Forming a Brief

Hello BIMfans,
If any of you have friended followed connected to me on LinkedIn, you may have read my post comparing Construction and Baking following a revelation watching the Great British Bake-off finale.  In essence the clearer a brief is, the easier it is to supply the employer with a satisfactory product or service.  Otherwise, elements can be open to interpretation.

How briefs often work

I will show you what I mean, here are two briefs for the same ‘project’.

Version 1:

“Can you please bake my son a birthday cake?”

Kids still like Minecraft don’t they?

Version 2:

“Can you please bake a nut free (my son is allergic) chocolate cake with Spider-man icing for my son’s Superhero themed birthday party the day after tomorrow for him and his 11 friends?”

With great cake comes great responsibility

It is clear which of these two briefs more likely to give the best result.  Version 2 is better as it is a SMART objective:

(S)Specific = The cake needs to be Spider-man themed, chocolate, nut free, and be big enough for  12 people.
(M)Measurable = Need 1 cake, and it is clear when the task is done
(A) Achievable = It is possible to bake such a cake
(R) Realistic =  The cake can be done in the time given
(T) Timely = The cake is needed for the day after tomorrow

Through BIM, the document that captures the SMART objects in regards to data producing, managing, and sharing information on behalf of the employer is known as an Employer’s Information Requirement (EIR).

The EIR is fairly simple by definition, it is a document that outlines two sets of requirements.  The first is what information is needed and when, as well as any standards, methods, and procedures (SMPs) that need to be followed when producing this information.

A definition is one thing, but what about Content?  Well, there are guides for this. PAS1192-2:2013 is a document that specifies how to undertake information management during the capital phase (when it is being designed and built).  Within this document, it defines what content should be in an EIR under section 5.3.  It then goes into further detail with sub headings which won’t be listed here but will be used to set out my requirements before I create my information model.  However, subheadings only go so far, so it would really help if there was support relating to what information should go into each subheading, and there is.

Guidance on the content can be found in two places.  The first is the BIM Task Group‘s EIR Core Content Guidance Document (opens a .pdf), which to be honest at the time of writing this post is a bit dated but will have some useful elements that I will be extracting.  The second is PAS1192-3:2014, another publicly available specification which specifies information management during the operational phase (when it is in use).  Within this document, it defines where much of the information that populated the EIR comes from by stating a number of feeder documents from your organization and your asset team (neither of which I have for my house!), but there is a third feeder document, the Plain Language Questions (PLQ).

The PLQs capture employer requirements in simple terms against the key project milestones.  The idea is that the supply team develops their information to the point where they can answer all of the questions for that particular project stage, giving both the employer and supply team confidence that the project is proceeding as intended.

So before I write my EIR, I’m going to need some PLQs

Note:  If you have any comments regarding my information model or how I have resolved these issues, then please let me know either on Twitter, or by commenting below.


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