Saturday, 2 June 2012

BIM Protocols and Standards - Introduction

I recently had to write standards for a very large healthcare project. I gathered up all the other consultants documents with various standards, protocols and execution plans. The amount of information is overwhelming for a subject that is difficult for many to grasp. I find most standards are not explicit enough to be considered a working document as terms such as "Develop clear guidelines" are too ambiguous. Who should develop the guidelines and what does clear really mean? Some order and also simplicity is required. 

There are numerous standards on BIM available on the internet which you can download and use freely but none that I have found are really ready to put to use immediatly on a project. You will find very good advice in some of these standards but unleashing any of these on your design team will cause confusion as these standards are written for BIM Managers to interpret.

For day to day working documents, my personal opinion is that there should be two BIM documents. The first which I will call the BIM Protocol will be the document shared amongst the wider design and possibly construction team if the project has reached construction stages. The BIM protocol can also become and addendum to standard contracts. 

The second document is the BIM Standard which is relevant to your organization only. I think this keeps things nice and simple as the wider design team shouldn't care about how you archive your models and linked files, this should be left in the BIM Standard only.

I will begin by developing the BIM Protocol as this covers the collaboration processes. The BIM Standard should avoid duplicating or overlapping with the BIM Protocol but should rather support it. In a series of posts, I will build up a BIM Protocol that with a minimal amount of editing, you can implement on a project.

Necessary Disclaimer:
While I strive to make the content as accurate as possible, I make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the following information. Following any advice here is done entirely at your own risk, with no liability to this site, or the site owner.

Now that is out of the way, lets begin. The BIM Protocol will be broken down into the following sections:

Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Project Information
Section 3 - BIM Objetives
Section 4 - BIM Deliverables
Section 5 - Data Segregation and Linking
Section 6 - Modeling Standards
Section 7 - Collaborative BIM data Sharing
Section 8 - BIM Collaboration Procedure

The purpose of the introduction is to explain what this BIM Protocol document is, what it's scope is, how it is maintained, identify other documents that support this document and importantly include and agreement between the parties undertaking the project using BIM. Comments and explanations are highlighted in green italics.

BIM Protocol


Section 1 - Introduction

Purpose of Document

The intention of this protocol is to define the method for the project team to operate in a collaborative design environment driven by the benefits of BIM. By way of this document, the roles, responsibilities, interactions, and expected dependences of each organisation relative to the BIM data and model are established. The document is maintained and distributed by the Project BIM Coordinator and will be formally issued to all parties involved in the project. This document will take precedence over other agreements, contracts and documents in relation to Building Information Modelling (BIM) matters. 

Section 2 will identify all the roles and responsibilities of the Project BIM Coordinator. It is optional but maybe important to note that this document takes precedence over other documents in relation to BIM. This is especially important to consider if the BIM protocol is being included an an addendum to other contractual documents or agreements.


This BIM Protocols document is intended to support all BIM work undertaken collaboratively between the design team members listed in Section 2. The BIM Protocols document shall take precedence over other BIM and CAD documents. It is not the intention of this document to state how each organisation will implement BIM with their respective organisations but organisations are encouraged to ensure that their internal procedures support this document in the interest of project quality control and improving collaborative processes. 

The BIM Protocol document is the most important document in relation to work being undertaken in BIM among the parties identified in Section 2 who have agreed to work in BIM collaboratively. This document will take precedence over all other documents in relation to BIM and where there is a conflict, this document will take precedence.

Update Procedure 

Proposed changes to this document should be submitted in writing with accompanying examples, discussion or other supportive material to the Project BIM Coordinator. Feedback will be gathered and continuously reviewed; they will be collated to form new revisions at appropriate intervals.

This document will be controlled at a single source, the Project BIM Coordinator.


This document is written with reference to the following documents:

  • AEC UK BIM Standard - Version 1.0 
  • AEC UK BIM Standard for Autodesk Revit - Version 1.0 
  • BS 1192:2007
  • Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modelling – BIM Project Specification version 3.0
  • AIA E202 2008
You can include your own references. This BIM Protocol will rely mostly on the AEC UK BIM Standard with some references to the BIM Project Specification by the Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modelling.

Organization Agreement

By way of signing below, each organization confirms that they have read and understand this document and agree to the following:

  • To follow the structure, programme, and best practices set forth in this document. 
  • Recognise the role and direction from the Project BIM Coordinator in relation to the duties identified in this document. 
  • Identify a point of contact responsible for implementing the project protocols in each organization. 
  • Openly provide the information required to complete the design of the project to the highest standard of practice in an efficient manner. 
  • All shared information is intended for use on the project identified in Section 2 of this document only unless expressly agreed otherwise (OR to operate under referred to Non-Disclosure agreements).
For each stakeholder, include:

Signatory, Organisation

Each organization must sign this section to confirm that they have read the BIM protocol and will conform with the contents of the document. The Project BIM Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring compliance.


Necessary Disclaimer:
While I strive to make the content as accurate as possible, I make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the information in this post. Following any advice here is done entirely at your own risk, with no liability to this site, or the site owner.


Michael Earley is a Computer Applications Developer and an Architectural Technologist. I currently maintain blogs on both of my professional interests, and


  1. Hi Michael,

    I have read your blog in search of getting better understanding of BIM Protocol. In essence you are saying BIM Protocol is BIM Execution Plan ? Secondly I am trying to establish when and how BIM Protocol can become an addendum to standard contract ?


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