Risk Management using BIM Workflow Management

There is always an element of risk when a construction project is undertaken, be it the risk of cost overruns, project lags, building performance, sustainability, and more. Along these lines, adopting Building Information Modeling (BIM) can de-risk multiple areas in a project life-cycle, these challenges are observed in the design phase, construction phase, and operational phase. Failure to adopt Risk Management can lead to problems in project objectives as it influences spatial design, land-use planning, and future urban planning. Using BIM and Risk Management steps, project stakeholders can leverage the tools to generate crucial data and perform high-impact risk analysis.

Setting yourself well on construction sites with Lens360 tools from iFieldSmart Technologies supports multiple stakeholders with capabilities to visualize the present and what needs to be perceived. Preemptive risk management from iFieldSmart Technologies enables actionable insights with side-by-side comparisons, periodic rough-in pictures to evaluate critical problems and documenting As-Built conditions, progress tracking for accurate scheduling, and more.


For any construction project, risks are an inevitable phenomenon. To mitigate the chance of risks or adverse impacts on every project lifecycle, risk management is adopted for construction project management. Risk Management can be integrated with various processes or technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM), Automation, IT, etc. As BIM is complex in itself, it is imperative to create a robust framework to identify risk identification, response, and monitoring.


  • Risk Management or RM can be put in words as a definitive systematic and cyclic mechanism to identify, analyze, and respond to risks. The risk management process consists of various objectives, risk identification, risk assessment, risk response, and risk monitoring
  • BIM model creation, clearly shows error detection leading to managing and mitigating risks at a design level. Owners and stakeholders need to identify risk factors whilst implementing a BIM process, especially for cost estimation, scheduling, & infrastructure
  • BIM can enhance time and cost across the complex project lifecycle, yet a lack of understanding of its processes, tools, and technology, and the use of diverse systems may render the full potential of BIM remain unexploited

Types of Risks in the Construction Sector 

Project Management Risks –

  • Identify the requirements of your project, and allocate responsibilities correctly, whilst setting a fixed time frame

Financial Risks –

  • Planning your budget for a specific project based on the type, size, and location of the project is important. Fiscal risks can be defined using this risk management system

Financial risks can be based on 3 factors viz.

  • Country Inflation
  • Tax System
  • Currency Conversion Rates

Legal Risks –

  • Define the rights and responsibilities of each project party with an explicit solution in the contract documents. Adding a legal team to the scenario reduces the chance of legal risks.

Safety Risks –

  • The project management team needs to understand the repercussion of an on-site accident, and measures need to be taken to make it a safe place for on-site construction personnel to install or deploy deliverables

Outcomes based on Construction Risks      

  • Low ROI on invested funds
  • Intense pressure to perform rework causes time and cost delays
  • Low margins and profits
  • Greater numbers of legal issues
  • Escalation in safety problems

Benefits based on a BIM-based Risk Management Workflow

  • Precise and Efficient Operations through data-driven insights
  • Enhanced Safety and Security for onsite personnel
  • Improved Project Confidence that saves time and money
  • Higher ROIs through increased profits

BIM brings in concrete RM improvements

  • The course of new ISO standards being introduced in the system has changed the way information is organized in the form of a matrix. This can add to the complexity, but project heads need to identify this process and system-based technology to improve risk management standards
  • With the adoption of model building in a virtual environment, through high-quality digital descriptions of every building aspect, from design to handover, it is data visibility that creates greater insights for construction sequencing, cost delays, and more
  • This reduces a lengthy paper trail, which causes reduced data visibility, based on multiple documents and drawing versions. Risk Management also plays an important role in 7D, wherein greater data and information transparency for the simplest element or object like a door, window, or light bulb can be accessed in a matter of seconds or minutes
  • With new ISOs in the picture like BS EN ISO-19650-1 and BS EN ISO – 19650 -2, it is pretty clear for project managers and building stakeholders to understand data usage transparency and various scenarios to leverage their understanding of new rules and regulations, and adopt the BIM process efficiently
  • For a Risk Management process to succeed and produce required deliverables, managers need to understand technology, and its capabilities to deliver the intended result. For example, understanding priorities to optimize construction sequencing, enhance safety management, or identify cost risks?
  • To make sure all the models are built accurate and decisive on a time or 4D basis, it is important to make sure every piece of project data is put forth or coded accurately and linked to required workflows at the designing stage

