The focus of this chapter is to understand the research areas in the existing literature. In the beginning, the research question is how does combine BIM and LEED systems, and use it in the research field of the construction process. Next, it will discuss the similarities between LEED and BIM in the construction process and try a better way to combine BIM with the LEED project. The literature review further explores the integrated framework of BIM and LEED to help LEED projects achieve a better LEED ranking.


1. How to combine BIM with the LEED system during the construction phase of the LEED project, establish a system framework, and use it in the construction phase, improve the project construction management method?

1.1 Past related research has focused on the field of design.

As the basic method of informatization construction and operation and maintenance of the new generation engineering project, BIM can combine the geometric model of the building with the attribute database to realize the organic combination of spatial data and attribute data. Generally speaking, it is the process of producing building data and using building data, such as Building Modeling Information and Building information and management. On the other hand, according to LEED standards, from a life cycle perspective, projects are expected to achieve superior performance and economics over traditional buildings. However, LEED certification poses a huge challenge to the project team, where the increase in upfront costs and the complexity of the technical requirements are the most stringent, and the process of implementing the LEED system is confusing and cumbersome (Wu and Issa, 2010).  But it is visualized throughout the BIM process. For example, the discussion of design, construction, operation, etc. is all done in the visual effect, that is, the characteristics of What You See Is What You Get. Through this feature, project participants can better understand the requirements of the LEED system, determine the design, construction plan, and ensure that the building design, construction and operation meet LEED certification requirements. Thus, BIM can help users determine the target LEED points and the LEED certification level they are pursuing (Azhar et al., 2011).

Past of research,Kriegel and Nies (2008) indicated that BIM can aid in the following aspects of sustainable design:

• Building orientation (selecting a good orientation can reduce energy costs) 

• Building massing (to  analyze building form and optimize the building envelope) 

• Daylighting analysis 

• Water harvesting (reducing water needs in a building) 

• Energy modeling (reducing energy needs and analyzing renewable 
energy options can contribute to low energy costs) 

• Sustainable materials (reducing material needs and using recycled 

• Site and logistics management (to reduce waste and carbon 

These aspects are all captured in the LEED rating system, giving an opportunity for the project team to follow 
these guidelines in adopting pertinent BIM. Meanwhile, Biswas et al. (2008) outlined how a green building rating system, such as LEED could be adopted into BIM to offer designers an environment with enhanced awareness of different sustainability factors. Although, previous research has proposed a comprehensive integration framework for BIM technology and LEED project delivery, and also described a BIM-enabled integrated optimization tool catering to LEED decisions (Wu and Issa, 2010). Previous research also described the content of sustainable evaluation directly related to BIM, including material selection and use, site selection and management, and system management. But the research and development of green BIM applications are heavily biased towards the project design phase (Schlueter and Thesseling, 2009). The next objective is how to apply BIM to the construction phase of the LEED project. This will become the future construction stage must study the direction of development, but also can improve the LEED project construction management methods.

1.2 The challenge of combining the two

· Users’ lack of appropriate BIM knowledge.

The past of research demonstrated the feasibility of integrating LEED into BIM, but high- lighted that modern technology complexity could be an issue if users do not have sufficient knowledge about BIM (Alwan, Greenwood and Gledson, 2015). It was discovered that due to users’ irregular and inaccurate update of BIM models, credits in LEED certification are difficult to be documented by green BIM (Azhar et al., 2011).

· Weakness of using BIM in LEED project.

Current green BIM practices are technology driven rather than market driven (Wu and Issa, 2015). There is a lack of well-defined business goals and processes of using BIM in LEED projects (Lu et al., 2017). Most project personnel believe that the process of using BIM is too complicated. Nowadays, especially in China’s AEC industry, even if the construction company does not use BIM, extensive management can achieve the same economic benefits, no motivation to use BIM in actual construction. At the stage, the various departments were independently dispersed, and the data coordination and communication were not smooth.

