I am a manager of construction information, tools and people .
I believe that hands-on manipulating of project information by all project participants is the key to achieving any meaningful improvement of the AEC industry operating within the post-gambling-era.
I consider myself to be a model-based construction information practitioner (shortened to a ‘BIM- meddler’) rather than an ‘expert’ or even ‘specialist’.
I for one did not, until I was cheerfully invited through
an email today to apply for one of ‘them roles’, a ‘senior’ flavoured one even,
from presumable a number of different graded-ones. * (see ad here)
You must not take my level of un-awareness as a measure of
what BIM roles are to be treated as feasible and practical and what ones as merely
Ever since I first got hopelessly entangled in trying to
define the difference between the various terms of ‘BIM managers ‘that manage
data only and ‘BIM managers’ that manage people that manage BIM data, I’ve been
opting for a much simple way of looking at classifying people working within
the BIM field, onto those that know what they are doing and those that do not.
When I first read about this role, I thought it was a merely
a retort of the architects as a group to the IT industry on the whole for them
steeling the precious term ‘architect’.
Then, I thought, it made sense. Good BIM practitioners do
analyse data, some even specialise in the analyses of the data embodied within
highly intelligent digital representations of buildings.
Finally, after many re-reads, I settled to treat the
job-ad as a good-old HR creative writing.
The decider was the list of ‘requirements’ this SENIOR
BIM analyst was supposed to bring to the table:
1/ the person had to have a degree in BA Architecture,
Civil Engineering or equivalent – fair enough, a good startnot much to complain
2/ s/he needed to prove to have had a minimum of 3 year’s
practical experience working in a BIM role across multiple sectors – starting to
get suspicious; 3 years post grad, for a senior role, in BIM? Enough to get to
understand how the industry operates AND learn BIM?
3/ s/he must be experienced in using ArchiCAD, Bentley,
Microstation, Revit, Tekla and Solibri on live projects
A minimum 1-2 years experience in all of the above
... a place to stop and take a deep
From the medley above, I could distil at least 4 products
that would each require a number of years of serious practice for anyone to say
they were competent in it...
but... it goes on, with quantities and audits and IFC and COBie...
You can say I’m being overly pedantic, am splitting
hairs, slowing progress of BIM uptake or whatever...
After all, the ad says ‘minimum’.
And this is the
critical one: ‘minimum’ IS set too low – there is just too much needed to be
learned to be a good BIM-mer to be able
to achieve this, 3 years out of school.
Surely, it can’t be in the industry’s interest to play at
such low and terribly incompetent levels as this job-ad indicated.
BIM is a field that require maturity and experience from
My third, latest and probably final
attempt to get into serious post-graduate academic research started with a
‘hiss and a roar’ about 2 years ago, only to fizzle out suddenly over the last
couple of days.
As is often the case, it was not one
single event that caused me to re-examine the wisdom of the proposed research
plan, but a combination of factors.
The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’;
the final sledgehammer, is (HMG) UK Government’s BIM initiative that I’ve
engrossed myself with lately.
As foretold, I made a thorough study of
the ‘Report for the Government Construction Client Group Building Information
Modelling (BIM) Working Party Strategy Paper’.
If the strain of grinding through this
document did not get my blood pressure to risky heights, the limited
communication that I managed to squeeze out of its authors through subsequent correspondence definitely did.
It would be fair and professionally
correct to list publicly my observations and let them be scrutinised by my
But to borrow from my teenage daughters’
vocabulary: what’s the point?
When a ‘star-studded committee’ of ‘my
peers’ can make claims from within my field of expertise, such that my eyebrows
rise to positions dangerously close to my hairline, then remain there
indefinitely, should I really consider them to be my ‘peers’?
Or, from their side of the podium, why
would they think of including me, a mere practitioner, who is so unwilling to
swallow the stuff they shovel out to the masses and would only describe what I
think of their theories with further torrents of pomposity?
