What are BIM Lead Suppliers?

Within Building Information Modelling (BIM), Lead Suppliers will typically provide services directly to the employer. This will likely include tier 1 organisations, but also some novated organisations. The fundamental principles for Level 2 information modelling involve the delivery of a co-ordinated Project Information Model (PIM) to the employer containing graphical and nongraphical information through a single point of responsibility, likely to be the Lead Designer or the Lead Contractor.

They are involved in the information exchange processes related to the PIM which will eventually turn into the employer’s Asset Information Model (AIM). Delivering the PIM can involve the production, extraction and contribution of various information during pre-construction, construction and post-construction. Critically they are in the position to define the project protocols.

So, what do Lead Suppliers need to do?


During the tender stage the Lead Supplier will need to produce a pre-contract BIM Execution Plan (BEP) consisting of everything requested in the EIR plus the following information:

  • the project implementation plan (PIP) – including a Supply Chain Capability Summary (SCCS)
  • project goals for collaboration and information modelling
  • major project milestones consistent with the project programme
  • PIM deliverable strategy

The SCCS will be compiled from the suppliers:

  • Supplier BIM Assessment Form
  • Supplier information technology (IT) assessment form
  • Supplier resource assessment form

A Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) which will be produced from the collation of Task Information Delivery Plan(s) from the Task Teams.

There needs to be cascade of information down the supply chain to facilitate response to the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR). The above, and supporting documentation needs to demonstrate how the requirements of the EIR will be met.

Post-Contract Award

Lead Suppliers and their Task Teams are now working within the collaborative project environment, with most activity being dictated by the Lead Supplier’s post contract BEP. This will commute the project protocol for management, planning and documentation, the standard methods and procedures (SMP), and IT solutions to be adopted. The project delivery manager (PDM) needs to initiate a project induction meeting to:

  • confirm resource availability and capability in relation to the responsibility matrix issued as part of the EIR
  • identify training and education needs
  • collaborate to develop the MIDP with reference to the Task Teams TIDPs

The MIDP needs to be used by the PDM to manage the delivery of information during the project, inform the required deliverables and needs to be managed via change control.

Lead Suppliers and Delivery

The Lead Supplier needs to provide clarity of roles, responsibility and authority, which is an essential aspect of effective information management. Roles need to be embedded into contracts, either through a specific schedule of services or more general obligations. Information management roles are likely to be embedded into more extensive project roles – design team leader, principal contractor, etc.

PAS 1192-2 defines roles, responsibilities and authorities in connection with information management, but it does not limit further arrangements for specific project requirements. The responsibilities and the authorities of these roles should be defined as part of the BEP.

Lead Designer

  • Co-ordinated delivery of all design information
  • Manage information development and information approvals
  • Confirm design deliverables
  • Overall lead for configuration management
  • Confirm status and approve information for issue within the common data environment (CDE)
  • Approve design changes proposed to resolve clashes

Project Delivery Management

  • Assure delivery of information exchanges
  • Confirm suppliers’ ability to deliver information requirements
  • Accept reject information exchanges within the CDE

Information Management

  • Enable reliable information exchange through a CDE
  • Maintain and receive information into the Information Model (IM)
  • Enable Integration and co-ordination of information within IM
  • Configure information for Project Outputs
  • Populate the information exchange format for the IM
  • Accept reject Information exchanges within the CDE
  • No design responsibility or right to issue instruction

Common Data Environment (CDE)

The Work in Progress (WIP) section of the CDE is used each of the organisational roles to hold unapproved information. The Lead Designer needs to check, review and approve the information before going into the SHARED area, which needs to include the following:

  • Model suitability check
  • SMP check
  • Technical content check
  • COBie completeness check
  • Drawings extract checks along with any additional documentation that is shared as a co-ordinated package of information
  • Approval by the task team manager

The SHARED section of the CDE is used to hold Information which has been approved for sharing with other organisations to use as reference material for their own design development. When all design has been completed, the information will be placed for authorisation in the Client Shared Area by the Lead Supplier.

The Employer or the Employer’s representative (who may be the Lead Designer or the Lead Supplier) shall sign-off the information and request publication. PAS 1192-2 recognises that some contract forms make this process difficult. In these cases, it must be made clear to the employer who within the delivery team is responsible for undertaking these processes. This needs to have been documented in the EIR and BEP.

Spatial Co-ordination

The volume strategy needs to have been defined by the Lead Designer to allocate volumes within the project to different disciplines into which they carry out their system models (walls, structure, pipework, ductwork, electrical, etc).

If a clash is detected which cannot be resolved by the Task Team interface manager then the lead designer will need to be involved in the discussion to reach agreement and make the necessary changes to the models.

Once the Lead Designer is satisfied that clashes have been resolved, the CAD and technical checks have been completed and the COBie-UK-2012 files and drawings in PDF have been extracted then all information will be SHARED.

The individual SHARED models can be combined for design review by the Lead Designer. Design decisions or clashes that cannot be resolved by the interface managers can then be reviewed and resolved.

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