CanBIM develops national standards framework

December 10, 2014

The Canada BIM Council (CanBIM) is developing a framework to launch Canada’s first program to provide a national standard and recognized levels of certification for companies using Building Information Modeling (BIM). "The long term goal of CanBIM is to advocate for BIM being more prevalent in projects or a requirement to a certain extent," said Pietro Ferrari, CanBIM Research and Education Committee director and chair.

"In light of that, what we have begun to do from the bottom rung up is we have launched the certification for individuals, so the individual gets benchmarked to a certain competency. But, what we would like to do is morph that into a certification for companies, architectural, engineering, consulting, construction, owners, operators —anybody that's got anything to do with the building can become BIM certified on certain levels.

"Ferrari made this statement during a seminar at Construct Canada on Dec. 3, which was entitled The Continuing Evolution of BIM in the Canadian Construction Market: Best Practices and the Latest Trends.

BIM involves the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. It uses files, which can be exchanged or networked to support decision-making.

This makes it possible for BIM software to be used in the design, construction, operatation and maintenance of physical infrastructures.

"The intention would be the companies would require a certain number of CanBIM accredited individuals working in certain capacities, but also demonstrates that their projects have been done using multi-discipline BIM either in construction, or perhaps they are a facility manager who uses it as well," said Ferrari.

The ideal situation, said Ferrari, would be for governments involved in the procurement of public buildings to develop BIM prequalification requirements for people or companies interested in bidding for design and construction work.

These requirements would be based on the government's formal recognition that BIM has validity in terms of saving money on the design, construction and operation of public buildings.

"We are hoping as CanBIM to be the organization that sets the benchmark for companies working at the top of their game in BIM," said Ferrari.

"So perhaps that catches the eye of government and makes companies competitive on an even playing field. The goal is to help integrate BIM more into projects, whether it is a private or a public owner.

"Ferrari said Canada is falling behind a lot of countries in terms of BIM integration into their companies.

For example, the United Kingdom government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM as a minimum by 2016, which includes all project and asset information, documentation and electronic data.

This requirement will apply to all centrally procured government projects as outlined in the Government Construction Strategy.

To support the requirement, the BIM capabilities of companies will be evaluated or prequalified prior to engagement.

This prequalification process is designed to ensure companies can work within a project using a common data environment and that they have the appropriate documentation policy, systems and procedures in place.

Common data standards for BIM allows information to be entered into electronic systems and then made instantaneously available to all stakeholders through information technology networks.In addition, prequalification will make sure companies have the capability of developing and working to a BIM execution plan and have arrangements for training employees in BIM related skills.

According to Ferrari, CanBIM is currently structuring the BIM certification program for companies, which includes what the different levels and requirements will be.He said CanBIM is aggressively pursuing the goal of having a draft framework in place in February 2015 for the next CanBIM regional session being held in Montreal.

CanBIM is planning to launch the new program at before or at their next AGM in the fall.The foundation of CanBIM's proposed BIM certification program for companies is a new certification program for individuals that was launched in September.

The program for industry professionals consists of progressive levels of certification, each with their own set of criteria and benchmarks.