Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog-post number 500! The truth is (almost) always in the numbers….

There was a special topic I had been saving up for this nice ‘round number’ as a gesture of goodwill of providing some globally interesting ‘food for thought’ for the steadily increasing group of my blog-readers, instead of posting another one of my usual self-centred servings of whinging;

It was to be a follow-up to the ‘Secret Google magic will save the global AEC’ story from a week or two ago and it was going to be titled something along the line of:

‘Take a page out of Gehry’s book Google, and then learn something out of it…’

See, there is something really nice in sharing this personal milestone of 500 blog-posts with 2 famous entities.
Frank Gehry, the architect and I go back a long way.
Not that he would be able to tell me from a bar of soap;
Google on the other hand knows more about me than my husband and mother jointly do, and that is quite an achievement, in itself.

In preparation for the story I even made a trip to the first Gehry designed residential building in Hong Kong before leaving the city a week or so ago. (see pictures);

But then, again my pathetic little survival game interfered with the celebration plans and I decided to dedicate this special number to another special topic and put up (yet another) challenge for the wider audience.

Faithful readers will remember that not that long ago, I had a whirlwind affair with a well-known entity. (Gammon Construction in Hong Kong);
The affair ended in tears, (mine) when I got kicked out because I alleged some wrong doing by some pretty high-level people within the company. That is my story anyway, the company denies this.

I accepted the job with the named company in the first place partly due to its big-named parents, so I thought that at least the ‘family’ will look into what is happening in this case I would have classified as a typical case of ‘whistle blowing’.
But no, after repeated begging of both sides to investigate, still no progress.

My latest request asking them to at least release what their policies are for such cases has been left un-responded to, too;
(my email request quoted here)

Dear all,
Could you please ASAP send me a copy of your company’s (Gammon, Balfour Beatty and Jardines) official ‘whistle blower protection policy’ and any associated procedures that may be in place to enforce such policy?
If you are not able to do this personally, please provide me with the legal department’s contacts that can.
I’d appreciate receiving these 3 documents by the end of today.
Zolna Murray

So, this brought to mind the thought that begs belief.
Could these three companies, individually and jointly not have such policies in place at all?
Remember, these are not small companies!
The number of people they employ according to their own and other websites are close to 300,000 people.
That is a lot of people, almost like the joint population of Wellington and Christchurch in New Zealand.
Even my beloved Novi Sad’s (in Serbia) population is below this.

Would that many people, working in at least 80 countries (as per BB’s claim) have really no protection any time that any ‘standard employee’ put their hand up and says:
‘Hey Mr Company there is something really fishy going on here, it may cost you a lot of money in the future, can you please look into it?’
Or is this just a Gammon privilege to have its big parents close their eyes to such lack of action discretely?

So, here is my challenge:
I invite anyone from the named companies to write to me ( and send me their own experiences of these companies’ whistleblowing policies in action.
Or at least copies of such documents if they really exist. (full confidentiality, totally assured)
Once I can clarify if my case is really a unique one, I’ll reward everyone that had been reading any of my 500 or so blog post and still comes back to them with the promised Gehry/Google story.
Or maybe even earlier if it takes too long to get that data together.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is the ‘rarefied bubble of advanced best (BIM) practice’ of the UK AEC under a threat suddenly?

I copped a bit of flack when I wrote in my blog recently about the status of the UK BIM being the ‘rarefied bubble of advanced best (BIM) practice’ – even though I dutifully quoted the original source of the claim.

Barely a month after this confident statement the author is somewhat rattled, his latest writing says:
“BIM is a very seductive concept, but the allure of solving the ills of industry should not distract us from recognising the challenges associated with implementation.”

I love the world ‘challenge’ – it so often is associated with BIM.
 While in some other fields it may mean ‘some difficulty in achieving desired results’ when it comes to BIM, more often than not, it means ‘don’t bother, can’t be done…can pretend for a while to try it, anyway’.

