Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to avoid being trapped by the British BS1192 and other immature BIM Standards?


People with BIM interests (but not necessary practice) like to muse on the ‘BIG questions’ of this field, like if this ‘BIM’ thing is a revolution or an evolution, a positive or negative disruption, the savior or the re-definer of the industry.
The same ones are often much less excited when it comes to the ‘how’ questions of the approach, and when those annoying questions do pop up, I see them often flippantly referring to various Standards, Booklets and Guides for (self) help, as if all that menial stuff has been so-over-resolved, that it is hardly worth mentioning.

Like, ‘Darling, go do your homework, after all the British, who are, ‘by all statistics that matter’ the leaders of this field, published their BS1192, like, ages ago, in fact it is mandated…
so why the question?’

Well, Standards can’t or should not be plucked out of the air based on theoretical knowledge of a handful of people lucky to be in the right place in the right time.
They can’t just confidentially pop out like fully formed baby giraffes running on their skinny little legs by the afternoon of the day they left their mothers’ bodies.
They need to develop slowly, mature like a good cheese or wine – improving every step of the way.

After all, the world ‘Standard’ means more than just, ‘we are important and we want you to do things the way we think they may work’.
Or should be.
Standards, should be a collection of best practices, that have over time been tested and re-tested and proven to be ‘the’ best.
There to make a world a better place for all (or at least the majority), nothing less.

As they are, most BIM Standards, Guides and How-to-do’s that are of ‘importance,’ do not tick the box mentioned above, but are the creation of some know-it-all person, like a dissertation on the topic, in disguise (or not even that,  check recent BIM PHDs).

For the sceptics, they easily can be called as ‘just another tax’ forced on the AEC practitioners at large and the details largely ignored.

So, where lies the truth about BIM’s real significance in the shaping of the global AEC?

Is this the truth?:
If anyone wants to take part in the industry, are these ‘handmade BIM standards’ the only way to go?  
Play the way we tell you to, or you are out.
That is what day say, these so called BIM standard makers – for a while – while they quietly move into cushy, corporate BIM directorships travelling the world.

But, think about, would you accept your 13 year old son coming home one day, with a set of rules headed ‘non-negotiable’ to run the entire household – and agree to implement them strictly without questioning?

Or, would you venture out to write standards, on how to run a fleet of fighter-jets for an aviation unit? Having never set a foot on one of them, let alone flown them?
No experience, does not matter, if you can see that the family (unit or whatever) is under- functional – and you have the right connections in high places, you have the credentials to do just that. In BIM circlers anyway.

Sadly, that IS actually the way in BIM worlds – people that NEVER ever modeled a single wall, column, screw or anything, write BIM Standards, Plans, Strategies for massive projects and do not even feel embarrassed about it.

And the rest pay for their endeavors.
They pay, because, sometimes it is easier to pay another ‘quasi’ expert to face off with the mandatory expert from within the company, than actually questioning the whole charade.

Still, there are some that feel uneasy about the trap – so I offer a couple of suggestions/advice:
Question them on their scope, standards, goals and methods. Point, by point.
Like a 2 year old, do the ‘why’ thing and do not accept ‘because I say so’.
Be prepared.
Don’t accept blindly the ‘we need this for F&M at the end of the project’.
That is a straight baloney – they have no idea how they are going to do F&M at the end, with what programs and file types, let alone LODs. But to make sure, ask them to show how they DO this 6+D thing nowadays (after all, they claim to be the experts) and how will they take it into the future.
Do not accept the excuse that ‘this IT thing is way over the top of your head’ – if you know, how to make real buildings, you are probably more capable of grasping the subtleties of BIM than you are giving credit to yourself.
Ask to see ‘best practice’ examples that their Standards are built on.
Don’t take ‘confidentiality’ as an acceptable answer.

And if the above hints for action seem even more onerous than the ‘play by the rules ones’ – then figure out how to deliver the mandated outcomes with the least of interruptions (and costs) to your own workflows.
Put your dumbest, cheapest CAD people on it and let them plot along – or outsource the whole thing and forget, until it grows up.

And then, here is my alternative.
To achieve a real, punching BIM capability, go paperless!
Choose your people carefully (on a project, in a branch or grouped in another isolatable way) – ‘lock them up’ (not necessarily physically, but seriously monitoring how they work) and ban all paper from their work areas. Then let them loose.  Magic will happen.
Or if not, fire them all and start again.
Standards can wait.





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