Use of Design Drivers, Process Mapping, & Dsm to Improve Integration Within an Introductory Bim Course

Lei Xu1 & Cynthia C.Y. Tsao2

1Former Graduate Research & Teaching Assistant, Univ. of Cincinnati, CEE Dept., Phoenixville, PA, 19460, Phone +1 513/305-7168,
2Research Affiliate, Lean Construction Institute, Brookline, MA, 02445, Phone +1 510/593-4884,


The Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) industry recognizes Building Information Modeling (BIM) as an efficient means to develop and disseminate design information. However, if a project requires (1) tight coupling between systems and components because doing so generates value for the project and (2) interdependent engineering disciplines to work in parallel due to schedule requirements, the team may face difficulties when they re-integrate any work completed independently back into the main model. To address this problem, we propose combining the use of design drivers, process mapping, and Design Structure Matrices (DSM) to improve a project’s ability to de-couple building components, enable concurrency in component development, and achieve seamless BIM integration within a parametric BIM environment. Specifically, these tools combined may help projects reveal and then reduce the number of design interdependencies between building components. We developed and tested the proposed methodology using a civil engineering course that introduced undergraduate and graduate students to parametric BIM. We taught this course once a year for three years, and we refined the proposed methodology during the third year. Although the methodology is rudimentary and requires further study, we hope this paper will inspire other researchers to test this methodology within learning labs in academia and practice.


Parametric BIM, BIM Integration, Design Handoffs, Teaching BIM



Xu, L. & Tsao, C.C. 2012, 'Use of Design Drivers, Process Mapping, & Dsm to Improve Integration Within an Introductory Bim Course' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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