No, we are definitely and totally
incompatible in our thinking of what BIM is, has been and could become, what
are its strengths and weaknesses and how any participant active within the AEC
(including all governments) could and SHOULD benefit from it.
My thinking is obviously with odds with
the large majority of the ‘supposedly enlightened BIM practitioners’ active in
the global AEC as well.
There is a palpable resignation to there
being ‘a one and only - Mother knows best BIM - theory’ hanging over any event
these guys partake in.
The arrogance of the decision makers is
supported by the ignorance of the academia and held in place by the apathy and
subversion of the ones that should know better.
The news is not all bad though.
If the global AEC is run by such high
level of incompetency and ignorance as I observe it is, there must be plenty of
opportunities left for those that can read the situation well and prosper from
the mess the industry is in.
Guerrilla-BIM and other, forensic-BIM
aided AEC solutions!
For a staunch, die-hard BIMmer, I committed the biggest
sin there is.
I’ve been publicly criticizing various governments and
large AEC-clients on their attempts to encourage wider use of BIM on their
There is one thing to comment unfavourably on a
particular BIM software-package or even a service provider. However, it is a
totally different ballgame going to the place, where no BIM supporter would
ever venture: question the viability of large scale BIM plans.
Even if you alienate a lot of people by condemning some
aspect of their favourite toolset, there are plenty of others that will think alike.
However, questioning any aspect of anyone’s attempt to
make BIM more mainstream is seen as a major act of sabotage and will leave one
(me in this case) totally ‘out in the cold’.
How dare I say anything, when finally…FINALLY… they are
ASKING FOR BIM?
In fact, not just asking, DEMANDING, MANDATING!
Can’t I spare a thought for all those first-generation
BIM practitioners that have been living in a sort of industry-exile for decades
and keep my mouth shut?
Why can’t I just gracefully accept, that success ‘has
happened’ and it is time to enjoy the fruits of our long fight for the
industry’s acceptance of BIM?
I can’t and I will not.
The current hype around BIM is shallow, uninformed and
has a short shelf life.
It is promoted by opportunists that have run out of ideas
for easy fixes for the troubled industry.
The stronger they push, the faster the flame will burn
Once that happens, these enthusiastic BIM supporters will
move onto the next shiny thing to chase, leaving those that have painstakingly
built their BIM skills up over time, to pick up the pieces.
Just as I was putting up the question
relevant to this topic on my blog* last week, a headline ‘liked’ by a long term
LinkedIn-associate caught my eye:
“Given the efficiency gains possible
with building information software (BIM), its use is growing fast…”
It said. So, I went and looked up the
article, written by Michael Bleby and published online by the Business Review
A short and snappy write-up, it offered
a couple of interesting morsels for me to ponder over. Unfortunately I could
find neither real ‘proof’ of the ‘efficiency gains’ he was referring to in his
opening paragraph – albeit qualified as ‘possible’, nor for the ‘growing fast’
In truth, he did include various
estimates from a report (originated in 2010) forecasting possible savings
measured in billions (AU$) but all-in-all, had not offered the type of meaningful
evidence I expected, reading the intro.
I’ve been an extremely impulsive person
all my life;
it has been a great achievement of mine
to have tamed this ‘beast’ to some extent over the last couple of years.
So, rather than ripping into the poor
fellow straight away with my comments, or quickly write an obnoxious and
whinging blogpost – I put the article aside for a couple of days.
Today, I set down to properly read
through it, maybe even analyse the report (100 pages!)…
Surprise! It was gone!
Not the article, it is still there.
The first paragraph (by-line to the
title) that started with the word ‘given’… has disappeared since…
Instead, it says: “Seeking Standards:
The BIM Project”.
So, I’m going to put up the question to
the writer of the article, why did he remove that particular sentence?
Who advised him to do so?