2. What are the similarities between BIM and LEED in the construction phase?

2.1 Similarities become the key to combine two

Existing research on BIM and its green features is also largely confined to the LEED project design phase and rarely extends to the project construction or operational phase. At the same time, most people believe that BIM-supported construction projects are technically tightly coupled, but organizationally separate (Dossick and Neff, 2010). Because many studies only explain the use of multiple software, not management methods, BIM is not a tool, a model, but an idea (Hardin and McCool 2015). At the same time, from the perspective of economics, the benefits of BIM: By improving the efficiency of building design, construction and maintenance, the project team can ultimately provide better project value at a lower construction cost. On the other hand, “sustainable” has become another hot topic in the construction industry (Moakher, 2012). Nowadays LEED is a rating system and BIM is an information technology, both developments help to create a comfort for the occupants and more efficient building (Barnes and Castro-Lacouture, 2009). They all promote sustainable development and achieve the same goals. However, in actual construction, the similarity between the two is not well classified and is actually applied to the construction personnel. In addition, psychological issues may also lead to dissuasion of BIM-based sustainable building cooperation. For example, building practitioners may refuse to use BIM because they believe that BIM is currently too complex to use and is not a necessity in the industry (Wong and Fan, 2013). However, as more and more design and construction professionals understand the potential benefits of BIM for LEED green buildings, it will become an important tool for architecture (Bynum, Issa and Olbina, 2013). The similarities between them will be the key to the combination and application of the two.

2.2 What does LEED require?

Looking for similarities between LEED and BIM, the first step should be clear about the LEED needs during the construction phase.

Firstly, project teams need to set up their goal about how many LEED points their project is targeted at and what level of LEED certification they are pursuing.

Second, team members assigned specific LEED credits to need to understand the credit requirements. This means that they not only ensure that the construction follows the guidelines set out in the LEED Reference Guide, but that when the USGBC reviews LEED credit applications, they can also provide the reviewing officer with documentation to demonstrate compliance (Wu, 2010).

Meanwhile, to demonstrate the compliance with the credits requirements, the project team needs to prepare substantial documentation and present to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) officials for review to determine if the specific LEED point will be awarded to the project team. The official review of GBCI is mostly paperwork based, rarely are field inspections done. The quality of the documentation thus becomes critical to a successful LEED certification. This clarifies why LEED documentation and relevant submittals should be deemed as necessary constituents of the LEED requirements (Wu and Issa, 2010).

2.3 BIM simplifies LEED

Nowadays, Architects, engineers and contractors are now working hard to promote LEED certification, but they often find the process confusing and cumbersome (Wu and Issa, 2010). Many credits require documents that can be continuously prepared to allow construction teams to make informed decisions in the face of changing conditions. For example, if the spreadsheet shows that the percentage of recycling of installed materials exceeds expectations, the construction team may choose to recycle less locally produced products (Frattari, Dalprà and Salvaterra, 2012). Therefore, there are many difficulties in the collection of technical documents during the LEED construction process, and the implementation process is too complicated, which is also a problem faced by many project participants. The project team collects the information and performs the calculations required to meet the credit submission requirements and submits the data to the USGBC. After the project is completed and all documents are submitted, the USGBC will review the information and award the appropriate certification level (Schaufelberger and Cloud, 2009). Glavinich (2008) reviewed the LEED construction process and discussed the role of green material procurement, documentation and commissioning. Glavinich (2008) reviewed the LEED construction process and discussed the role of green material procurement, documentation and commissioning. However, the techniques and documentation required for LEED scoring may not be fully realized by traditional methods. But BIM the characteristics of What You See Is What You Get, Parametric modeling of buildings and so on (Hyatt, 2011), they generate a systematic approach to managing critical information on building construction and project data throughout the life of a building (Wong and Zhou, 2015),it can visualize the complex process of LEED, analyze and explain the steps over and over again, and ultimately simplify the complexity. Because BIM allows multiple information to be superimposed on the whole project, this approach provides an accurate and effective opportunity for environmental performance analysis and sustainability enhancements (Schaufelberger and Cloud, 2009).

