Sunday, July 28, 2013

Can BIM maturity levels be truly defined at this stage as the UK government’s advisors claim to be able to?

Following my post where I questioned the logic of the ‘BIM Maturity Plan’ adopted by the UK Government, many people felt the need to quickly put me right.
A good sign, of course, that of an industry confidently moving forward.
Never mind, the distrustful minority seething in the corners and asking silly questions.
They are just being jealous, for not having thought of it first, ‘it’ being whatever you like ‘it’ to be when it comes to BIM.

It may be convenient to label the woman ‘mad’ and carry on with the real stuff, of getting to the prescribed level of “BIM Maturity” by the party-faithful.
Still, why not pause a minute and think:
What makes anyone eligible to prescribe that a country’s entire (public) industry complies with a set of arbitrary BIM requirements?
Is it not a bit arrogant to claim authority to know, how to measure the maturity of something without the ‘thing’ ever successfully been delivered in the past, not on a significant scale, anyway?
Let alone for long enough to have a good handle on what ‘maturity level’ would be desirable or optional;
An aspiration dressed up as an exact science?

Someone on behalf of the British public has decided that if all participants of their building projects did as they were told (according to the ‘wedge’ and its supporting documents) – i.e. ‘achieve Level x BIM’ they would get better value for their investment.
This is an extremely long bow to draw.

A chorus of experts with vested interest chiming in unison, that BIM makes sense – is still not a solid proof that ‘any Level of BIM maturity’ will make a hell of a difference to how much in the future the British public will pay for their new schools or renovated hospitals.

If a private company commissioned a similar report and got the recommendation to quickly gear up to Level 2 of this arbitrary BIM scale, surely they would expect some ‘proof’ for it working before they jumped into implementation.

I’m not a British citizen, nor work in that country. So, why should I worry?
Because the ‘architects’ of this scheme are defending their stance of ‘mother knows best’ so loudly and vigorously that it leaves no room for genuine questions being discussed by those not fully convinced.
And because they do not limit their evangelism to the territory of the British Isles.
Their claim to be able to ‘disambiguate’ BIM and put it into nice little boxes (or triangles) is dangerous and far-reaching.
BIM cannot be understood properly without taking into account people’s behaviour, market conditions, un-detected corruption, historical factors and many other aspects that influence AEC projects and their success rates.

Yet, who would listen to the ‘mad woman’ when all the ‘sirs’ know that the solutions are pretty simple and they are the authority on what is best for the global AEC?
They must know.

Would they recommend anything less than perfect to their own citizens?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When is ‘an annual’ not an annual? When a big name university says so; Or is it enough for a big name contractor to do this?

Almost two years ago, I attended the ‘First annual BIM conference in the Middle East’.
It was held in December 2011, a first that I went to, that gifted to all participants a seriously looking laptop-bag AND a hefty BIM-bible, the latter I have been dissecting in my various blog-posts ever since.

Sandwiched between many ‘far-too long’ and ‘far-too self-promoting’ presentations, there was one, that I still remember raising a ‘wow’ moment;
Those that follow my writing may also recall my pre-Christmas post about the kandura –clad doctor; (link below)

That presentation aside, what struck me as unusual beyond the regular hype of BIM conferences was the branding of it as ‘annual’.
‘These guys are confident’ I thought – must have another 6 lined up for the next half a decade to publicly state this to be the first, of many.

And they did not disappoint.
I’m pleased to see, that the second annual conference has been announced for the 16 and 17th of September 2013.
Hmmmm… what about one for 2012?
Admittedly, the official website had got rid of the word ‘annual’, not as sharp was CCC in promoting the event on its own links.

If my style of questioning ‘everything BIM’ irritates you – you will be annoyed at me quibbling over semantics again.
Why can’t I just quietly congratulate them for bringing another ‘top-notch BIM’ event to the region hungry to learn more about it?
Why not celebrate the fact that the ‘largely same crew of presenters’ will lecture about ‘mostly the same topics’ 2 years on, to a hopefully new crowd of enthusiastic BIM opportunists?

Because, I’m tired of this framework where ‘anything goes’ yet hardly anything improves with time.
Someone has got to start crossing the ‘t' s and dotting the ‘i' s.
Why not be me?

Relevant links:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is it me, or is this total nonsense: The trouble with the BIM ‘triangle’? (my reading of the Bew-Richards BIM graph)

Ever since the UK Government had announced its ambitious plan to become fully ‘Level 2 – BIM’ by 2016 I’ve been uneasy about the idea and voiced my opinion on it, here-and-there.
My main concern was not with the audacity of their proposal, nothing wrong with putting the bar high enough to induce a bit of an industry struggle, but could not easily stomach the way they had defined BIM Maturity levels and especially unhelpful I found the Bew-Richards BIM graph to be.

Before jumping into public criticism, I had made an attempt to understand their system of classification, frame of reference and organization into a graph that could be considered a standard Cartesian coordinate system.
The horizontal axis I read as the ‘tools’ the vertical measures BIM ‘maturity level’.
The resulting graph is a steadily rising line between, ‘below 0 maturity’ and ‘level 3’, also expanding beyond, related to the addition (and I guess replacing of) various tools of data-capture and management.
BIM maturity level starts at 1 and anything CAD is considered below…apart from when one CADs in 2D using some sort of a process, then one can be called 0.5 or thereabout.
It really bothers me, that there is variation to the line – i.e. it climbs before reaching 0 – can one be negatively mature in BIM, measurably a little or more, depending on how one CADs?

Come to think of it, there are many industry participants that I’d classify as ‘immaturely BIM’ but probably not in this context.

Maybe, the illustration is not meant to be a simple 2D graph but has 2 horizontal axes one on the top of one another.
Or it is not a graph at all; just a loose visual representation by someone trying to make sense of something terribly complex.
If the latter is the case, I genuinely empathise with the authors.
The complexity of the issue of BIM is huge and very hard to illustrate, being so multi-dimensional, and I’m not referring here to the standard 3+ D’s of BIM, but the historical, political, financial, economic, cultural, technical and other factors that play major roles in the shaping and potential improving of the field.

Still, in an industry overwhelmed by engineer-like-thinkers, should we not be a bit more careful on how we represent our ideas?
Making something look clearly measurable when in reality it is not?
Especially when the results can be such far reaching or damaging as forming the baseline for a government mandated process?

But others may still say…
‘it is YOU that the problem is with, the image makes total sense to everyone else. ’

I welcome further explanations on the topic.