And why did they not (while at it)
correct the sub-title “Who talks to who” further down the article? (it should
be ‘whom’, I think)
This statement and accompanying question originates from
my observation that the majority of authors writing/talking on BIM these days spend
very little time/effort in presenting robust evidence on the results of BIM ,
rather, they tend to jump into the ‘thick of it’, focusing on the ‘how-s’ and
You ask almost anyone nowadays associated with BIM about
the ‘proof that BIM ‘works’’ and a high number of them will brush the question
aside with the notion that it is a ‘no-question’ at all.
As if somehow – definitely unbeknown to me - it had
become a universal truth, that ‘BIM – works, full stop’.
Few would even ask in return for me to define ‘works’ in
the original question or offer any qualifiers starting with ‘it depends….’.
No, BIM: works.
As part of a research* project, I recently I set out to
explore two highly influential BIM publications.
I’m still progressing through this process, nevertheless
the first impression is that they are not much better than the rest of mainstream
BIM practitioners, especially when it comes to providing evidence, that BIM
This of course can be explained by the facts that one
(The Book**) is a Handbook to BIM, (so if you do not believe that it works, why
bother reading it) while the other (The Report**) takes its terms of reference
to consider the benefits of BIM, in relation to the end-client, the UK
Still, I would have thought that, for their own peace of
mind, they’d start with the ‘what’s and the ‘why’s.
The Report is a bit more specific when laying down the
foundation to its recommendations:
“We have already demonstrated very significant savings
derived from adopting the BIM approach”
The authors may have set limitations to the size they
wanted their document to be and thus elected for these proofs not get into
Well, here is an opportunity to correct this omission; I
invite them to release data that will support in a scientifically acceptable
manner their claims on those ‘significant savings’.
Indisputable observations collected over a significant,
large number of examples, peer-reviewed by independent experts will suffice, just
saying instead, that it ‘makes sense’, will not.
In contrast to these authors I, on the other hand, am
prepared to put on record that I know of no evidence available that BIM
I will also state, that a party, however genuinely
attempting to up-skill to BIM will by no means be guaranteed any more success
in their endeavours than an equivalent one that chooses not to.
This applies (unfortunately) not just to individuals
within the industry but companies, small and large and all construction clients,
including mega-clients, like governments.
Frankly, there are still too many ‘other’ methods available
for any party to achieve ‘success’ in AEC –the term ‘success’ covering rewards both
of financial and non-monetary nature.
Most of the ‘other methods’ are simpler, more established
and definitely less expensive than getting a ‘working BIM’ off the ground.
Be that a new building gained for less than what’s ought
to cost, for a client, a not-deserved payment received for being unjustifiable
late, for a contractor, or a bonus for an incomplete, cheaply done, outsourced
design produced by a consultant.
Any combinations of these phenomena are happening all the
time across the industry and the fact that the perpetrators will more often
than not get away unharmed, gives no incentive to others to work ‘better’.
Therefore I, for example would never be heard stating
that ‘BIM works’, nor that ‘Applying BIM will save you money’. Not without a
lot of qualifiers and specifics explained. Those nasty little ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’,
of course make the subject too complicated and difficult to digest, so most BIM-authors
tend to ignore them in favour of simplicity.
Apart from the quest for simplicity, those that are
prepared to accept the lack of evidence of BIM’s effectiveness may argue, that
it is in the interest of the ‘public good’ to do so, especially if one acts for
the government. Or, that only by jumping over the ‘current messy reality’ of
the industry at can we build foundations for a better future.
Nevertheless, you cannot ignore the context BIM is used-or
contemplated to be used in, no matter how small or large a project is, nor the
type/shape/size of the entity that is considering trialling it.
No matter how well-meaning their reasoning might be, I
see those that do it acting in a patronising and dangerous manner. It can’t be neither
in the public nor the industry’s interest to be deceived by those they treat as
It is also disingenuous to ignore the fact that the
global AEC industry operates by allowing widespread speculative pricing, awards
jobs to those that undercut others knowingly, tolerates if not outright encourages
bluffing and manipulation, makes up for losses with claims and through
A major emphasis must be put onto evidence when promoting
BIM, ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’; otherwise, as more and more industry
participants jump on its bandwagon, uninformed and with inflated expectations,
another statement will soon become the ‘universal truth’: BIM does not work!
