Please note the following is riddled with links to helpful sites and articles on this topic:
There have been many articles written about BIM workflow concepts as they relate to Level of Detail. Our own BIM manual home page discusses level of detail in terms of what we model, why we model (vs draft), and most importantly when we model elements.
A more unique concept is level of precision. This has been touched on a handful of times, most notably by James Murray from Rill Architects who wrote an article on Sloppy Modeling. Note the last line of that article, “Precise modeling is essential to Archicad success”. With the exception of office standards for dimension precision (1/64” not ¼”), James’ bullet points can be followed 100% here at WWA. A response to that article was written by Jared Banks of Shoegnome.com. There are some great tips in this article as well; most notably the concept that, at times we may need to work loose and fast, but this should be done in a separate file that will not cause negative implications later on in the main project’s teamwork file.
The big picture is this: whether a project is a pre-design diagram, early schematic design, or design development model, every element should be placed with a level of care which guarantees that the model can continue to be developed without the need for continual clean up and checking dimensions. Even if an exact (final) size is not known for a given element, that element should be modeled to a precise dimension with a precise relationship to its surroundings. This way, when the detail and dimensions become known, the elements can be quickly adjusted or redone without the need to scrutinize every condition.
Model managers should perform regular self audits to check the precision and accuracy of the model. Here is the link to the WWA BIM manual on project audits. Check walls and beams for alignment and orthogonality. Check dimensions for precision, chase out any dimension less than ¼”. Look for a BIM manual post covering Level of Precision at WWA soon.