There is a point in every committed BIM-mer’s  life, when the big question pops up – often totally unexpectedly, sort of coming from nowhere;
And from that point his/her life will never be the same again - regardless on which one of the two possible paths s/he chooses to accept to follow in the future.
This is the point when one realises that ‘Santa does not exist’ and the ‘tooth fairy really is your mum’. Just, translated to BIM – the entire idea of a single model co-operation based BIM is as far from reality as the little blue people of the Smurfs world are.

This time, as Mr Barker calls for leadership for BIM to happen I may not be the only one noticing a drop of confidence.
I am a bit sorry for him softening his tone – though I’m always ready to jump in and criticise – he sounds like a really Intelligent fellow, writes pretty agreeably – someone worthwhile of giving the benefit of a doubt.

And then, look at his title: ‘Peter Barker is managing director of BIM Academy’ – I do respect it, yet how funny is that on the contrary, myself,  the more I know about BIM the less of a title I want with it.
I just want to be known as a sort of an ‘honest doer’.

Dear Mr Barker, I am so sorry to see the word ‘challenge’ in your writing.
I do hope you reconsider and re-establish that ‘rarefied bubble’ from the beginning of the story.
It gave me such a buzz.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Damage control the Gammon BIM Conference sponsorship way

How much does it cost to be a platinum sponsor for the next HK Institute of Building BIM Conference? (ref 1)
I have no idea, but it generally tends to be a nice chunk of money needed to become the major sponsor for such events.
Still, it must be a worthwhile investment for Gammon to have committed to this expense in times of cutting back on overheads (generally);

Warning: There is a proven double-standard when it comes to BIM conferences;
My attitude to them generally is, that they happen far too often and with far too little on offer.
Can’t do real BIM? Do a Conference on one!
I like to say that the industry is totally over-BIM-conferenced…
Occasionally I do volunteer to present at some of these and get really offended when they reject me (see blog-post a couple of days ago);
Then, just to solidify how much a hypocrite I can be, I get all soft and enthusiastic and school-girly prepared for it,  when  BIMES invites me to present the same (rejected) presentation at their upcoming workshop;

“This presentation idea sounds brilliant! I can't wait to attend it actually!”
Mohannad Altabbal, BIMES General Manager confirms my acceptance.
Oh, the right words to lift one’s ego… dangerous stuff, I know but occasionally I do indulge.

BIMES are in Dubai, let’s move back to Hong Kong; (that is, move the story back)
How did Mr Derek So, the self-crowned BIM expert and director of Gammon, justify this platinum sponsor expense to his board ?
Will it get him on the programme as a keynote speaker?
Last time I looked, there was no-one at all from his team presenting;

Or is this gesture meant to take the audience’s attention away from the fact that they have nothing new to show?
As quasi ‘host’ it would be expected of them to stay away from self-promotion and show some restraint about their own achievements? (after having claimed for years to be the best in HK?);

Or, to the contrary, will it buy them the prime spot for Mr Thomas Ho as the CEO and main BIM enthusiast of the Ex-Co to explain just how important BIM is for Gammon and how much effort they are putting into it.
After all, they recruited one of the best BIM consultants (ex Gehry Technologies-ref 6)  in the world to assist them go to the next level – even though, already claimed to be the best in Hong Kong for a while – numerous steps ahead of the Government, for example. (ref 7)
I don’t imagine they will allow for question time if Mr Ho does present, in case someone dares to ask what happened to the world class BIM expert they shipped in and out of HK under mere 4 months?

Negative thoughts aside, Gammon may use this great opportunity to team up with Autodesk and unveil a ‘Ground breaking new way of delivering the undeliverable BIM scope’ of the 11xx MTR line in a month instead of the specified 3 (ref 2-4) that had well passed for most of the contractors anyway?

