Understanding CIM (Construction Information Management) in Project Planning and Construction Scheduling

CIM integrated approach to redefine Scheduling

In the current landscape of construction management, information often exists in isolated silos, particularly in the realms of cost and schedule. To enhance decision-making and elevate the quality and risk assessment of project deliverables, it's crucial to adopt a comprehensive, integrated approach that encompasses the entire life cycle of a construction project. This approach should not only focus on cost and schedule but also include a detailed consideration of the project's scope.


An integrated approach allows for more holistic, informed decisions, leading to improved project performance. The significance of scope cannot be overstated. By meticulously decomposing and defining the project scope, we ensure that all necessary deliverables are identified. This is a critical step in effectively managing resources, risks, and quality within the project.


At ALICE, we are pioneering this integration by establishing:

Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS): This involves detailing unit costs for each resource, ensuring a comprehensive financial overview.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): We define task sequences and logic within our unique 'Recipes', providing clear task organization and planning.

Project Breakdown Structure (PBS): This includes grouping and defining the support sequence for WBS units, ensuring a cohesive project flow.


Traditionally, the industry uses the term 'Work Package' to refer to elements captured in the WBS. However, ALICE adopts a more holistic term, 'Work Element', to encompass all three dimensions: Project Breakdown Structure (PBS), Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS), and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This terminology reflects our system-based approach and structured framework, integrating all critical aspects of project management.


Our current series of articles delves into the specifics of Construction Information Management (CIM) development, particularly focusing on the preparation of WBS for projects. ALICE enhances this process by utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. BIM is a transformative tool in the design and construction industry, enabling designers and engineers to work with more precision and efficiency. By integrating BIM models, ALICE can detect the geometries of building elements, facilitating the creation of detailed WBS units. These units can then be rearranged to explore multiple iterations, allowing for the optimization of construction sequences.


Incorporating CIM into planning with ALICE provides an accurate scope, location references for activities, and project estimates based on the model quantities. This integration is a game-changer, enabling schedulers and construction engineers to effortlessly create and iterate various construction sequences, optimizing the project's efficiency and effectiveness.


In summary, ALICE Pro's approach to integrating cost, schedule, and scope through BIM represents a significant advancement in the field of construction management, paving the way for more informed, efficient, and successful project outcomes.

What is CIM and how is it different from BIM?

In the evolving landscape of the construction industry, two acronyms have become increasingly significant: BIM (Building Information Modeling) and CIM (Construction Information Management). While they are often used interchangeably, their roles, especially in construction scheduling and project planning, are distinct. The adoption of Construction Information Management (CIM) has become a game-changer, especially when integrated with tools like ALICE. Unlike traditional Building Information Modeling (BIM), CIM focuses on the efficient management and utilization of metadata, which is now recognized as crucial for the success of construction projects.

In the context of ALICE, a good CIM can be viewed as a “focused” version of the BIM, which usually encompasses only relevant information for any task. The main difference between the BIM and the CIM concept is the following:


BIM: The Digital Blueprint CIM: The Information Conductor
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building. It goes beyond traditional blueprints to create three-dimensional, dynamic modeling software that integrates information about design, construction, and project management. Construction Information Management (CIM), on the other hand, is a broader concept. It encompasses the process of organizing, coordinating, and managing all the information and data related to a construction project throughout its lifecycle.
BIM allows for 3D visualization of the project, enabling stakeholders to see what the building will look like and how it will function before ground is broken. CIM integrates 3D elements with data on costs, timelines, material specifications, constraints, and more, providing a holistic view of an element in the project construction.
In ALICE’s context, BIM serves as the digital twin of the project, providing a visual and data-rich representation. The cleaner, less detailed BIM models required by ALICE still contain essential metadata like dimensions, materials, and sequencing information, which are crucial for ALICE’s algorithms. In ALICE, CIM complements BIM by managing all other project-related data and information. It ensures that the data fed into ALICE is realistic to the construction process on site, and that the optimized schedules and plans generated by ALICE are effectively communicated and implemented on Project.


CIM in ALICE is not just about managing construction models but about effectively managing the wealth of information that drives construction projects. It’s a strategic approach that requires a deep understanding of how data can be leveraged to optimize every aspect of project execution. By embracing CIM, construction professionals can look forward to more efficient, data-driven decision-making, leading to successful project outcomes.

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