Challenges in Traditional Risk Management

Traditional Risk Management includes the following challenges based on theory, expertise, and project experience

  • Traditional Risk Management without BIM is a tedious process that includes various paper trails which makes it time-consuming, prone to error, and completely inefficient
  • Owners or project stakeholders working on 2D platforms, processes, or tools like drawings and documents make it difficult to combine processes like on-site information, 2D drawings, and paper trails for identification and consideration of risk management
  • Traditional or legacy Risk Management is fragmented, making it difficult to move from one project to another
  • Another significant challenge lies in the management of humans, and a human information “database”, wherein data needs to be extrapolated and used flexibly
  • Traditional Risk Management systems use a disparate model, wherein common risks that are identified and treated in silos are forgotten or misplaced
  • A traditional Risk Management system does not hold the capability of recording and communicating correctly or efficiently, making it more of a risk factor, than risk management. This can be explained whilst data is transferred from one project stakeholder to another viz. designer to a contractor, and the contractor to the client
  • In summary, a traditional Risk Management system does not allow knowledge gaining and sharing among various participants’ viz. architects, clients, engineers, etc.

Risk Breakdown Structure

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Risk Identification –

  • Develop a crucial Risk checklist associated with various levels of the BIM process or trades, viz. Architecture, Structure, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP), and Fire Protection (FP)
  • The idea of a risk check would include content analysis and the probability of data or risks being repeated in terms of frequency or activity
  • Every risk is categorized, marked, and assembled based on similarity

Dynamic Risk Analysis –

  • Determination of the consequences of a certain or group of risk factors
  • Cause and effect of relationships between various risks
  • Develop a narrative of the cases to understand and describe key events and their impact on the process
  • Classify data into various constructs to create a thematic map of constituent implementation
  • Establish dependencies between various constructs to establish a relation between adoption and project success

Dynamic Risk Response –

  • Simulate response scenarios
  • Network various risk paths
  • Represent interaction amongst risks
  • Develop strategic options to mitigate the risk
  • Determine the right set of actions
  • Enhance project opportunities whilst reducing project threats

Advanced Risk Response Strategies – (For threats)

Avoid – Avoid the cause of risk by removing the cause.

Transfer – Find another source or party who is willing to take responsibility for risks

Mitigate – Take early action to mitigate the risk. This reduces risk probability by large numbers

Advanced Risk Response Strategies – (For opportunities)

Exploit – Realize an opportunity and exploit it, known for delivering positive results for high impact opportunities

Share or Collaborate – Allocate a risk or an opportunity to another person or party, who can best identify its occurrence, and has the potential to convert risks to opportunities

Enhance – Modify the size of the positive risk, opportunities can be enhanced by enhancing their probability

The Risk Catalogue

Why is Risk Management a global problem?

  • More than 500 bridges have collapsed in the US between the years 1989 – 2000
  • More than 25,000 workers have died onsite in the US between the years 1989 – 2013
  • More than 50,000 fatal accidents take place every year on a global scale

In Summary

Successful BIM adopted Risk Management or Workflow requires a comprehensive understanding of the entire building process viz. general processes, risks, techniques, and the difference between old and new methods.

Moving from a paper trail risk management system, BIM can help owners and project stakeholders identify and mitigate risks at an early stage of the building process. As a core data generator, and a systematic risk management tool, BIM can integrate with other processes, tools, and technology for other tools to carry out the risk analysis process.

There is no doubt that risks are evident at various stages of a construction project, and the kind of risk management adopted has a direct consequence on the output of the project itself.

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By bimengus

BIM Engineering US is a leading Building Information Technology solution service provider offering end to end solutions in Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection systems engineering, design and construction.