Or even more spectacularly, show how BIM is assisting the catching up efforts on the major delays of the West Kowloon Terminus. (ref 5)
My guess that this surprise ‘magic’ will be left for the two gentlemen who will be talking on behalf of  InteliBuild, Mr. Jay Zhu, MEP Engineer and Mr. Mark Roberts Senior VDC Project Manager in their presentation: ‘MTR - Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus - Big BIM for A Big Stage’.

I any case, I wish them a good event, get the best bang for your money Gammon, you’ll need it!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Secret Google Project Could Transform Construction Industry

"Secret Google Project Could Transform Construction Industry" – is the next big thing, wait for it! Numerous friends and acquaintances have alerted me to this news and I…wait for it a bit longer..,  well …I ‘Googled it’ (check for the results, yourself!);

And not one to get easily surprised by anything anymore (in spite of the latest happenings in my life) I can’t believe my eyes, for what I read!

Yes, I am going to be the Grinch, knock the thing straight down even without knowing what ‘it’ is! And bloody well will stay to be the Grinch of this particular topic…Not just a cautious sceptic, but a prefect Grinch that will say: bollocks!

It’s like if the twitter guys suddenly claimed to have discovered the cure for cancer or Richard Branson flew unexpectedly to the moon, oh yes, the latter might just happen… but really…the magic pill for the AEC industry?

Has this AEC thing really sunk this low?  
I can just about say that no communist propaganda of the past could have no longer competed with the rubbish that some media is prepared to publish about the  AEC these days.
Talk about dark ages.

Get real guys! Google was smart enough to drop Sketchup while it was still saleable.
There is no magic pill for the AEC, cloud based or ploughing the darkest of dirt.
It is the industry itself,  is the one that will have to roll up its sleeves and decide if it is going to carry on as a gambling pit or start to play by some more scientific rules.
And Google will be of no/ little help until that dilemma is decided on, globally, no matter on how many ‘o’s it puts in its name.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It all started with a surprise rejection.

No, it was not really a surprise, that…

"The HKIBIM Conference Working Group regrets to inform you that your paper identified below will not be included in the program of the HKIBIM Hong Kong BIM Conference 2011 on 25-Nov-2011.
Paper Title: An alternative form of use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) : BIM Forensics, theory and practice
Author: Zolna Murray
The paper is not accepted as the paper review panel considered that the topic of the paper submitted is not fully aligned with the focus of the conference."

Totally understandable. After all, the conference is being promoted with the following PR masterpiece:

 The HKIBIM Hong Kong BIM Conference 2013 is the premier event and 4th Annual Conference for experienced BIM and AEC professionals to demonstrate the practical use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes using real cases and an ideal networking opportunities with experienced BIM professionals, Executives and practitioners in the industry.

What was I thinking, Forensic BIM?... in Hong Kong?
Anyway… This was just the start. I did look up the programme, a nice line-up of familiar faces and an old favourite to top it off.

Not a speaker, sorry, but a building.
Between the 10:50 – 11:10 on the day of the conference a Mr Stuart Bull, Managing Director, BIM Consulting  will be speaking on the topic of the
Sydney Opera House : BIM for the past, present and future

Over the last 2 decades it had become a bit of a hobby (obsession?) of mine to take an interest in the creation and re-creation of that particular building, to the extent that while researching for an academic paper on the use of Parametric Digital Tools in architectural design (wait for it, in 1996!) I exchanged a pair of letters with Mr Joern Utzon, himself.
So, as I was reminiscing about the time of my first attempt to master Computervision’s CADDS5 through 14 massive printed manuals to enable me do some speculative work on Utzon’s famous shells, I remembered another publication, though much smaller I devoured enthusiastically at the same time: John Yeomans’ The Other Taj Mahal.
And the thought of the little book brought me back to the present.

Yeomans played an important role in the History of the Sydney Opera House. His book about controversies surrounding the architecture, construction and design of the Sydney Opera House, ‘The other Taj Mahal: what happened to the Sydney Opera House’ was first published by Longmans in 1968. He won the Walkley national award for headline writing in 1987.

