Frequently Asked Questions  

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the specifics of BIM for MILCON Transformation. Click the A icon to view the answer to each question.

Air Force Strategy

  1. I see that you have a BIM Roadmap of your own in the works, how far along are you?  

    We have a list of desired capabilities and effects, the WBDG website, and a staff package, but are still at the very beginning of our BIM journey.

Project Management

  1. We don't have any Revit or other BIM software products at this time and don't know if we are planning on spending the money to get one. Therefore we are not sure if we want the design accomplished with a BIM software platform.  

    In addition to providing a BIM product, the AE is still required to provide a CADD set of drawings for the bases' use. We actually had this same level of consternation with base-level folks when the Air Force began implementing CADD requirements in MILCON products. For reviewing BIM products, ask the author to provide DWF files and your helpdesk to install Autodesk Design Review 2010 [already approved at A7C] on your system.

  2. I also noticed that you had posted the Air Force's version of attachment F, did you reverse draft this after evaluating your end uses (downstream uses) for BIM?  

    AFCEE developed this 2008–09, so I am unsure of the specifics. However, I think they went with the most well developed, similar document in the government at the time, the Army Attachment F, and then edited it for USAF use. I do not think it was as complex as you are thinking.

  3. Can I use the language in your attachment F to request a quote on one of our projects that is going out to bid? I want to get a comparison on the cost involved in getting a BIM deliverable a typical FAA facility.  

    Yes, you can use it as a basis for your own product, but the USAF will carry no liability or ownership of a product or project that is not constructed for the USAF or without the USAF Attachment F. You would assume all responsibility for your own contracts and administration of that contract.

  4. How much extra should we budget for using BIM on our projects?  

    The USAF policy is that we will not pay more for using BIM to accomplish the same existing end product—construction drawings. If we ask for products outside the normal deliverables, those can be included as bid options (e.g. energy modeling/simulations, etc.)

    The USAF is aligning with industry. The leading industry publication regarding BIM cost and ROI is the McGraw Hill Smart Market Report Series. See the 2009 installment in the attachment. Some highlights for 2009 include:

    • 50% of the industry is using BIM already
    • #1 reason A/Es are NOT using BIM is because owners are not requesting it enough
    • Most cost benefit of using BIM is to the contractor

    We need to shift people's thinking that BIM requires an extra lump % thrown on to 1391s. While this may have worked for the extra scope associated with LEED, we do not need to pay company overhead to help them buy software and train their personnel for the firms who are in the lagging 50%.

Technical Issues

  1. What are some of the limitations of competitors—Revit, in particular?  

    • Modeling limitation; freeform modeling is needed to design things like spline-shaped roof edges. Vectorworks is the only one with NURBS surfaces.
    • 3D speed and robustness; purely parametric modelers can't handle the model size once details are added.
    • Complex UI; users face varying user interfaces when they switch between 2D and 3D packages from the same vendor. Vectorworks has the same UI for all its software.
    • BIM slows down design; users spend too much time wrestling with the system.
    • Good visualization is hard to get; customers find they have a hard time reproducing the beautiful renderings pictured on the vendor's Web site.
  2. I am interested in finding out about additional costs an IFC 2x3 compliant BIM deliverable would mean over the traditional 2D drawings. Have you done cost analyses, etc on anything like that?  

    A recent industry presentation in the Construction Project Controls and BIM Report by Swinerton's VDC manager, Mr. Daniel Gonzales, stated that while hard to define, added cost for BIM authoring compared to traditional project drafting and design are estimated at 0.1% to 0.5% of the construction budget. Also, the USAF policy is that we will not pay any extra money for simply accomplishing design via BIM. The only way we will pay more is if there are added products like significant energy modeling, added deliverables, etc.