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Do I Really Need an Information Manager?

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Is it really necessary to have an Information Manager when working in a building information modelling (BIM) environment? Find out in this short video with Fred Mills, Co-Founder of The B1M.

“The short answer is yes, but it doesn’t need to be a new appointment to your team” he explains.

BIM demands a high degree of control and integrity around how data is created, organised and shared both within companies and within the project teams that they work for. The Information Manager (sometimes known as the “BIM Manager”) is responsible for managing that process.

"The short answer is yes ...but it doesn’t need to be a new appointment to your team”

The role includes establishing and managing the common data environment (CDE) – a shared online space that everyone in the project has access to – and overseeing the process of information management and exchange between all parties.

“It’s important to understand that the Information Manager isn’t the person that is designated ‘to do BIM’ for you” explains Fred. “BIM is a culture and a way of working that affects everybody, in all parts of an organisation. Information Managers ensure that information exchange and collaborative working are facilitated in the project process”.

In the United Kingdom (UK), the need to appoint an Information Manager is made explicitly clear in the BIM protocol and the wider suite of British Government guidance documents. Those documents also make it clear that the role should be undertaken by an existing person within the project team; such as the Design Team Leader or the Main Contractor’s Design Manager.

On a point of personal opinion, Fred explains that he doesn’t see a role for stand-alone BIM Managers who look after things like software platforms, in-house product libraries, training or project support:

“Those who disagree are completely entitled to their view, but for me those things are essentially part of IT, the design management function or something for designated BIM Champions; people who are well placed within your organisation to assist and help with BIM implementation in the early stages, alongside their current role”.

He goes on to recognise that for very large businesses, organisations at the very start of their implementation journey or on large projects, the business case for those stand-alone roles certainly does exist.

“For large businesses, those at the start of their BIM journey or on very large projects, the business case for stand-alone roles is certainly there”

Numerous courses and workshops exist specifically for Information Managers and Fred points out that these can be very useful for organisations or individuals adopting a more disciplined approach to information flow: “It’s a big, cultural step for many organisations and training and guidance are always worthwhile”.

You can find out more about the role of Information Managers (or BIM Managers) from the UK Government’s BIM Task Group here.

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Anonymous • 27-Nov-2015 10:55 AM

Morning Fred. Its interesting that you see the “Information Manager” as an individual.
I see it being very much an organisational role where several users will undertake the responsibilities. Ultimately the organisation is responsible for its delivery, and if you want a name to put against the organisation for accountability then it will always be the PM of that organisation.
I have mapped all of the CIC R&R to 3 job roles within our organisation if we are the appointed information manager.
Why do I think its not a single person?
1. Because the language used in the CIC or PAS1192-2 isn’t individual focused
2. Some of the responsibilities are undertaken naturally by more than 1 person
3. Information Management responsibilities defined by the CIC are nothing new, and on traditional projects the responsibilities are pretty much the same just more disciplined using different language.

Supporting statements

The PAS-2 says “appoint a PARTY to undertake the role of Information Manager”

The CIC says “Establish a Common Data” Many organisations have dedicated teams in deploying CDEs. For example, when a new project is procured, a specialist team will review the contract and setup the CDE to ensure its bespoke to the projects needs and security is in place. Then its handed over to administrators/document managers/design managers etc

The CIC says “Provide the services to host the CDE” sometimes the Employer might host this, or the information manager might outsource the hosting to a specialist. Either way, an individual doesn’t host the CDE, an organisation does.

The only reason I make these comments is because I have found from experience that when people think its an individual who undertakes the role, it results in others believing they play no part even though their organisation is chosen by the employer.
By saying “The B1M is responsible for Information Manager Role” rather than saying “ Fred Mills is the information Manager” results in a team sharing responsibility rather than an individual who doesn’t need to take sole responsibility and accountability.

Again, we have split the roles between 3 people, i.e Regional Information controllers (Deploy the CDE and produce the CIC Project Information Plan) document manager (administrated the CDE and follow the plans), Design Managers (Define the LODs and manage their delivery from consultants)

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