How far have you got?

Have you realised that your modelling application of choice also comes with a comprehensive set of 2D draughting tools? It’s not cheating to use them

The big news about the government’s mandate to adopt BIM in all government projects by 2016 is that we are about half way to this goal. This is the perfect opportunity to understand where you are with your BIM adoption and, perhaps, rethink your approach a little.

Software: The first step on that all important BIM ladder is acquiring the right software. I generally advise my clients that the software developer they are most used to is probably the best choice. Typically, like buying a car, people fall for the best-looking, not the most capable.

Training: Are you still sending members of your team off on a two or three day training course where they can learn all about how the software works, and then expect them to be good to go – what could possibly go wrong? When you learnt to drive, did you sit at a computer for three days and immediately apply that to the act of driving? Learning should be done on a real-life project with real-life problems. That’s not to say classroom training doesn’t have its place but it should be backed up immediately by some kind of practical, project-focused workshop.

Setup: Have you got a centralised set of resources that the whole team can use? The industry spent thousands of hours defining the appearance of its CAD drawings – but it’s all too common to be able to recognise the out of the box annotations being used on a drawing produced in a BIM platform. Let’s start applying the same quality requirements we did to our CAD drawings to those produced from BIM.

Modelling: When most people start modelling in BIM, they often model every detail to the nth degree… a door handle on 1:100 drawings, three-dimensional sink basins which will only ever be seen in plan, the list is endless. Have you realised that your modelling application also comes with a comprehensive set of 2D draughting tools? It’s not cheating to use them.

Documentation: As an industry, we’re starting to see more and more of the documentation, defined by PAS1192, being used as contractual information. Do you know your EIR from your BEP*? If not, it’s time to read through and prepare for any clients sending through an EIR. My top tip with EIR is: don’t take it as gospel. Clients don’t always know what they want so question it – if they ask you to use a particular software to deliver the project, consider whether that’s best for you to be able to offer the best design; if not, turn them down – if they want you for your experience, they’ll let this pass.