A Grounded Theory Based Framework for Level of Development Implementation Within the Information Delivery Manual

A Grounded Theory Based Framework for Level of Development Implementation Within the Information Delivery Manual

Angel Gigante-Barrera (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK), Darshan Ruikar (Ove Arup & Partners, Solihull, UK), Soroosh Sharifi (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK) and Kirti Ruikar (Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2018010103


The present study follows the progress of the level of development (LOD) specification from its inception in 2005 to its latest updates in 2018, a total of 42 guidelines from North America and Europe are reviewed. To organise the presented literature and to provide a comprehensive framework of LOD implementation within the information delivery manual (IDM), a LOD grounded theory-based taxonomy is introduced. The variables that constitute this taxonomy are BIM purpose, Stage, Role, Classification System, Attribute, Graphical information, Scale, LOD and Net benefits. The result of this exercise is a comprehensive view of the LOD construct impact on project performance which can be studied as a cumulative framework, where new research on the constructs can be added. Therefore, this allows a point towards the direction where further work is needed within the field of LOD-IDM implementation, such as the study of its use for data management among other uses.
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1. Introduction

1.1. Background

In the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, where several stakeholders from different organisations collaborate towards the completion of a project, having common standards and specifications to unify criteria and enhance collaboration is a fundamental driver. In 2005, Vico Software, a private software company-initiated work on an information management specification namely Level of Detail, used for coordinating modelling efforts between multiple parties (VicoSoftware, 2016). Later on, in 2008, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), refined the specification and adopted the name Level of Development (LOD) (AIA, 2008), which is the term most used worldwide for defining Building Information Modelling (BIM) object content progress along the different stages of the project. The exchange of BIM data within the AEC industry is prescribed in paper legal agreements where the information for each specific model is specified, meaning that a legal common framework for organising BIM data is required (CIC, 2013a).

LOD-supported electronic project data specification and management has the potential to enhance specification of model content and its utilisation with the project during design, construction and maintenance of the project (Hooper, 2015). The potential for greater information reliability is significant in an industry which historically has relied in paper-based specifications, which implies inefficient retrieval of information, classification and location of data during the project stages (East, Nisbet, & Liebich, 2013).

1.2. Research Motivation

Based on the initial findings of a comprehensive and systematic literature review, most of the related LOD research has approach it from an applied research perspective; documenting functionality extensions to the core principles of the specification (Wood, Panuwatwanich, & Doh, 2014), examining benefits of its implementation within projects (Fai & Rafeiro, 2014; Luth, Schorer, & Turkan, 2014) or including the LOD within business processes languages such as the Integrated Definition Methods IDEFO and IDEF3 (Maria-Angeliki, Robby, & Kirti, 2014). However, BIM requires defining information within the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) standard which allows for interoperability of data within proprietary software (Steel, Drogemuller, & Toth, 2012). Thus, enabling enhanced collaboration between AEC stakeholders. The creation of the IFC standard and its subsets called Model View Definitions (MVD) requires using the IDM methodology (Wix & Karlshøj, 2010).

The IDM uses the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) language to record processes and to place AEC data into context (Berard & Karlshoej, 2012). Solihin and Eastman (2015) suggested that a LOD MVD based is needed to create automated rule checking approaches to data specification. The authors of the present study, Gigante-Barrera and Ruikar (2016) and other authors such as Lee et al. (2016), suggested associating LOD definitions to define each of the data sets within the BPMN also called Exchange Objects. Recently, Gigante-Barrera et al. (2017), tested and proved on his study on data specification for manufacturers that the LOD could be implemented within the BPMN for the definition of Exchange objects. This paper considers these authors’ suggestion and differently from previous studies it focuses on the socio-technical process of LOD standardisation within the IDM. Of particular interest is the ongoing changes that the specification has suffered since its inception, the implementation context and characteristic variables that will make it useful for its deployment within the IDM context.

This paper is structured as follows: Section 1 provides a brief introduction to the IDM environment. Section 2 discusses the methodology, and Section 3 presents an analysis of the peculiarities of information management specification from 2005 to 2018 across 9 different countries from North America and Europe with a notorious interest in BIM standardisation. Section 4 and 5 presents the findings that can make LOD susceptible to be standardised in a global context. The paper concludes with sections 6 and 7, containing the main conclusions and recommendations for future research on LOD standardisation.

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