Building on over 25 years of work experience within the
field of AEC and extensive use of digital tools /processes in practice I recently
embarked on a formal study-project, with the view to explore the field of BIM
within a more structured, academic framework.
As part of this research I plan to define global-BIM’s
status at present and assess its likely future within the AEC.
I’m particularly interested in how the manifestation of
the Global Financial Crisis impacted on the shaping of BIM’s present and wonder
if it will significantly influence its future?
My goal is to collect data that goes beyond the usual,
highly speculative, ‘wishful thinking’ that the field is saturated with.
For such a diverse industry, all research seems to be too
cohesive and in synch, simply too much consensus with little visible results in
Part of my methodology is to analyse two publications in
debt, one being the BIM Handbook: A Guide to Building Information Modeling
for Owners, Managers, Designers, Engineers and Contractors authored by a
group of experts led by Charles Eastman, the other The report for the
Government Construction Client Group Building
Information Modelling (BIM) Working Party
Strategy Paper prepared for the UK Government by the
‘BIM Industry Working Group’ co-chaired by John Lorimer and Mark Bew. (I’ll
refer to them as ‘The Book’ and ‘The Report’)
These two documents, while quite different in type/role
and objectives, share a high level of ‘across the board acceptance’ and credibility
in the industry.
Therefore, they make a good choice to form the base for my
exploring some of the essential issues related to BIM even before I embark on the
main subjects of its present and future.
Over the next couple of months I intend to compile a
series of fundamental questions (and/or statements) related to the field of
BIM, search for applicable data and quote from the above-mentioned publications
and contrast or complement those with what I find elsewhere, including within
my own humble experience.
I will also invite the authors and contributors to
comment, argue, question or add to the discussion in any way they feel
I will use the recently established E!BIM Group on
LinkedIn to host these discussions with some of the more personal/background
writing limited to my DebunkTheBIM BlogSpot.
Anyone interested in the subject is invited to join and comment;
only extremely irrelevant/rude contributions will be moderated out.
One very much-liked claim of BIM
promoters is that BIM enables designing architects to be better at what they do.
Like the good old ‘Red bull’ ad, they
imply ‘it gives you wings’, ‘unleashes the creativity from within’, lets you
fly freely without the constrains of the drawing, paper based or digital!
They often use Frank Gehry, the poster
boy of the ‘brilliantly creative’ as an example of someone that made those whimsical,
awkwardly beautiful buildings he is famous for, purely thanks to BIM.
I find this interesting, having watched a
documentary on Gehry numerous times.
For me, despite of all the wizardly
around him, he looked most comfortable working with pieces of shiny paper and
And possibly ‘in his mind’, like many
truly good architects have done for centuries and probably still do.
But, let’s put Gehry and other ‘iconic’
architects aside and look at the ones closer to home.
I’ve been involved with a project for a
year now that had ‘obviously’ been designed using a digital model.
Not a bad thing on its own, had the
designers taken the model ‘all the way’ and ensured full coordination between
various disciplines and documents. They did not do this – an issue and its
consequences I will not discuss here, for obvious reasons.
There is however a question I have been
asking myself while looking at the ‘ins and outs’ of the project that has
‘public good’ relevance:
Have the architects been ‘using’ the
capabilities of the digital modelling tool to enable them to come up with the
‘weird and wonderful’ or has the model instead been driving them and the design
into some risky areas normally they would not go to?
Next, the follow-on, more generic
Can the ease of making credible looking
models of yet-to-be-built buildings distract designers from doing proper due
diligence on constructability?
Can the way models behave possibly encourage
unconscious complexity of forms going well beyond practical?
Are the models really able to tempt,
lure, and seduce the designers into dangerous territories?
Make them use angles, twists, curves and
steps when cleaner, simpler, straighter would do the same or make it better?