That WAS investigative journalism. And it was done about a building.
Can you match it with anything like that these days?

And forget the HKBIM conference; I never wanted to go there, anyway – the latest similar one I organised myself and funded it to a minimum of 300K HK$.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What is the point of this ‘silly little war’ of yours?

Numerous variations of this question had been directed at me over the last couple of days, mostly from people I share the country of origin with, many I have not seen for decades.
Not all of them are negative or belittling, more like voices of reason. After all, many of these people, while of my generation, have themselves been dragged into a ‘real war’, about 2 decades ago – were taken to the other side of the river Danube against their wishes to kill people, burn down entire towns and do other unspeakable things  in the name of someone else’s ideals.
Others of those advising me now, were wise enough to move away from their country of birth rather than be part of such atrocities – and often ended up second-rate citizens for the rest of their lives in some other countries.

So, what IS the point of this ‘silly little war’ of mine? – after all ‘it is only construction’ as one of my well-wishers says.
And not that my message is that clear, they point out regularly too, I’ve attacked just about everyone within the industry, from consultants to contractors, pro BIM-mers and those against it, journalist, the media generally, fellow colleagues, the entire supply chain.
People keep pointing out, that ‘it can’t be possible that everyone is wrong and I’m the only one that is right’ – they say there is ‘no global AEC conspiracy, no evil giant corporations ready to walk over everyone and everything’…’just a bit of a wobbly industry that struggles by doing one-offs all the time’. BIM will fix it. Give it time.
I disagree. Naturally.

Yesterday, in my blog I went for the South China Morning Post, attacking them for not wanting to write about any of the hot-topics I’ve thrown at them in my unbridled rage of getting kicked out by Gammon. The post may have sounded a bit OTT and mean, I still stand by it.

One thing, I admit now that I should have added was, that they were not really that unique in their stance, not even in the ‘world of free speech’.

The sad reality is, that ‘we’ have no journalist that can meaningfully investigate construction-related stories. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the world as a global consumer of AEC products and services.
You can read daily about reports of mega projects being late, over the budget, under disputes, below quality, not fit for purpose etc. etc. etc…
But try to put a project director in a questioning chair (and does not even have to be by the media but say, by a concerned shareholder) and I bet my last dollar that the PD will weave the most heart-breaking story around your question – finishing with the crescendo of a conclusion of losing ‘only x billions of dollars’ due to his (far more often than her) great abilities to ‘minimise the damage due to the incredibly unfortunate set of unforeseen circumstances’.
So convincing will he be, that the shareholders will all leave the meeting clutching their handkerchiefs and eternally grateful for this great fellow’s efforts on looking after their investments. Someone will suggest a bonus, a raise, a new position within the company, one-two steps up on the rungs, somewhere even more exotic, say Dubai?

I have been fortunate to get to know the insides of quite a number of mega-multinational AEC companies. I have also been very patient and eager to assist many of those in cleaning up their practices and finding the ‘right way’.

My biggest surprise?  I spent zillions of hours to make it easy to understand.
Time after time, presentation after presentation, step-by-step ‘this is happening to you now and this will end up like this in the future’ – talking to project directors, engineering managers, operation managers, CEOs, CFOs and company owners and every time I get the same thing:
No, it’s not like that, you are mistaken.
Not, tell me more! Let’s go over it again! What makes you think that? Nope.
You are wrong!

Now, if you have never met me in person, you’d think (from my blogs) that I’m always this hysterical, shouting, blaming the world witch-bitch. But, believe it or not, I get into every new job, project, relationship with the idea of making it work. Calm, composed, positive and enthusiastic.
I’m almost always prepared to be argued with, even convinced to be absolutely and totally wrong.
But, this industry has sunk to such low levels that even within the ‘experts’ and ‘specialists’ you come across the biggest of projects that there are, you still get absolute blank stares when you start arguing about any question that combines more than one of technical/contractual/planning or construction methodology topics.

