Friday, February 19, 2016

The Caterpillar challenge – Make BIM and the global AEC cool!

My friend, DjG shared a promo on FB a couple of days ago (link at the bottom of this post) that made me stop and read it with interest.

Now this is my kind of a phone!

Interesting self-revelation, as everyone knows I’m not much into gadgets, the length I hang onto my old dumb Nokia is probably only rivalled by my dear friends in India. Currently I’m nursing a 3 year old Blackberry, hoping to last the year out without having to learn to get by with a newer version of it.
What tickled my fancy was not the list of unique features this device offered but the fact that it was mothered by Caterpillar and is looking ‘construction cool’.
In spite of the huge amount of money sloshing within the construction field globally, it is not a ‘cool career choice’ and consequently not the ‘sharpest’ of industries. The higher one goes up the food-chain of it, the thinner the ‘air’ gets – as my personal encounters with many heavy hitters of the industry over the last 2 decades have proven.

The whole ‘BIM thing’ has been trying to change this trend, entice the elite of the young thinkers, the cream of the technology developers and together shake the industry through innovation into a new, cool force to reckon with.
Unfortunately, this ‘BIM thing’ has been anything but successful. After good 2 decades of momentous efforts and moneys spent, the industry still is a boring old slog-for daily survival for the most working in it and an easy dirty road to the riches for a very small minority manipulating within it.

Over the years I have written a lot, on why the currently available (and often mandated) mainstream BIM is doomed to fail and will not repeat myself again. I will pull out one factor though to illustrate the hope a possible alternative might show:
The extremely low percentage of hands-on involvement on any working BIM measured across the project (or company claiming to be BIM enabled);

Simply saying – on a ‘BIM project’ how high a percentage of the people involved can claim to be able to make ‘real, hands-on’ use of the employed BIM approach?
10%, 20%, 90%?
The emphasis is on the ‘real’. Not forced, not pretended, not indirect, not….

Like, ‘it is part of my work and I can handle it by myself and it is a meaningful tool for me’.
I am pretty confident, that even the biggest of biggest of BIMmest of projects currently have a percentage in low single figures, especially if you bring in the construction end of those building.

That could be changed with a 4-step process:
Make the project truly paper free, make Caterpillar phones the official phones of the project, put Adobe into charge of all the data outputs (2D, 3D, 4D…) and link everything to a central model built by and on ArchiCAD.

Not only will this model grow into a global industry success, it would make it cool for young and old too!