I know, this line of thought could lead
to opening the ‘can of worms’ about design
styles, aesthetics, client preferences etc…
But, it is not my objective to stir up that
dust-cloud just now –
I am genuinely interested by the relationship
between the toolset-the user- the end design.
I can use it a bit more freely since it
is public and with pictures on the net, although not yet
There is an amazingly ambitious roof-shell
designed for ‘a’ villa on an artificial island that is definitely a
collaborative brainchild of a creative (young?) designer and a faceless surface
For a bit of fun (again without
questioning beauty or appropriateness of the design) I looked at the scale of
the thing and made a mental collection of question of buildability.
To give a good understanding of the true
size of the structure – I placed a car and a person alongside.
And for those that like citing
manufacturing as the example to follow with AEC processes, I enlarged the V-Dub
7.5 times to fit under the shroud.
Idealist BIM-mers will tell me to stop
being so negative and let ‘designers push the boundaries of their imagination’
with whatever tools they wish, as only then will true masterpieces happen and
BIM tools reach their rightful potential .
A bit like an ambulance driver that has
seen too many sad results of irresponsible speeding, I can only repeat what I
said numerous times before:
BIM is as much a weapon as it is a tool.
Potent and dangerous.
So often was I told to be ‘ahead of my
time’ over the last 20 years, I almost got to believe in it myself.
The flattering concept certainly helped
me keep on fighting the ‘war’ that did not seem to progress into spitting out
clear winners and losers, just ‘second bests’ on both sides.
This idealistic image of a revolutionary
fighter must have blinded me to the fact that the other side really could not
care less about my theories, especially not while they were set to make as much
‘hay’ as they possibly could, since the sun was shining upon them.
Must have reached a new level of
maturity in my life, as I now clearly see that what I was practicing then (and
am still now) was not ‘revolutionary’ but a desperate attempt to keep
‘evolution’ on track.
An evolution, that would have helped an
industry, mature and well-developed over a long history make good use emerging new
tools to become more productive and better performing across the board, had it
had the chance.
For a long time the industry had been
split into two groups: those that consider themselves to be pro BIM
practitioners – a tiny minority, and those that act at best BIM neutral – (read:
could not give a toss if it is 2D/4D-25D) – a large majority.
I used to define this phenomenon of the
industry tearing up along the line of BIM as ‘it does not pay to do a good job
when the industry plays along gambling rules’.
Still, for quite a while I had not quite
recognise just what an uneven fight this really was, of pro-evolution BIM-mers against
the majority set to disrupt the process and retain the bizarre, non-sustainable
status quo that bread shoddy work practices and short term gains.
At the end, curiously enough, it was the
‘other side’ that clarified to me, what was going on.
Suddenly, and almost overnight – many of
those non-BIM-believers that managed to repeatedly shrug off everything BIM,
without getting penalized in any way, realised that the ‘wind had changed’
blowing some clouds in front of the ‘sun’ that was so generously warming them
for such a long time.
Still, they could not just turn around
and say – ‘hey, you BIM (VC and the like) guys, you were right all these
years’… no, they could not, of course.
They could also not admit to letting an
entire industry erode to the levels of (technically) skill-less manipulators
and knowingly be party to it turning into a speculators controlled circus.
How could they?
Instead, they had to swiftly find a
‘revolutionary idea’ that would fix all the problems now bubbling up:
A badly performing, sluggish industry.
The no longer easy to hide image of anti-innovation
A fragmented and hostile workforce.
A bleak looking balance sheet.
disinterested young generation and resulting difficulties in finding new
supplies of ‘doers’.
Luckily for them, they did not have to
look far and long – there it was: BIM!
So cool and innovative, so green and
LEED, so OM and FM so IPD and lean!
When a person has been working with BIM
for a long time – s/he is likely to develop the habit of extensive use of allegories.
Having also fallen a victim to this
phenomenon, I can only explain its lure as a less painful alternative to trying
to describe relatively complex-concepts, over-and-over again, relying purely on
the badly defined and highly limited field-specific jargon that is on offer.