Therefore, BIM for LEED, BIM can be adjusted to the Green-BIM application method according to LEED requirements, its nature is consistent with LEED, and the final purpose is also consistent with LEED, aiming to achieve true green building. In the BIM simplified LEED process, the similarity between BIM and LEED can be explained. Because if BIM can’t provide effective strategies and analysis of each step and score point for LEED projects, it is impossible to prove that BIM can be combined with LEED construction stage. Therefore, there is no similarity between BIM and LEED construction.

2.4 What can BIM provide to help meet these requirements?

First, BIM can help project members select effective strategies to achieve LEED credit scores (Wu and Issa 2010). For example, to help users determine LEED target score points and LEED certification levels pursued by project members. Second, BIM can explain and estimate the credits for the LEED construction phase. With BIM, project participants can better understand credit lines and ensure that construction meets such certification requirements (Azhar et al., 2011). Third, BIM can facilitate the document management required to apply for and maintain LEED certificates (Wu and Issa, 2012). At the same time, BIM simplifies the complexity of the LEED construction phase, enabling LEED construction project participants to have a deeper understanding of LEED requirements and goals and provide better solutions. As a result, project management efficiency and success rate can be improved, and the up-front management cost of the LEED project can be reduced.

When the project team already knows the requirements of LEED, the characteristics of BIM can be used to find similarities with the LEED construction phase, and BIM can be integrated into the LEED construction phase based on these similarities. Meet the credit requirements of the LEED construction phase. At the same time BIM simplifies the complexity of the LEED construction phase, it can explain that BIM simplifies the LEED process, decomposes the LEED steps, and promotes LEED scores, indicating that the nature and purpose of BIM is the same as that LEED. In the creation and collection of LEED construction document data, BIM is also creating document data that matches LEED. Finally, the combination of BIM and LEED construction phase is realized. At the same time, green BIM and green LEED coordinate with each other to compensate each other’s shortcomings and can provide more efficient construction project management methods.

3. What methods BIM can be provided to help LEED meet the requirements during the construction phase?

BIM has the potential to promote greater efficiency as it encourages integration of the roles of all project stakeholders and business structures and practices into a collaborative process that enables the reduction of waste and optimization of efficiency through all phases of the project life-cycle (Azhar, 2011). For instance, in order to meet the requirements of the LEED construction phase, documenting the construction phase information is the key to success. BIM integrates all project information. In addition to providing higher quality construction documents, BIM also captures specific information in the construction phase required for LEED certification (Azhar et al., 2011). Through this highly centralized information sharing and management, project team members can access information and extract information (Wu, 2010). This BIM-centric management approach keeps the entire project team in a unified action, and due to reduced project information, change orders or rework are also reduced.

At the same time, BIM represents a shared knowledge base where all the data about a project is available to all team members. The building team uses BIM to coordinate activities, takeoff material quantities, and detect possible clashes between equipment and spaces (Barnes and Castro-Lacouture, 2009). As a result, engineers can use BIM to perform project information credits during the LEED construction phase, such as the ability to view material sources, and the production process, helping to plan credit scores based on material and recycling content percentages.

It can be concluded that BIM can help the credit of LEED construction stage by the following aspects:

· Bidirectional Associativity

Bidirectional Associativity means any change in is automatically reflected throughout the project information (, 2018). Any change anywhere is a change everywhere. All model information is stored in a single, coordinated database (Moakher, 2012). Revisions and alterations to information are automatically updated throughout the model.

· Material take-off

This feature is ideal for material credits used in the LEED construction process and can be used to accurately verify the quantity of material in the cost estimate (Moakher, 2012). As the project evolves, the parameter change engine helps ensure that material take-off is always up-to-date.