So, knowing this fact of the inside of the industry, one cannot expect the media to be able to meaningfully report, let alone investigate on what is going on.
Those at the very top of the global AEC know this and are still creaming it nicely.

And I will fight this practice as long as I can.
I will fight for transparency and accountability within the global AEC, for consumer rights to know what exactly IS happening on their projects, who is pulling the wool over their eyes and why.
That is my point. Play hard, but play smart. Learn the game, not just the ‘creative story writing’.

You may think I’m alone, a loser fighter, but according to the readership of my blogs, there are plenty of those ‘sitting on the fence’ – waiting for the right time to come.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A service money can’t buy! (stick around readers, I stopped moaning and am all action, again!)

Consider this question: How can a Sheik get the best car in the world, the fastest plane there is and a chef with the most of Michelin stars on his CV to cook his private dinner, yet no certainty when having any type of building built for him?

For years I’ve been accusing the global AEC industry of being rotten and corrupt.
Maybe, I was wrong. Maybe this IS the only industry operating globally that is truly transparent and egalitarian.
If you are a client of it, no matter how rich or poor you are, you get the same ‘crap service’.
OK, maybe not quite the same, money can get you a bit of a better ‘appearing’ service, consultant offices with flesh meeting rooms and leather chairs, Italian coffee machines, perfectly made up receptionist with cut-glass English accents and fly-in specialist in expensive suits and astronomical hourly charge-out-rates.
But higher likelihood that your building will be finished on time and to an agreed budget? Unlikely.

Now, if you belong to this servicing industry, that lets its clients down more often than not – you will have a list of great excuses why things in the AEC ‘are the way they are’.
Most of these will start with the world ‘unexpected’.
Unexpected site conditions, unexpected weather patterns, unexpected labour shortages, unexpected client initiated changes…

Since when has the world become so unexpectedly unexpected every step of a way from the idea of getting a garden shed in one's backyard to actually placing one’s shovels in it?

I have my theory on this question, of course – things started getting off the rails for AEC clients about 3 decades ago but the worst damage was done over the last 10 years and the emergence of the multi-disciplined-globally spread AEC servicing company phenomenon is at the root of the problem.

So, after spending the last 6 weeks of feeling very sorry for myself because one of those (Balfour Beatty) had been really ‘nasty and mean’ to me – it is time to get back to action.

I will get off the ground that missing service the AEC industry needs!
Call it ‘a consumer advocate’ or a ‘hired gun’, I don’t mind, but I’m onto it!

There truly is no other industry in the world as bad as the AEC industry.

And the latest ‘Leighton scandal’ is another proof for this. Whatever way I look at it, it is a ‘fishy story’. Not because of what it reveals but because of all the things it does not.
A ‘pretend investigation’ that does not even scratches the surface.
And you wonder, why?

Why re-heat some old ‘corruption’ stories that at best sit on the fence of ‘is it corruption or is it just paying local fees/taxes to get a job?’ yet leave real, quantifiable cases of blatant misuse of shareholders’ money untouched, no matter how black-and-white the evidence of wrongdoing is?

Why not get a serious look into what this ‘culture of largesse’ means in reality? A set of conditions where those that are in the ‘Hamish circle’ can do no wrong and millions lost on a job under their helm will award them a new post somewhere exotic with an even bigger bucket of money to squander?

Many headlines talk of ‘analysts struggling to quantify damage’ - of course they are, they have no idea just how wide and deep the damages are;
 If they ever knew how to do investigative journalism that skill has been long lost in their chummily and matey dealings with exactly the same Leighton boys, no matter if it was Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai or Qatar.

When I read the annual reports, year after year on why and how the ME-arm of Leightons, under the management of HLG was losing huge amounts of money, I thought we were back in the times of the second world word where a simple message would travel for months from one end of the world to the other often distorted by the end, rather than the 2010-s when a journo could hop on an Emirates plane in Sydney and be in Dubai in 16 hours and interview those guys directly about what really was going on,  where theshare-holder’s moneys really went?

