BIM by Name, BIM by Nature?

In conversation with Andrew Pidgeon, Head of Engineering and BIM.

After delivering projects to BIM level 2 requirements across a range of Infrastructure Sectors both on Major Projects as well as Frameworks, I have recently been spending some time understanding/adapting to the impacts and changes of how we are to now deliver BIM Stage 2 in line with ISO 19650 Part 1 and 2 standards respectively.

Hindsight being a great thing, this has led me to reflect on the outline requirements of BIM not in terms of best practice, standardisation or procedure that of which we all aspire to achieve, but realising that we need to focus on the softer, human-centred side needed to develop and maintain staff, which will then better enable us as an industry to realise the benefits of collaborative BIM. 

Furthermore, this in part is also to help us remove the stigma that ‘BIM will cost us more’ and to help with the over-saturation of acronyms, abbreviations, conversation and thus, confusion. 


A BIM Title Doesn't Deliver a BIM Project

The term BIM has previously attracted some emphasis on the modelling element in that it is quite common for Designers to assume they are ‘doing’ BIM because they can do 3D modelling, and conversely Project Manager’s typically assume because their house is in order in terms of process implementation that they too are BIM delivery compliant. Just by calling a process BIM supported by 3D design packages and software that can support the storage of information doesn’t mean that BIM by name is inherently BIM by nature. It needs something more, something people focused.

In an aspiration to learn from our past, I believe that the future of successful BIM to achieve both our Client’s and standardised requirements is going to be realised by focusing just as much effort on the softer people skills with education; training and development, accessibility and communications of needs and expectations is key. Also, support and guidance to all Stakeholders with understanding the aspiration of implementing BIM will collectively steer us in realising the benefits of enhanced workflows and assurance of BIM methodologies.

Furthermore, a greater understanding of how to realise collaboration and a more targeted and skilled, cross discipline aware resource pool from all Stakeholders perspectives is also imperative to help deliver a good standard of BIM projects and for it to become instilled and adopted as business as usual.


Conclusion

Therefore, and as per the ethos in the new ISO’s, I believe just as much emphasis should now be steered towards developing resource and translating some of the inherited language which will help in outlining a clear scope of expectations of information delivery, responsibility and learning. Whilst at the same time we acknowledge that it is okay to not know all of the answers from the off and that mapping out a delivery plan against expectations isn’t any form of vulnerability to experience, knowledge or determination of delivering and managing BIM.

Collectively I feel we need to approach the implementation of ISO 19650 requirements not purely on the software applications but going forward as a bolt on to relationship building, which will become an enabling tool for BIM to become a harness for information sharing and development of all creating better more informed Project teams and Infrastructure.

In addition, this approach will help us as an industry create real and true collaboration focused on all Stakeholders; Client, Designer, Contractor, Maintainer and Operational/End User requirements.

We are not machine hearts with machine minds but people centred supported by Digital tool-sets which now in the spirit of the ISO’s need us to be information-centric and responsible with the upmost focus on training needs and development, whilst at the same time harnessing all of the technological advances available to us to create a communicative, dynamic and whole-life conscious product.

This I believe is the future of successful BIM which isn’t necessarily about the software or technology to hand but is equally about education, communications skills and collaboration. This then will allow us to approach and adopt BIM in what seems in discussion a logical approach to Design, Construction and Operational delivery and whole life benefits.

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