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How to discuss building documentation accuracy with a client

Posted by Sean Higgins on 9/4/19, 4:10 PM

The AEC industry relies on specifications to get project stakeholders on the same page. BIMForum’s LOD (level of development) Specification, for instance, has given BIM stakeholders a tool for reaching agreement about the content and reliability of BIMs at various stages in the design and construction process. It has helped reduce miscommunications and ensure that BIM work is completed correctly the first time.

For a long time, the industry was missing a specification that would help building documentation stakeholders get on the same page about a very complex topic: documentation accuracy.

In 2014, the USIBD (United States Institute of Building Documentation) released a tool that incorporated years' worth of input from a wide variety of AEC professionals to remedy that problem. The LOA (level of accuracy) Specification, now in version 3.0, offers a tool for articulating, in very clear terms, the accuracy with which existing conditions should be measured and represented in the documentation.

That means the LOA Specification serves a very important secondary function in that it offers a means for documentation professionals and their clients to communicate. Talking through accuracy needs at a granular level using the specification can help you bring up some less obvious potential issues, and resolve them with your client before they become real problems. Here are just a few:

  • What tools and workflow would the documentation professional use to ensure that the raw measurement data is the right accuracy? 
  • How much will that level of accuracy cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • Should the final documentation depict perfect orthogonal geometry, or real-world conditions? For example, should an out-of-plumb wall be depicted as plumb and perpendicular, or as it exists in the real world?
  • If the final documentation needs to be orthogonal, that will introduce errors. What level of accuracy error is acceptable to the client?

The LOA Specification can also help inexperienced building-documentation clients determine what level of accuracy they're likely to need for any given project. It does this by offering suggested levels of accuracy for a wide variety of real-world documentation needs. If your client wants to document a foundation, for instance, the specification's suggested level of accuracy will tell them which option industry professionals most commonly pick when documenting foundations. It helps to point them in the right direction, as guided by the experience of a broad range of experienced AEC pros.

There's a lot more in the specification than we can cover in a quick blog post, so I recommend accessing the specification here and reading the guide. It will offer a better understanding of what the specification can do for you, and how you can use it. Also be sure to watch the Lidar News webinar in which the chair of USIBD's education committee, Kevin Kianka, explores the spec and its uses in much greater detail

Topics: BIM, Accuracy, How To