· Interoperability

Interoperability enhancements enable users to work more efficiently with members of the extended project team (Moakher, 2012).

BIM can provide project design scope, schedule and cost information in a timely manner. As the amount of information available increases, information visualization has become the core of the entire construction process. All the information is complete and reliable and fully coordinated (Eastman, 2018). When the LEED project begins construction and since the program has been established in BIM, this BIM integration project management allows monitoring the type of credit line planned for each phase of the project, as well as helping to know which credits are most readily available and how to develop (Wu, 2010). Plan to achieve more challenging credit. The entire project can effectively save energy, save costs, reduce pollution and improve efficiency during the construction process.

4. In the final LEED data document submission process, how to share construction phase data documents with BIM, reduce unnecessary human resources?

LEED certification is the ultimate goal of a LEED project (Wu and Issa 2012). In comparison with conventional projects, a LEED project entails a series of unique tasks according to the rating system requirements at each stage of the project delivery. In general, the project team has to meet the performance prescription meanwhile submit appropriate project documentation to GBCI for review on the process of the compliance. (Wu and Issa, 2015). Accordingly, the challenges in the construction and documentation management.

On the one hand, document generation needs to process all the necessary calculations and narratives to prove that the LEED points are met (Ofori‐Boadu et al., 2012). Submitting collections and management requires capturing all key submissions required to apply for additional evidence as LEED points, such as certificates, manufacturer’s documents and invoices. Finally, once the project team is ready to submit some LEED credits, the corresponding LEED online template should be prepared and submitted to GBCI for review. Since usually each LEED credit will be assigned to a project team member, and the LEED credit score will not be independent, it needs the coordination and operation of each department (Wu and Issa, 2015). Compared with the requirements of traditional projects, the process and related documents are still evolving and cumbersome (Duckles, 2009). Therefore, a data sharing library is needed to sort out the sharing score points, and automatically generate the required documentation.

On the other hand, in addition to explicit provisions of building performance, LEED also necessitates enhanced collaboration and communication between project stakeholders. Field crews have to ensure that installed building systems and furnished materials are eligible for pursued LEED credits. BIM facilitates information- centric project management in contrast to the conventional document-centric approach (Wu and Issa, 2012). Moreover, during in the construction phase, construction simulation, program optimization, construction safety, schedule control, real-time feedback, engineering automation, supply chain management, site layout planning, construction waste disposal, etc. This information has always existed in traditional design and construction methods. They are usually recorded in engineering projects in the form of words or forms, which are difficult to organize and difficult to match when used. For example, the use of materials during construction is based on the adjustment of average historical data collected from similar projects and the subjectivity of the construction manager. However, the construction environment is constantly changing and cannot guarantee the authenticity and reliability of data files (Forbes and Ahmed, 2011), but BIM is a shared knowledge resource, a process of sharing project information, providing reliable decisions for all decisions from project concept to construction. The life-cycle based on the lack of information from the construction team, BIM can effectively manage and record this information, simplify the LEED certification process, and make file submissions fast, easy, and effective.

5. What is the positive impact of BIM in the actual construction phase of the LEED project?

Compared with the traditional construction method used in the construction stage of the LEED project, the following different characteristics can be obtained;

· The information is provided in different ways:

The preparation of traditional LEED certification documents requires a large amount of staffs’ intervention and explanation (Moakher, 2012). This makes the analysis cost too high or the time consumption is too high. At the same time, the lack of change management during the construction process has resulted in inaccurate information. The comparison of the selected plans requires LEED certification personnel to obtain a comparison based on the source example. The building data and rich component information that BIM can provide can meet the various documents and materials required for LEED evaluation (Azhar, Brown and Farooqui, 2009).

