Information integration and management through the design and construction phases of a project life cycle

Christopher T. Brokaw



Information management is a key aspect of successful construction projects. Having inaccurate measurements and conflicting data can lead to costly mistakes, and vague quantities can ruin estimates and schedules. Building information modeling (BIM) augments a 3D model with a wide variety of information, which reduces many sources of error and can detect conflicts before they occur. Because new technology is often more complex, it can be difficult to effectively integrate it with existing business practices.

In this paper, we will answer two questions: How can BIM add value to construction projects? and What lessons can be learned from other companies that use BIM or other similar technology? Previous research focused on the technology as if it were simply a tool, observing problems that occurred while integrating new technology into existing practices. Our research instead looks at the flow of information through a company and its network, seeing all the actors as part of an ecosystem. Building upon this idea, we proposed the metaphor of an information supply chain to illustrate how BIM can add value to a construction project. This paper then concludes with two case studies. The first case study illustrates a failure in the flow of information that could have prevented by using BIM. The second case study profiles a leading design firm that has used BIM products for many years and shows the real benefits of using this program.