After more than 12 months being immersed in the world of BIM I am constantly surprised by the enthusiasm and excitement of those willing to push the boundaries of collaborative design and information management. However for every positive view there is a negative one and ten more if not sceptical then at least are approaching BIM with trepidation.
Some of this can no doubt be attributed to BIM itself, I must admit to being a little tired of the acronym, I hope the rest of the UKBIMCrew don’t find this out! It’s not the three letters themselves that I think are the issue but both the simplicity they convey and the complexity they conceal. It is unfair to blame ‘BIM’ when really it is a lack of understanding that causes people to be hesitant or resistant to the change that it foretells.
The point of writing this is not to complain about what doesn’t work so well but suggest some things that may help improve the process. Complaining is not collaborating, and in my mind they way to make sure that BIM works, regardless of terminology or acronym, is to explore ways to make it betterBIM.
In my experience throughout the AEC industry the skills and capabilities for BIM are present in pockets, it isn’t a revelation to suggest that involving all levels of the industry will help merge these pockets into complete BIM supply chains.
So what can be done:-
- Free training courses explaining BIM to the masses
- There are a lot of great online resources and plenty of networking events organised, many organisations will need more of a shove to get involved. By offering training courses funded by the Government or EU prestige is added and companies will be more likely to sacrifice their employee’s time and get involved.
- Entrepreneurial ventures
- As with any fast developing market it is the smaller companies and individuals who can often be in the best position to capitalise on new ideas and technology. Perhaps assistance with small business loans or funding grants would involve those that currently might be financially limited. The BIM Task Groups competition to design free to use BIM software is an excellent example of this.
- Contract targets for collaboration
- If clients can really see the value of BIM and understand the process then in addition to a BEP and EIR’s and working to the principles of 1192 some creative incentives could help push complete supply chain involvement. In much the same way that sustainability and more recently local sourcing have become requirements and differentiators at tender stage why not have scores from clients for non-generic data in a model.
- Central resource for BIM compliance/capability
- Everyone gets frustrated with filling in different PQQ’s for different contractors, if you add information about BIM into the mix it becomes even more complex. A standard set of data, following guidelines already implemented in the CPIx documents and freely available would help designers and contractors know who is able to help their projects as well as getting the manufacturers message into the market place. The content creation websites are already doing some of this and it wouldn’t take much to have more complete information about the manufacturer’s company structure and skill sets available as well as their objects.
Knowing the good work the BIM Task Group are doing I’m sure that some of this is already in the pipeline. When it comes to it, ultimately the individual companies are responsible for how well any assistance is received. And it’s individuals within companies to make sure that they are pushing boards and budgets to see and exploit the possibilities.
I’m already working on my next blog that will be more pontificating about how BIM will affect manufacturers, including a look into my crystal ball to see what the next 5 years hold, watch this space…..
As always comments and critiques greatly appreciated.