Saturday, May 11, 2013

BIM: apathy, autocracy and the academia

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 peers.
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.
Roll up
Guerrilla-BIM and other, forensic-BIM aided AEC solutions!


  1. For those who read French, this page ( gives an similar insight into this issue. Interesting to compare both situations in slightly different industrial cultures.