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Facilitating the building commissioning process using building information modeling: an action-research project

Charles Frommweiler (Department of Construction Engineering, Ecole De Technologie Superieure, Montreal, Canada)
Erik Poirier (Department of Construction Engineering, Ecole De Technologie Superieure, Montreal, Canada)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 11 August 2023

150

Abstract

Purpose

The building commissioning (BCx) phase is a critical stage in a building's lifecycle. It is also a complex process that involves a large number of actors and activities. While the use of building information modeling (BIM) in the commissioning phase of building equipment and systems could be beneficial, few studies have investigated the processes behind its implementation. The research presented in this paper aims to investigate the implementation of BIM for the commissioning phase within a general contracting company through action-research.

Design/methodology/approach

Through direct involvement with the research partner, a large general contractor, a diagnosis on the current limitations of the commissioning process was conducted. An action plan to implement BIM for commissioning was developed and implemented in two pilot projects. Evaluation was performed through on-site observations and informal discussions with field staff. Learning was specified through the development of a formal protocol for BIM-enabled BCx.

Findings

This action-research project helped the partner organization identify the challenges and a way forward to formalize its BIM-enabled BCx process. The action plan aimed at countering the lack of knowledge about the status of equipment and system commissioning as well as the lack of standardization. The research team co-developed and tested a formal protocol, including BIM-enabled processes and technologies to address these observed problems. A complete implementation ecosystem was structured and deployed. Preliminary feedback indicated that improvements were obtained using a BIM-enabled approach over a traditional approach.

Originality/value

While past studies have investigated the BCx process, this study identified current challenges considering recent advances in BIM and focused on a large general contractor. This work provides an in-depth account of a large general contractor attempting to streamline its BCx process. The results of the study could help guide practitioners in implementing more streamlined BIM-enabled BCx processes.

Keywords

Citation

Frommweiler, C. and Poirier, E. (2023), "Facilitating the building commissioning process using building information modeling: an action-research project", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2022-0394

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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