· Get information accuracy is different

When obtaining the credit score for the LEED construction phase, the project team needs to collect relevant information according to the requirements of each evaluation indicator. Traditional data collection often lags behind the project construction process, resulting in loss of information, and caused cost overruns caused by on-site operational problems (Cooke and Williams, 2018). At the same time, simulations have traditionally been used in architectural and engineering projects to validate designs created by experts in various fields and are often performed on system models with reduced complexity, including overall analysis time and cost (Iorio and Snowdon, 2011). However, the lack of accuracy of the reduced complexity simulation model does not meet the stringent performance requirements of LEED projects. As construction projects become more complex (Jeong et al., 2016), on-site work is constantly changing and changing project conditions (Mikulakova et al., 2010). This usually requires more complex and larger simulations. The challenges associated with this new simulation practice include the exponential growth of strength in data processing and exchange, and the increasing complexity of data formats, taking into account the large number of variables and dynamics that represent the entire building system. Using a traditional CAD system seems to have no effect (Wu and Issa, 2012). Although most materials can be produced using traditional CAD software, BIM technology can generate complete, high-quality drawings and other information through the model, and the generated information can be modified according to the adjustment of BIM, completely changing the traditional sustainable building assessment, certification process and steps. Meanwhile, BIM can perform a variety of simulations, including energy-saving simulations, solar simulations, emergency evacuation simulations, construction schedule simulations, and even simulations of all aspects of building use (Moakher, 2012). Once the project gets more information, they can easily make better optimizations and build project management, cost and schedule control, and effective credit scoring in the LEED construction phase.

· Different resource management methods

Material selection is an important aspect of LEED evaluation. However, communication on the materials required for construction projects is often a major obstacle in the construction process. Construction managers must fight with excess or lack of materials (Alvanchi, Lee and AbouRizk, 2012). Due to lack of material specifications during construction. At the same time, the project team also believes that it takes a lot of time to manage and maintain materials. Hence, BIM parametric modeling attributes provide a comprehensive database platform for specification management, including material information. Based on the platform, other screening settings, such as Revit software can identify specific products and materials that contribute to the LEED score.

Therefore, the disadvantage of the traditional architectural model is that: 1, The construction project is subject to numerous restrictions in the dynamic environment (Hao et al., 2010), the owner cannot grasp the construction situation efficiently and accurately, and there is no unified management platform for all aspects of the owner. 2, The construction team has no accurate and efficient methods for material management, construction progress, and LEED data acquisition. 3, There are no good presentations and discussion methods for the difficult process of the LEED construction phase. 4, In the LEED project, according to the construction quality problems of LEED credit standards, the collection and settlement process is not efficient enough. 5, In the management of the project department, each department is independently dispersed, and the data coordination and circulation are not smooth (Arayici et al., 2011).

        On the other hand, According to Azhar (2011) pointed out, BIM is used in the LEED project construction phase, and the benefits compared to traditional methods are:

· Faster and more effective processes: Information is more easily shared and can be value-added and reused.

· Controlled whole-life costs and environmental data: Environmental performance is more predictable, and lifecycle costs are better understood.

· Better production quality: Documentation output is flexible and exploits automation.

· Better customer service: Proposals are better understood through accurate visualization.

Therefore, BIM can keep the information continuously updated in the integrated digital environment, and can provide information sharing, so that the construction personnel and the owner can clearly understand the project. This information can prompt the construction progress and improve the construction quality in the process of construction and management. At the same time, the process of implementing the LEED credit standard is simpler, more transparent, information-oriented, efficient construction, and help got a higher LEED credit rating.


According to previous research, it can be seen that BIM is feasible in the construction stage of LEED project. Now LEED has become a new business model, attracting a large number of owners, architects, engineers and contractors to work hard to promote LEED certification, and LEED certification management is the construction project management tailored to handle the certification process, the main Key points and difficulties include generating documents, collecting data, and managing information. BIM is a shared knowledge resource, a shared information platform that provides reliable and realistic data for project construction. At the same time, it supports the idea of LEED certification management. But using BIM technology is a huge challenge for construction workers compared with traditional construction methods, and also the trend of AEC industry.


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