They could have, God forbid, talked to those ‘Arab legacy clients’ often cited in the annual returns (what a word for them) a surprisingly civilised  bunch they would have found, people that like their projects finished on time and on budget.
How unreasonable from them to expect this from the talented globe-trotting Hamish crew that have some other priorities to look after and few skills to keep a company afloat in a real market?

Trust me, this latest Fairfax ‘bust’ on Leighton is just another scam, covering up something much bigger;
Or, prove me wrong, send some real journalist into the Middle East; Interview people like Elias Zraicat, Khalil Mansour, Rob Johnstone, Jeremy Truebridge and Dale Burtenshaw. Trace their backgrounds, if needed talk to their primary teachers, find patterns, identify trends…
Do something real for once!

And as for your New Zealand counterparts, I’ve also checked: no news re Leighton’s ‘scandals’ in neither Stuff nor NZ Herald.

Now, how weird is that? Or is it?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Claim Managers

The BIM Utopia of the UK Government Mandated BIM: When Ex CAD Managers will rule over ex Claim Managers

There is one thing about the UK Mandated BIM thing that is as certain as anything – you do not question it;
If you do, you get the quintessential army of the most serious of BIM zealous-followers  descend  on you with all their might questioning your questions, so much so that you will wish that you just accepted straight up right, that the UK BIM idea was the best idea ever, since sliced bread or even well before that, around the time the wheel was discovered.

The theory works reasonably well for a while, once you get over the ‘triangle-or wedge’ and process all the residual doubt left from knowing the current practices far too well.
Still, there is one thing that keeps on hanging around,. The role, of the ‘claim manager’. Or contract manager, or the QS, dressed in the cloak of whatever colour you like as long as it is is closely related to guessing the best value of work done/or to be done by whoever hires him/her to do so.
And these guys are not cheap. And are very active. Have a look at various forums, pretty vocal too!
What Is going to happen to this body of specialist so vital for the UK industry at present once this squeaky clean BIM thing comes on board? So scientific and exact with no room for the relaxed padding the ex-claim managers are so used to? Anyone prepared to quesss?

The year is 2016.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Birds of a feather flock together: “Building giant Leighton rife with corruption: claims” (

Seeing the title of the article, I should have felt happy, vindicated even -  isn’t this something that I have been warning against for years? Of course I’m pleased – though I never had any doubt that what I was witnessing within Leightons’ crew while working at HLG was the most arrogant of cultures and congregation of people that could ‘do no wrong’.

What is interesting in this article, as in many others is, that though the HEADLINES are BIG AND BOLD the emphasis stays on the ‘little c’ of corruption (as in individual acts) as opposed to the ‘big C’, the  ‘Culture’ of corruption, this latter is palpable, non-omissible, you feel it, almost the moment you enter the premises of such ‘corrupted’ company.

What the public and even the business world find outraging when it comes to corruption are the ‘bribery’ and ‘kickbacks’ – proof straight away of stealing of goods and materials.
Yet, as bad these are, they are  the ‘low hanging fruit of bad corporate behaviours’ and  are  less dangerous for the company impacted by it (or the public, if the company is a public/government company) –.

Much worse … is a loss of significant magnitude induced into an entity through a combination of incompetence-negligence-and arrogance driven behaviour of the top management.
And this is, where Leighton are the Kings. (could not resist the ‘pun’)
Never before had I met an AEC company of their size with people placed as high as they are with capabilities as low as in Leighton. (maybe have since, within my later employer, but that is again, a different story and they are not major JV partners for nothing, after all);

Yet, this behaviour seem to be much often tolerated by shareholders than the ‘fingers in the till type ones’
This phenomenon  interests me, why is that  one individual may steal x thousand dollars and get caught, while another climbs the corporate ladder drawing huge salaries over many-many years leaving behind a string of projects with big losses, unhappy clients and out-of pocket subcontractors., without anyone ever questing his capabilities.

