What is BEP and what is EIR? What is CDE?


In the BEP (BIM Execution Plan) document, we explain how we will implement what the client requires in the EIR (Exchange Information Requirements). To do this, information flows are managed in a Common Data Environment (CDE).

Why do we need them?

A (level 3) BIM project is a very complex system, which can very easily suddenly become expensive or fail completely without a proper framework.

What does it mean?

That no BIM project should be started without clearly defined goals, expectations, software, responsibilities, competencies, and even the way of communication. Although this may seem like an extremely complex extra burden at the beginning, it pays off very quickly in terms of meeting deadlines, flexible change management, low level of stress, and, of course, excellent engineering quality.

ISO 19650, which has also been introduced in our company, helps us, among other things, to set up this information framework.

Based on the standard, it is recommended that the information requirements are first defined in-house by the customer from the top-down cascade:

  1. Organizational Information Requirements (OIR), e.g. information needed to manage a property portfolio
  2. Asset Information Requirements, individually, for all properties within the portfolio (AIR)
  3. Project Information Requirements, specific to projects within a property (PIR)

In other words, clients need to know both the project objectives and the business processes at the level of the organization, the property, and the project, and what information they need from the project teams.

If you are a real estate company that rents out commercial spaces, you want to know the size and details of the space you can let. If you manufacture batteries as a local subsidiary of an international company, you may want to connect to the parent company’s individual ERP system with iOT data for the entire site, including the high-bay warehouse.

Once this is done, the Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) are defined.

What is EIR?

EIR describes the challenge.

Clients summarise their needs in the EIR document for the time of the call for tenders, so at least two important things are known at the start of the project: what the project team needs to do and what are the defined purposes.

Setting up an EIR requires complex expertise, and since in reality very few people understand BIM in-depth, and there is usually no in-house BIM manager on the client side, external help (often from an architectural firm) is used.

What is BEP?

BEP describes the solution.

The EIR is responded in the BEP document prepared by the main contractor, so it includes

  • a sectoral, Task Information Delivery Plan (TIDP), which is
  • summarised in a Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP), with project schedule, information production, protocols, files to be delivered in each phase, documentation, deadlines, etc.
  • a Responsibility Table (RT) for each phase
  • a table of the levels of information required per project phase (SOW – Scope of Work)

BEP is prepared by the main contractor’s BIM manager, in many cases both before the contract (pre-appointment BEP) and in more detail after the clarification (post-appointment BEP).

What is CDE?

CDE is the common denominator of information flows.

It is not by chance that BIM is classified into different levels of maturity based on the level of collaboration. No matter how advanced a design office’s BIM workflow is and how well defined the BIM project is in the EIR if the structural engineer is working in the wrong software, for example, or workers are guessing from the plans printed on-site.

The current design can be checked on the construction site
using simple AR technology.

Common Data Environment with cloud storage, software, mobile devices, web-based project platform, and many other tools will solve problems such as:

  • the disciplines can see each other’s work in a short synchronization time and do not, for example, cross an electrical cable tray on a beam, so errors are already corrected in the virtual space and updated in a matter of seconds for the others, too
  • the contractor can always see the current model in any view on his tablet with a simple browser so that the recording of defects is clear and fast, and change management is efficient
  • the actual realization can be scanned and used to update the model, allowing the operator to manage a digital twin that reflects reality using FM software and iOT tools

The movement of information in a CDE is described in DIN EN ISO 19650-1:2018-04 (translation):

In another example, it might be more transparent what processes we can use CDE for:

Workflow ManagementAbility to automate, manage and report; Request for Information (RFI) Management
Model ManagementVersion control, model comparison, model checking, model merging and federation, model check-in/check-out
Model servingCompatible formats, model navigation, partial model publishing, and model querying
CommunicationEmail, instant messenger, BIM Collaboration Format (BCF), notification and audit trail
Coordination and Clash PreventionModel navigation, viewing, search and selection, mark-up, reporting, definition of rules, combination of disciplinary models, soft and hard clashes, discipline and location identification of clashes, compatibility with BCF and openBIM
Phasing and PrototypingIntegration with scheduling software, what-if simulations, tracking, monitoring and control, modeling of plant and machinery
Facility ManagementData management, reporting, information extraction, compatibility with FM systems and processes
System AdministrationArchiving, customization, data/ model security, remote access, versioning, updates
Use ManagementProfiles, access control, security, audit trail, data locking, upload and download access and change management
Source: RICS Building Information Modelling for Project Managers

Of course, even the best BEP and digital model shared in the most professional CDE environment will not save the project from design errors and deviations, or forced changes. In other words, there always will be differences between the virtual model on the computer screen and the actual house.

But how can we ensure that construction errors do not continue to roll over and that the FM system does not base operations on incorrect data? For example, by scanning the under-construction facility regularly and using the results both during construction and after handover, i.e. by feeding changes back into the digital model.

Csaba Melovics

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