For example, when I explain the
difference between ‘informative’ and ‘instructive’ DRAWINGs I usually still get
but, when I try to apply the same
concept to digital models – I almost always draw a blank.
So, here is my analogy I use on ‘informative’
and ‘instructive’- digital models:
ask people to visualise an expertly prepared, high quality dish!
(say a ‘Grilled Salmon in Grape Leaves
with Tomato-Raisin Relish’);
This, then I say, is the equivalent of a
fully defined design for a building
(i.e. the client – via the designers
knows exactly what the dish will need to look like, taste like, smell like, feel
like etc. etc…)
If this client then provides to an
‘unrelated chef’ a representation of this dish (building design) for the
purpose of obtaining a proposal for the preparation of a dish equivalent to the
‘designed’ one this process is pretty similar to an AEC tender;
The representation can be a picture (2D)
with labelled explanations on what is what, a 3D digital model of it with
metadata included on each component (3+Ds) or a copy of the dish itself…
And no matter how good a quality these representations
were, without a recipe, these would be ‘just’ ‘informative’ models or
drawings/pictures and offer no certainty that the replica will indeed be of the
A recipe accompanying this dish (again
can be in many formats, written, drawn, recorded as a Youtube video) is what
will turn the ‘informative model’ into an ‘instructive’ one, making it much
more straight forward to scope-, price-, plan for.
Not a guarantee for quality but a
contractually much safer bet for the client.
In the 1990s AEC environment ‘explicit
instructions’ were out of fashion ‘performance specification’ was the norm;
The promoters of the approach claimed,
it was best to leave everything to contractors to figure out, pricing and then
building jobs from loosely drawn concept designs.
They validated their approach by identifying
contractors to be the ones to best know their ‘means and methods’, i.e. the
true masters of their trades!
One can argue similarly, that in the
dish-proposal, COMPETENT chefs would just as easily figure out what needed to
be done, how and when and should be unnecessary as well as counter-productive to
constrain them with overly ‘prescriptive recipes’.
Yet practice shows that this is unlikely
to work – ambiguous scopes, lose instructions lead to paralysed projects more
often than not. Imagine 2-3 subcontractors working from performance
specifications trying to simultaneously install wall/facade/joinery systems
that have no clear, unambiguous ‘skeletons’ given to them to work from. Even
preparing shop-drawings would easily turn into a never-ending game of chasing
each other’s tails, let alone work on site.
On the other side, it does not need to
be all-or-nothing, between whether clients should prescribe or describe.
Offering ‘chefs’ (or
in the AEC equivalent contractors/subcontractors) the option to come up with
‘as good/or better’ work alternatives that will still match the specs of the
desired outputs by drawing on their own specific knowledge can be extremely useful
However, substitution needs to be
carefully managed and preceded by clear, clean, unambiguous recipes forming an
explicit baseline to work from.
The company VICO has long ago figured
out that ‘recipes’ can be useful to describe the non-graphical qualities of the
metadata in their AEC projects.
While their recipes were initially
created for the purpose of time/cost scheduling by the contractor there exists
the possibility to expand them further into including ‘other instructions’ like
directives on manufacture or installation.
This is at least one toolset that is able
to be developed to meaningfully serve ‘instructive models’ should there be a
real demand for them and I know of attempts made by various other software
So, it is safe to assume that mandating
for standardised, ‘instructive models’ by any AEC client is a totally valid and
in time practically feasible idea!
In line with that thought, looking again
at the UK Government’s initiatives I ask again:
Should the UK Government, as a large
building owner prescribe how its buildings are designed and created?
Should it be highly specific on the
deliverables expected from the various providers?
Is it heading in the right direction
with the way it is mandating BIM?
To close off my argument I’ll return to
the ‘dish’ analogy:
The UK Government is currently
prescribing the spoons, the knives, the spatulas its ‘building chefs’ must use.
Oh yes, and the kitchens they are to
operate in, down to the floor tiles and the specs of the ovens.
