How BIM technology can transform Quality Management in Construction Industry

BIM Technology is becoming more and more a reality in the construction industry every day.

It’s definitely the most attractive innovation we’ve seen in the industry since the CAD technology swept away pencils, rulers and rapidographs.

We have all probably heard about the ways that BIM can transform the Design, Cost Controlling, Procurement and Planning of a project.

Download the Inspection & Test Plan Template (ITP) for Construction Projects – in Excel Format

But what about Quality Management?

This is how BIM can transform quality management on site:

1. NCRs could be on the BIM model as one more layer of additional info/data

It would be extremely useful to have a visual representation of the NCR status (and related links) anytime you click on an element on the BIM model. Everything would be connected at one place. Procedures related NCRs or NCRs not relevant to the final product could be handled in a similar way but on a different layer maybe. These NCRs could also be linked to the planning database in case the next construction phase is directly related to their closure. A real holistic solution.

 2. Inspection and Test plans (ITPs) could be on the BIM model as an additional layer linked to the project’s programme

The ITPs could be directly linked to the model as additional layers of data providing information regarding the progress of the inspections (pass or fail) , approvals of Project Managers (Client’s representatives), links to relevant NCRs and other evidence. Links could be made to the schedule as well. The whole database could be easily managed through an extensive use of tablets for the inspections/snagging on site.

 3. Laboratory testing results could be added on the model

These items could be also linked to NCRsITPs and of course to the final completion packages.

 4. Completion/Certification Packages could just be a matter of some clicks

If the as-built data have been correctly uploaded in the model along with all the Inspection records and lab results then it could just be a matter of some clicks to generate completion and handover packages for final delivery of the Project File to the Client.

 5. Certificates of materials/ delivery tickets and other data could also be linked with the items on the database as pdf files

6. Document Control could work only through the BIM Model

Method Statements, Risk Assessments, ITPs, Material Approvals, Reports, Minutes, Inspection Records, Field Change Reports, RFIs, inspections Requests and generally all the paperwork and approvals of a construction project could simply be there.

Maybe all of the above sound today like a sci-fi movie or a “Simcity-type” game but bear in mind that back in the 50’s or 60’s Engineers couldn’t even imagine what CAD technology is doing today.

There are many solutions on the market today that work in a similar way but nothing really holistic, user-friendly and practical up to now.

Also, the data entry is one more critical point.

Who will be responsible to upload these data and how?

Will it be a centralised Document Control Dept.  or every party who is producing these data (Designer, Site Engineers, Laboratory, Inspectors, Subcontractors etc)?

This is where it becomes tricky…

Will the Management give enough time through proper planning for such a tidy solution to be applied or we will end up adding work load to the Engineers, Document Controllers and Inspectors with extra tasks and last minute submissions/approvals as usual?

At the end of the day, will we end up reducing the waste or we will phave one more extra headache and obviously extra cost on site ?

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Pavlos Inglesis
I am a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng-MICE) and a Chartered Quality Professional (MCQI CQP) working in the construction industry for about 20 years. My specialty is Quality Control and Quality Assurance Management in Construction Projects. I have worked on projects in the Middle East, and Greece and am now based in the UK.

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