits

Figure 2 below provides a brief list of available BIM software and providers. There are quite a few packages and providers covering a full range of disciplines; architecture, sustainability, structures, MEP, construction and facilities management.

Figure 2 – List of BIM Software and Providers

  • Architecture
  1. Autodesk Revit Architecture
  2. Graphisoft ArchiCAD
  3. Nemetschek Allplan Architecture
  4. Gehry Technologies – Digital Project Designer
  5. Nemetschek Vectorworks Architect
  6. Bentley Architecture
  7. 4MSA IDEA Architectural Design (IntelliCAD)
  8. CADSoft Envisioneer
  9. Softtech Spirit
  10. RhinoBIM (BETA)
  • Sustainability
  1. Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
  2. Autodesk Green Building Studio
  3. Graphisoft EcoDesigner
  4. IES Solutions Virtual Environment VE-Pro
  5. Bentley Tas Simulator
  6. Bentley Hevacomp
  7. DesignBuilder
  • Structures
  1. Autodesk Revit Structure
  2. Bentley Structural Modeler
  3. Bentley RAM, STAAD and ProSteel
  4. Tekla Structures
  5. CypeCAD
  6. Graytec Advance Design
  7. StructureSoft Metal Wood Framer
  8. Nemetschek Scia
  9. 4MSA Strad and Steel
  10. Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis
  • MEP
  1. Autodesk Revit MEP
  2. Bentley Hevacomp Mechanical Designer
  3. 4MSA FineHVAC + FineLIFT + FineELEC + FineSANI
  4. Gehry Technologies – Digital Project MEP Systems Routing
  5. CADMEP (CADduct / CADmech)
  • Construction (Simulation, Estimating and Const. Analysis)
  1. Autodesk Navisworks
  2. Solibri Model Checker
  3. Vico Office Suite
  4. Vela Field BIM
  5. Bentley ConstrucSim
  6. Tekla BIMSight
  7. Glue (by Horizontal Systems)
  8. Synchro Professional
  9. Innovaya
  • Facility Managment
  1. Bentley Facilities
  2. FM:Systems FM:Interact
  3. Vintocon ArchiFM (For ArchiCAD)
  4. Onuma System
  5. EcoDomus

Now, let’s look at the GPCCAR sections.

Item 1 – BIM impacts on project Controls (GPCCAR Module

Construction 3D models provide stakeholders/shareholders (Clients, contractors, etc.,) with a better understanding of the project by providing a virtual representation, allowing identification of potential conflicts or design errors compared to the traditional 2D plans and profiles. BIM creates multi-dimensional WBS elements, BoM’s/BoQ’s as well as the planning work packages, these are automated from the system, reducing the need for the project controls practitioner to perform these tasks, and changing the practitioners focus to creating CPM schedules to keep cost and productivity databases updated, as well as analyzing the feasibility of the BIM created schedules and cost estimates. So, in the future the practitioners focus will shift from the creating side of things to analyzing and improving the BIM system outputs, along with set-up, maintaining and updating the BIM databases (GPCCAR includes Module 11 – Managing Project Databases as an introduction for the practitioners of the future.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process which fully links the design documents, (3D BIM) CPM Scheduling (4D BIM), Cost Estimating (5D BIM) and in some cases, Risk Simulation software databases (6D BIM). 4D modelling allows stakeholders to visualize construction over the project duration to identify potential spatial / temporal conflicts in schedule. Adding a cost component to the process creates a 5th dimension, making a 5D model. Such 5D engineered models allow stakeholders to evaluate costs and model cash flows for each phase of construction.

This section is then split into 4 parts, part 1 shows commences with the BIM system turning 2D drawings into 3D drawings allowing a better understanding of the what the project will look like. As the 3D BIM becomes further developed the database is then linked to the CPM Scheduling database and the Cost Estimating database. Linking these is the challenge as all three databases need to have the same coding structure (assuming all three databases can interact with each other in the first instance – this is key driver to ensure that any BIM system set-up has inter-relation databases. Part 2 discusses more on the 4D/5D advising that this is being done in “real time”, this where the author is not sure how the BIM will act as it mentions that engineers can do what-if scenarios allowing key decision makers to experiment – unsure what impacts this may have to equipment and material selections if they have already been purchased, but in theory the system seems practical. Part 3 delves into the Risk assessment side of the project by now using 6D with the introduction of Monte Carlo simulation. Part 4 completes the section by bringing in the major challenges ahead that practitioners will face in how these databased can be developed and maintained and again cites the standardization of coding as being key. It then closes with the conundrum as to how a Company’s current system can be adapted to compliment the new systems, translate the current system, or adopt a new system, either way, there is a lot of work ahead facing practitioners.

Item 2 – Working with BIM modelers to integrate data (GPCCAR Module 07.1)

The intersection of Planning and Scheduling and BIM is known as “4D Modeling” and is the alignment of the 3D elements of the BIM model with the schedule, allowing duration and erection sequencing allocations from the planning and scheduling database. It is going to be key for the practitioner to be able to assign the same level of detail as the 3D model has, and this is seen as being technologically dependent. The section highlights an area that shows that the equipment room doors are not large enough for the equipment that will be arriving (the author has seen this sort of issue on a project many years ago), but the schedule says the room will be complete before the equipment arrives. These are the sort of issues that can be identified using the BIM system.

Figure 3 – 4D Illustration from the GPCCAR

Item 3 – Analysis of BIM Generated BoQs (GPCCAR Module 08.6)

As BIM seems to be gaining traction, the days of performing manual or even digitized quantity take offs is probably coming to a close, except for the smallest of projects. With BIM, as the design is created, the BoM/BoQ is automatically created. As with any computer program, the old maxim “garbage in/garbage out” applies and it still behooves the contractor to perform their own due diligence by random sampling some of the major components just to see how reliable, accurate and precise the BoM/BoQ are.

Item 4 – Using BIM outputs as inputs to Project controls Processes (GPCCAR Module 10.3)

BIM is a fully integrated model which follows the creation of a physical asset through its entire lifespan, from concept through to the eventual demolition or repurposing. BIM is going to have a profound impact on the practice of project controls as the design databases are “hot linked” to the CPM scheduling (4D) and cost estimating (5D) databases which means as the structure is designed and built in three dimensions, the CPM schedule and cost estimate are being generated at the same time. While this will unlikely reduce the role the project control professional has played in terms of quantity take offs and creating CPM schedules, it will open opportunities to create, update and manage the cost and productivity databases which are necessary to make 4D and 5D BIM work.

Figure 4 – BIM Illustration from the GPCCAR

Selection of Preferred Alternative

There are no preferred alternatives in this case, all 4 items listed above are needed to enhance current knowledgebase ahead of the GPC ELPC Examination.

Monitoring Post Evaluation Performance

Post evaluation monitoring will be to see if what has been provided above has been fully understood and useful to assist successful passing of the examination, and then used on future projects to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of what a Project Control Practitioner provides to the project team, and decision-making process.



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