But, no word on the need of ‘instructive
models’ or simply called: recipes.
As if assuming that those tasked to build-off
these ‘mandated’ (information) models could easily reverse-engineer the
information without the need for the instructions.
An extremely brave assumption, that is.
Understanding the difference between
‘informative’ and ‘instructive’ DRAWINGs and mandating for the second NOW would
be a good first step and definitely a prerequisite to dabbling into a highly
ambitious BIM approach.
Note: in this post I ignored the many challenges
that the process of ‘getting a viable design together’ – or if you like,
defining the ‘dish’ (building) poses in the first place, not because this issue
is less relevant to the topic but because in the scheme of things, it is still
i.e. consultants are generally still more
capable to design and describe their buildings then meaningfully instruct others
on how to build them.
(Design & Build schemes have their
own ‘extra’ flavourings to bring into this picture too, I left them out to keep
the argument as simple as possible);
They, being the CIC, the ‘architects’ of
this document and its sisters, the various guides and ‘best practice’ manuals.
Also the authors of close-to-3000 links
that Google offered up as a response to my inquiry on the topic.
Admittedly, I have not checked them all
out individually, but the consensus is there (again) –
BIM as described by CIC is here to stay,
they have the best recipes on how to do it, no worries regarding insurers,
Well’ let’s look at this insurer issue
What the supporting guide says is this:
“…So, the first time you enter into a
contract which utilises level 2 BIM, make contact with your PI broker to ensure
that they (and your insurers) are comfortable with what level 2 BIM involves
and that there are no policy terms which could cause problems.
For the overwhelming majority of
consultants, this will not be a particular issue and no insurance market with
whom we have spoken has given any indication that level 2 BIM gives rise to
Similarly, no insurer has indicated that
any particular “endorsement” or policy modification is required to note this
activity, which although novel, is not sufficiently different from the norm to
warrant any significant affirmative action from insurers….”
Maybe things are truly much better in UK
than in the rest of the world I’ve been working in over the last 2.5 decades.
Maybe I’m looking at things the wrong
way, from the wrong end or just being unnecessarily negative – but let’s just
examine the above statement in the context of a ‘real project’ and to make it
even easier, let’s assume we are operating on Level 0 (CAD drawings!) of the BIM
(i.e. what is currently industry
Consider a fairly typical project:
am the architect of a medium sized apartment building (8 stories high, 12
apartments/ floor – 100 apartments all together, including a couple of
part of my IFC document-set I provide to the contractor CAD files showing the
outlines of the slabs of all of the floors.
contractor receives these CAD files and distributes them between various impacted
subcontractors as well as uses them to prepare own shop drawings.
are no figured dimensions; each party is free to ‘use’ the ‘model’ as needed.
This is excellent: In contrast to
current everyday practices where often 20+ different disciplines ‘run-around’
each other’s shop drawings to find some approved physical anchors to fix their
own products to – everyone will use the architect’s drawings and work in
in time and cost on offer and we are only talking Level 0 BIM!
Pull that up to Level 2 and the savings
will be enormous!
Or, will they?
We could ask a number of practicing
architects to run past their PI-insurer the idea that from now on, they will
provide no dimensioned drawings, just ‘Level 0 BIM/CAD’ files for construction.
Would the insurers really say, ‘please,
be my guest? After all, it is all in line with the CIC protocols’…
Or would they rather be laughing their
heads off instead?
Feel free to call me an anti-innovation,
obnoxious, party pooper.
But also, why not treat me to an
explanation on, how is this idealistic, dogmatic and rose-tinted way of looking
at BIM going to help anyone, anywhere doing real AEC projects?
How will it support a single contractor to
accept a digital file (albeit at Level 0) provided by a consultant and use it
without the worry of being sued from 3 different directions for ‘interpreting’
Or, even better, how will it encourage
even one consultant to stop producing ‘masses of drawings by weight’ (soft
and/or hard version) and take full responsibility for their design and outputs?