Quality– Q7: What control measures do I need to impose or have been imposed?

Back in 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology released a report where it was calculated that about 40% of an engineer’s time is wasted searching for a validating information. If we can’t trust something, then it is of considerably lower value than if we can. The way we generate trust with BIM is by ensuring standards are put in place to impose quality and therefore allow everyone who uses that information to be able to trust it.

The quality of that deliverable relies on the overall competencies of the entire team and in the previous question we defined what those levels are, we must now look at how to educate them both in terms of skills and technical training.

The other control methods are delivered through the contractual obligations of certain standards, how do they impact on the quality of the deliverable and how do we enforce both quality and security on our project.

These final considerations will help us to deliver a briefing to the various parties to commission the digital asset at the same time as the physical asset. This will help us to finalise the BIM Execution Plan (BEP) and lead to signing the contract with the client.

Once done, the IM team should embark on a round of on-boarding sessions with the entire supply chain with a view to delivering what is contained in the BEP. 

Finally, once the project is complete, they should produce a case study of the project, so it can be used to support future bids and also form a library of template projects to streamline the process in the future.

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Digital Decommissioning

At some point in the lifecycle of an asset there will come a time when its function is no longer needed or more likely the physical thing that is fulfilling that function is no longer performing economically. At this stage we need to look at decommissioning. Replacing, augmenting, reselling, recycling or disposing of a physical asset has always been the job of the maintenance teams. This will of course become a project in its own right and can be dealt with that way.

But what of the digital asset, that is sitting in multiple databases, connected as a dependence and interdependence on many other digital assets?

This digital asset needs to have the same care an attention taken to ensure that any redundant information is either removed or marked as inactive.

This may be something as simple as the performance information on a pump. When the pump is changed for something new, the function and performance criteria might remain the same, but is the data collected against the old piece of equipment now useless? The old performance information needs to be referenced to see that the new pump is performing equal or better than the old one, but it cannot be kept in the same place, as it refers to a different piece of equipment!

Therefore, in the Asset Information Model, there needs to be a way of flagging up decommissioned information and if that function no long exists removing it altogether.

From a security perspective, at the end of each project, where instances of asset information are stored outside of the AIM, we must also look at how to decommission it. The same form of decisions arises, as to whether to dispose, recycle or resale. The last two options come with their own difficulties but can also add a layer of value and monetary reward to the holding organisation.

The problem of recycling and reselling information comes from ownership and what the client paid for. If they have paid for an outcome, then I would argue that anything developed during the project is owned by the delivery partners and as long as it is anonymised it could be sold or reused many times over. This could provide the delivery partner some additional profits and incentives for delivering digital assets.

The correct disposal of information that cannot be anonymised for resale or recycling is paramount to prevent its erroneous use by someone thinking it is still ‘live’ or for those that wish the asset or organisation harm. The contract must state how this is handled and the liabilities for the action.