Is this due to very talented financial auditors or extremely incompetent technical ones?
Is there just no one in the media that is able to see through and highlight damages borne out of this type of behaviours and warn readers, creditors, countries whose money and/or names are at stakes?

Well’ we will follow all future reporting on Leighton’s activities with great interests.
I know a very well qualified person that could shine a big torch on some of the trickier contractual/technical issues!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

‘Is Hong Kong what the UK would have been like without the government BIM strategy?’!

Interesting article, in many ways. Let me indulge in a bit of an analysis
(highly subjective of course…)

First a disclaimer – most of what I know about the UK BIM ‘thing’ is second hand – i.e. through highly processed publications originating from the team that drives the initiative and by having worked alongside many ‘UK BIM expert- exports’ as well as companies that have at least one foot in the UK AEC market.

In this article Mr Barker reports back from a trip to Hong Kong and describes his fascination by the noticeable difference in approach to BIM compared with the UK.
He claims that, ‘For the last two years in the UK, we have been part of a government-led initiative to promote BIM as one of the significant drivers to reduce cost and carbon at both CapEx and OpEx stage and this has led to a positive shift in the industry’s comprehension of the benefits at a strategic level.’
Personally, I’d love to know how this ‘positive shift…and especially at a strategic level’ is being measured in the UK.
My associates, working in the UK AEC, that are not themselves hands-on BIMmers  already,  look at this initiative as something that ‘we will do tomorrow, or the day after…definitely before the deadline, when was that… 2016?’ and even then’ isn’t this just the same thing as when we moved from the drawing board to CAD?, it happened, what’s the fuss about, roll in the CAD guys’
And the higher they are of the AEC food-chain, the less interested they are in the BIM-thing.
Unless they are of course the Evangelists of it, in what case they make a nice little career of pushing BIM, especially at this ‘all education – little measurable impact on the real life’ stage.

‘Hong Kong is different’. Mr Barker continues ‘There is no central government mandate and little sign of this changing in the near future.’
I accept this claim to some extent – apart from the fact that the MTR (76% owned by the HK Government) is currently running a major BIM undertaking that I can say at least on its contractual expectation will rival any BIM initiative in the world.

Could Mr Barker really have visited HK and mixed with the BIM-cream of it and not be made aware of this little experiment going on?
Hard to imagine, since he sings praises to Laing O’Rourke’s  BIM work on the MTR’s Admiralty Station interchange. 

He could have dug into the ‘large client mandated BIM’ project that is the Shatin Central Link MTR line a bit deeper, and  enquired how all the impacted contractors were going about it. He may have recognised that the problems in this type of BIM requirement are often due to the lack of capability to enforce it, let alone meaningfully feedback the results. There are complex  processes of claims, arbitrations and other ways of construction dispute resolutions. This includes making deals over a few beers, which still happens much more often on mega projects than the parties involved would like to admit.

Even in the title Mr Barker has given his article:
‘Is Hong Kong what the UK would have been like without the government BIM strategy?’
I sense a bit of ex-colonial superiority, which is odd, considering that a very large number of highly paid UK expats still rule within the HK AEC;

While writing this comment I must disclose that I overstayed my welcome in Hong Kong by a week or two and am looking at new greener pastures.  (there are still some questions of integrity to resolve)

Mr Barker claims the UK to be the ‘rarefied bubble of advanced best practice’ ;
Should I claim the same vantage point?
Rest assured, I will not be holding my breath much in the hope of getting support from the mainstream BIM practitioners in UK as I look for clients for MMA (if and only if) as I’ve poked too much fun at too many of them already.

There, ‘you’ve cooked your goose in Hong Kong’ said an acquaintance of mine – and how right he is – and this may yet prove to be true for much larger geographical areas than HK – but who knows, one day, one day…actions will speak louder than words.