BIM scope creep and why it should be avoided

If used correctly, building information modelling can help construction firms cut down on waste and save money, but a new blog post on BIM ThinkSpace argues that human error and miscommunication can give rise to “BIM scope creep”, a costly and potentially damaging process.

In a guest post for ThinkSpace, Rexter Retana of architectural practice RSP states that BIM scope creep occurs when a project’s scope, cost or schedule increases without the adjustment of the other two factors.


“When one boundary element is increased or diminished, the other two elements must also increase/diminish in order to regain project equilibrium,” he says.


The diagram above serves as a visualisation of this process, which Retana says has two forms: Demand-Side Scope Creep and Supply-Side Scope Creep. The first occurs when a client “is not sure what BIM deliverables to request”, so “injects BIM into a project scope using a single generic clause”. This could be because the client, not schooled in BIM, does not recognise BIM’s effects on a project’s cost or schedule.


But scope creep can also set in on the supply side, too. An architect may become overambitious, including elements “which do not improve the execution of the project, are not requested by the client/owner, and do not necessarily improve the final product (the actual facility).”


Retana characterises this as “gold-plating”, stating that by consuming additional time and resources the relationship between project team and client can become strained, leading to client dissatisfaction and even legal disputes.


The education of clients and the reining in of project teams is, Retana maintains, key to avoiding scope creep.


“The Design Lead needs to invest time and effort in educating the client/owner of BIM’s deliverables and limitations. Clients should be also encouraged to evaluate their own BIM abilities and improve their internal BIM capability/maturity, so they benefit from BIM deliverables and workflows.”


Read Retana’s fully referenced article here.


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