Employer's information requirements
First published 8th April 2015, last updated 2nd July 2015.
Working to the level-2 BIM process undoubtedly brings huge benefits to the supply-chain on any construction project. However, ultimately, BIM must be about better outcomes for the client. It should be about providing the information to satisfy the client's requirements. In this article Tina Pringle looks at how the Toolkit can support the preparation of Employer's Information Requirements.
A set of Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) is a key document for those working to the level-2 BIM process. It is intended to be part of the wider tender document set for the procurement of the Design Team and the Constructor.
The core purpose of an EIR is to document the information requirements and also to establish the information management requirements. This document forms the basis from which the bidders can then respond with their outline BIM Execution Plan (BEP). The BEP demonstrates how, if successful, the bidders will deliver and manage this digital information throughout the project.
Figure 1 below shows the suggested structure of an EIR as published on the HM Government’s BIM Task Group website.
|1.1 Technical||1.2 Management||1.3 Commercial|
1.1.1 Software platforms
1.1.2 Data exchange format
1.1.4 Level of definition
1.2.2 Roles and responsibilities
1.2.3 Planning the work and data segregation
1.2.5 Coordination and clash detection
1.2.6 Collaboration process
1.2.7 Health and safety/CDM
1.2.8 Systems performance
1.2.9 Compliance plan
1.2.10 Delivery strategy for asset information
1.3.1 Data drops and project deliverables
1.3.2 Client’s strategic purposes
1.3.3 BIM-specific competence assessment
Figure 1 – Structure of an EIR
A template EIR with embedded guidance may be downloaded for free from the BIM Task Group website. This may then be adapted to form project-specific requirements for each of the sub-sections.
The NBS BIM Toolkit can be used to generate the content for sub-section 1.1.4 of an EIR. This defines the specific information requirements that are aligned to the project stages. This will be the information that the bidders and then project team subsequently build on through the digital plan of work.
Figure 2 shows typical tasks in the Toolkit, the user may adapt these to the specific project needs. This information can then be exported into a digital format for re-use, and also a Microsoft Office format for ease of insertion into an EIR document. Figures 3 and 4 below demonstrate this process further.
Figure 2 – Exporting the information from the digital plan of work
Figure 3 – The tasks in MS Excel
Figure 4 – These tasks formatted to fit within a completed EIR
A number of fields can be associated with a task in order that users can produce documentation aligned to the PAS 1192-2 process. A task can therefore refer back to an original ‘plain language question’ from the client. The specific employer’s information requirement may be associated with a task and this may then be classified using the document classification field from COBie. It is the intention to add the Uniclass 2015 classification from the ‘Form of Information’ table in a future release.
Figure 5 below shows a simple relationship between a ‘plain language question’, a ‘specific employer’s information requirement’ and a task. Figure 6 below shows a complex relationship between a plain language question and a deliverable.
Figure 5 – A simple one-to-one link between PLQ and Task
Figure 6 – The far more complex plain language question to answer
The template projects contain sample data that can be amended to suit a specific project. In addition, example template ‘plain language questions’ may also be downloaded for free from the BIM Task Group Labs website.
The role of the BIM Toolkit is not to pre-link each potential plain language question with specific tasks and deliverables. However, it does give an excellent base framework through the combination of the digital plan of work tool and the associated level of definition templates.
Examples of how the NBS BIM Toolkit has helped to deliver BIM Level 2 on projects in various sectors across the industry are available on thenbs.com. The case studies show how the digital plan of work was exported to form part of the employer’s information requirements.
Many clients and client advisers are currently developing their own EIRs to match the level-2 BIM work flow. The opinion of a selection of these from both the private and the public sector is given below.
"From a client's point of view BIM must be about procuring the digital information that satisfies the objectives that will make your business prosper. The information requirements, aligned to the project stages should be all aligned to your clear strategic objectives. You must also include your supply chain in your planning as part of this process as they will ultimately be delivering against this.
BIM Level-2 is a set of standard processes and tools that have a clear focus around data procurement. The start of this process on any project is the preparation and maintenance of a well thought through set of Employer's Information Requirements."
"As Asda’s BIM strategy evolves to ensure maximum data efficiency within the construction model and also to facilitate further data flow and integration with wider business stakeholders it has become clear that the Employers Information Requirements is an absolutely vital document. In order to articulate Level 2 BIM requirements from a construction workflow perspective and also general data requests to allow further interaction with other business data sets the EIR is the communication tool to facilitate this."
“For a client to derive maximum value from the BIM process, it is vital that they understand and can articulate their information needs in a clear and unambiguous way. If you look at projects where BIM is perceived as falling short of expectations, you will often find this was due to unshared assumptions on deliverables, technical requirements and commercial aspects. Being able to articulate these needs consistently and clearly is key to success for any client.”