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What is BIM management? What does the career role involve?

Saumya Verma

10 min read

November 15, 2022


Table of Contents

In this blog, we look at some of the most common questions about BIM management, the roles and responsibilities of a BIM Manager, and how you can be one.

What is BIM?

A building model with the BIM process in a circle around it

BIM, or Building Information Modelling, is a process that helps build a virtual building model of a project prior to physically constructing it. This allows project participants to design, analyse, sequence, and explore a project through a digital environment where it is far less expensive to make changes than in the field during construction, where changes are exponentially more costly.

The process also allows the integration of designers, construction professionals, and various other stakeholders to work together toward a common goal. They can all work on the same project simultaneously, and be informed about all the changes being made by a particular stakeholder on a model.

Everyone is on the same page and continuously updated, virtually, saving valuable time and money. It also allows professionals to keep clients in the loop on new developments and project models. Design and construction activities can therefore unfold in the best way for the project, rather than being locked into separate phases.

What is BIM Management?

A project looked at from four directions by four stakeholders

To understand what BIM management is, let us first understand what project management in architecture is and then draw parallels. British Standards Institute (2010) defines project management as “the planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality, and performance.”

The adoption of BIM into mainstream construction management practice has taken the typical constructs of what it meant to be a project manager and transformed them into a new way of looking at how we work.

What Does BIM Management Consist Of?

The importance of management lies in the very definition of BIM. One can discern key themes of “collaboration,” “coordination,” “communication,” “exchange” and “collation”. BIM managers thus occupy a central role in the development process driving successful completion of projects.

At the project level, BIM Management involves the following three key aspects (British Standards Institute, 2013) :

Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR)

Figure showing the relationship between EIR and BEP

The role of the BIM manager in developing the EIR is crucial. The EIR refers to a document that defines the uses of and requirements for BIM from the Project Sponsor’s perspective - answering questions like who, what, why, how, and when the various processes of BIM will be performed. After the EIR has been defined, a Project Implementation Plan (PIP) pertaining to BIM implementation is prepared. PIP describes the project team members’ information technology and human resources capability to deliver the EIR.

BIM Execution Plan (BEP)

The BIM manager plays a crucial role in the development of the BIM Execution Plan that defines how the team will deliver the EIR. The BEP consists of the following key items:
  • BIM use cases for each stage of a project and its integration with project management functions,

  • BIM deliverables for each BIM use case,

  • Model author and users for each BIM deliverables,

  • Model elements, level of details and attributes for each BIM deliverable,

  • Process for BIM creation, maintenance, release and collaboration for each BIM use case, and

  • Hardware and software environment.

Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP)

This is a plan listing all the information deliverables of a project including models, drawings, specifications, equipment, and schedules. An MIDP identifies when project information is to be prepared, by whom, and using what protocols and procedures. With the help of the MIDP, the project manager can define the overall project schedule and its linkage to BIM deliverables.

BIM Manager

five circles describing the various job roles in BIM

To understand the role of a BIM Manager, let us first understand the BIM hierarchy of roles. Understanding this workflow would help you understand the different professionals’ roles and responsibilities.

The professionals in the workflow include:

  • BIM Modeller: The BIM modeller is the person who actually makes the model.

  • BIM Specialist: The BIM specialist brings input to the model. He (or she) has the technical knowledge that needs to be brought into the model and his/her respective field.

  • BIM Coordinator: BIM Coordinator develops and maintains BIM protocols and Execution Plans while coordinating work information flows. A BIM Coordinator reports directly to project leadership but is also overseen by the BIM Manager.

  • BIM Manager: A BIM manager is the project lead and the primary point of contact for the various BIM coordinators within a project. His/her end responsibility is to deliver a qualitative model (on time) which can be used for the defined goals of the BIM and in that way support the construction process. He/she structures the entire project and performs the several project management tasks mentioned above.

