Forget the hype – implementing BIM is time-consuming, costly and difficult but well worth the effort in the end
BIM (short for building information modelling) is the buzzword in every forum and group within the AEC industry these days. The term has become so overused and over hyped that I doubt many really understand what is involved in bringing the technology to productive use. As much of the ‘active’ use of the technology lies close to the ‘coal face’ I suspect senior managers are the least informed individuals within your business.
In this brief blog, I want to highlight four points a BIM virgin needs to consider when the dreaded call comes from above – ‘we have a BIM job starting next week…’
The animations look great but lets face it spinning models and producing pretty pictures can only get you so far. The software salesmen will tell you what the software can do but you will probably find out what it can’t do the hard way. The current media hype is aimed at seducing senior managers into believing that BIM can solve all their woes. With time, effort and investment BIM will improve the way we deliver projects but this will not happen over night. Do your homework and don’t be seduced by the hype.
You need a plan
Many CAD Managers produce a company CAD policy, they include it the CAD manual, and forget about it. Now is the time to open that document and refresh the content. How can a model improve how we work? What do I need to change to facilitate the use of a model in our delivery process? What do our clients need from us in terms of project deliverables? At first there will be more questions than answers but keep going. Look at what you do, how you do it and how you deliver the result. Record your findings and encourage others in the business to contribute. Engage senior management and get their buy in to your plans. Define a strategy.
Don’t be afraid to ask
BIM is an evolving technology and I doubt if anyone knows everything. But there are a number of experienced people who have made mistakes and overcome problems. Whenever the opportunity arises talk to people in your industry sector and ask for advice. Most good BIM people are willing to share knowledge and move the technology forward. Make contact with experienced BIM users in your industry sector.
Much of the marketing that BIM software vendors bombard us with revolves around concepts that senior management teams love, like “ease of use” and “higher productivity” — making it appear that adopting BIM will be an easy process. In reality, implementing BIM takes a substantial amount of time, money, and training, and the investment typically doesn’t start returning a profit for years. Be realistic, Implementing BIM is stressful enough as it is — don’t let unrealistic expectations among your management team make it even worse.
It’s a great time to be in construction despite the downturn. BIM presents us all with a chance to carve out and exciting strategy for your business and help everyone with the tools that they need to secure new business and successfully execute profitable projects. It’s a chance to combine your love of construction with the latest technology…and add your own common sense and enhance your value within the team.