BIM: customizing the standards

Alexandros Kallegias *1

*1 Architectural Association School of Architecture


BIM affiliated software is gradually gaining popularity. Offices in different countries have developed sialized teams to work in a BIM framework in order to deal with the complexity of gathering and managing building information. The paper aims to address a key area in relation to the growing implementation of BIM in current practices. If we successfully manage to reach universal BIM guidelines and procedures for design & built projects, hence the constant implementation of building standards, what would prevent the standardization of the profession and potentially the gradual levelling of the architectural design?

The question entails how a well-defined system of standardized processes for design & build projects may be practically applied in offices which are characterized by their bespoke design and workflow. This paper will discuss and evaluate the customizing of the standardized BIM approach in one of the most recent projects by Zaha Hadid Architects. The project in discussion is the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station which when completed will serve as a key interchange on the new Riyadh Metro network as well as the terminus for passengers to the airport.

While the term BIM (Building Information Modelling) has been in use since 1970’s, its’ practical implementation took place almost two decades later and is still in the process of maturing. In the race of becoming excellent in design software it is crucial to preserve one’s ability of communicating the design intent beyond the technical obstacles that one had to overcome. Therefore, all major and detailed aspects of Level 2 BIM projects require a commonly agreed execution plan. It is imperative to establish clear and complete protocols and guidelines before one embarks on implementing BIM on architectural projects. Compared to the enduring battle between computer aided design and hand drafting, the argument for BIM implementation has to surmount an even greater series of deep-rooted and often archaic work methods and dispositions. This involves educating equally the office colleagues, the different consultants and clients.

The task of bringing clients, consultants and colleagues in agreement requires a certain level of communication skills beyond the technical knowledge. Lack of communication and miscommunications can often cause various project delays and difficulties. Therefore it is necessary that all BIM standards which are to be implemented are well established at the beginning of every project. In this regard it is equally necessary to provide all possible information to the client in order to create a healthy working relationship. This also helps to establish a clear understanding of the different stages of the project; it can provide insight for future project parameters and needs as well as set and manage expectations. The aim of this paper is to examine all BIM-related aspects of the KAFD project described in conjunction to the points raised.