Roles and Responsibilities

Table explaining BIM manager roles and responsibilities

It is important for the BIM manager to understand how their BIM and project management roles spread across the project life cycle. This will ensure that the BIM manager is asking the right questions and confirming that activities and functions are implemented at the right time by the right set of project team members. The table given above lists the BIM roles of a project manager linked to the project life cycle.

Amongst his/her varied roles include:
  • Set the LOD (Level of Details - an industry standard that defines how the 3D geometry of the building model can achieve different levels of refinement),

  • Define the modelling environment (what models will be made, how will they be referring/linked to each other, define server setup, write down communication protocols, what standards are used, how will information be sorted and organised in the model, etc),

  • In conjunction with the construction team, the BIM Manager will setup a time schedule for output deliveries,
  • Host BIM team meetings,
  • Organise coordination sessions between the disciplines (set up clash reports in advance, however this can be delegated to a coordinator),
  • Coordinate between different BIM coordinators.

Skills and Certifications Required

The knowledge, skills, and experience required to become a BIM Manager include:
  • A degree qualification in architecture, engineering and a member of a professional institute

  • Certification of BIM competency

  • Proficiency in the application of Revit

  • Experience in delivering training to technical and non-technical people
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office

  • Ability to foster a culture of knowledge sharing and continuous improvement
  • Ability to communicate effectively, maintaining relationships at all levels, internally and externally.
  • Good organisation skills and an ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • An interest in project leadership

Want to advance your career in the field of BIM? Check out: 6 BIM Certifications You Can Get for Career Advancement

BIM Manager Salary

Graph showing BIM Manager salary

One can become a BIM Manager after 5-7 years of experience and get a minimum salary of ₹75,000/month. In relatively small firms, BIM Managers would be the expert BIM designer. They coordinate with other designers and make them follow the industry standards of modelling. In MNCs (Multinational Companies), BIM Managers are recruited specifically for this job.

For more information about the salaries of the various BIM professionals, check out: Salaries and Career Growth of BIM Professionals in India (Updated 2022)

Difference between a BIM Manager and a Project Manager

It is easy to get confused about the difference between a BIM Manager and a Project Manager, as the tasks of the roles overlap.

The importance of the Project Manager lies in the design, the calculation, the site planning, etc. The role of BIM Manager, on the other hand, involves the execution of the project, control, quality, leadership tasks, etc. To put it simply, architects and engineers design, calculate, and generate the project (overseen by the Project Manager), and BIM helps to make it a reality and deliver it (overseen by the BIM Manager).

BIM can also help in the design process, and that is why many Project Managers are expected to have a good understanding of BIM these days.

Growth Prospects

A man and a robot looking at a monitor screen

The future of BIM Managers is exciting, and can be categorized into three important areas:

Lead BIM Implementation

BIM Managers must play a proactive role in BIM implementation at both the project level and at the organisation level. This will drive holistic BIM implementation and help in attaining project-level and organisation-level goals set for BIM implementation. One major obstacle that BIM Managers need to ponder upon is resistance to change. Change is difficult for everyone, and BIM Managers need an empathetic and solution-oriented approach about it.

Stay Updated With New-Age Technology

BIM managers need to understand the new skills and competencies to fulfil their roles as the use of BIM becomes more pervasive in the industry. This will have a direct impact on the educational and training needs of the industry.

On the brink of this technological revolution, BIM will undoubtedly be at the forefront and BIM Managers - the leadership driving this change. The importance of this humongous role cannot be overstated. Their value and salaries in the industry are only expected to grow.

We hope this blog gave you the insight you needed to accelerate your career in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry.

Novatr offers courses on the most in-demand skills in the AEC industry– BIM Professional Course – both taught by industry experts with years of real-world experience working in the industry. You will also get to work on real-life projects, which will help you get started on your journey upwards to become a BIM Manager.

Head over to our Resources page for more insights on AEC careers, software & tools, and industry trends!