BIM Standards with the AIA® E202

The Building Information Modeling Protocol Exhibit Document E202 was developed by the American Institute of Architects in 2008 and is an extremely important document when working with Building Information Model (BIM) technology.  I have previously blogged about the Level of Development portion and its impact, but there is another aspect of the document which is also very important.  A portion of the document addresses the BIM standards that are to be utilized when creating and sharing the model.  This portion is very important as it creates continuity for the project and provides the owner with the format that they desire, if applicable.  It can also have a big impact on productivity.

Over the years, CAD standards have typically been used by companies developing the drawing files.  Some owners or primary project coordinators were diligent about establishing and enforcing CAD standards, and some were not.  Those CAD standards may have been enforced with other project team members, but the reality was that each company working on drawing files for a project often ended up utilizing their own CAD standards.  This created complications when all of the project drawings were assembled in one location.

The E202 includes a section that establishes the BIM standards and formally makes the standards part of the contract documents.

Article 2 Protocol of the document includes 2.3 Model Requirements and 2.4 Model Management, which primarily define the BIM standards for the project.  Section 2.3.1 Model Standard states that “the Model shall be developed in accordance with the following standard”.  If an organization has established BIM standards, the BIM standards document can be referenced at this point and attached to the contract documents.  The referenced document needs to be dated with the date referenced to eliminate confusion with future document versions.  If there is no BIM standards document to reference, then the standards need to be established at this point.  Some of the information (using Autodesk® Revit as an example) that should be addressed in detail includes, but is not limited to:

  • File naming
  • Family naming
  • Level of detail expected in families
  • Parameter naming and format
  • View naming and what is show in the view
  • Workset naming and what is included in the workset
  • File linking methods for various file types
  • Exporting methods
  • Text, dimension, and other annotation standards
  • Project units
  • Lineweights
  • Line Patterns
  • Detailing process

(The above standards information should be part of any organization that utilizes BIM technology.)

Section 2.4 of the E202 outlines the requirements for managing the model and addresses more of the process side of the BIM standards.  This includes who is responsible for setting standards for both the initial and ongoing responsibilities of the model.  The information specified in this section will likely incorporate and/or refer back to the BIM standards that are established in Section 2.3.  The E202 lists some different items that should be addressed, so I won’t list those items.  Since different projects will likely be of different sizes and project requirements, this information will likely change somewhat on a project by project basis as different processes may need to be utilized.  It is important that everyone involved in a project be considered when establishing the process standards and that the processes truly fit the needs of the specific project.

While some owners know very little about BIM other than they have heard that they should ask for it, some owners have developed extensive BIM standards that must be utilized.  If the owner has BIM standards, they must be incorporated into the E202 in the Article 2 section.  These standards can have a dramatic impact on the productivity and effort required to produce the model for the project.  It is very important that all project team members be aware of these BIM standards from the very beginning of a project.

The E202 document needs to be utilized regardless of the BIM software being used.  It is a valuable document for all parties involved in the BIM process as it establishes expectations for everyone.  It is imperative that careful consideration be given to the document each time it is used on a project.

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