Stay slim with BIM

Words:
Daniel Heselwood

BIM is like a diet. Everyone starts working on BIM because it’s going to make them more streamlined, capable of doing more and generally more attractive (to clients). 

The inherent problem with any kind of diet is that you have to do it properly. If you spend the week eating salad but head out at the weekend to drink 10 pints and eat kebabs and pizza, you’re going to undo all your hard work. The same can be said for BIM: if you go out intending to build an efficient model and input the required data to deliver against your requirements but end up over-modelling and adding too much detail, your design will be ‘fat’.

With this in mind, I’ve started reviewing my clients’ models using the terminology of the classifieds:
> Fat: This model carries too much detail, too much information. Not your first choice to take to a dinner party (client meeting).
> A few extra pounds: One you keep hanging in the wings in the event the perfect one can’t make it.
> Average: Perfect model, all the right information curves; a delight to be around.
> Athletic: Looks good in principle but probably doesn’t have much to talk about.
> Thin: Looks good from a distance but just doesn’t have any substance.

If you spend the week eating salad but head out at the weekend to drink 10 pints and eat kebabs and pizza, you’re going to undo all your hard work

Part and parcel of all good diets is the local gym. Joining a gym is great – some people have the passion and drive to go it alone but others find a buddy helps keep them motivated, especially when that person has already achieved what they’re aiming for. This is where working with a consultant can be useful (shameless plug) or taking advice from other members of the design team who have already been through the process. They know the trials and tribulations of ‘joining the BIM gym’. Their experience can help you ditch that spare tyre.

So you have decided to start using BIM. You’ve found someone that can help you skip some of the hurdles. The final step before you can deliver is training. There are many different approaches to training; the one you choose should be based around your learning style. There are three main styles that you can choose from:
> Visual: This could be through reading, for example ‘BIG BIM little bim’ by Finith Jernigan, ‘UK Government BIM Strategy’, or the AEC (UK) BIM Protocols.
> Auditory: There are ample conferences where you can listen to others’ experiences of the big bad world of BIM, for example Inside BIM which is organised through social media, BIM Show Live by Building and Building Design magazines, or London Revit User Group, which also has regional versions. 
> Kinesthetic: A training course is usually the starting block for experience in BIM. Treat the training as a project workshop where you can use a consultant’s expertise to help set up and mentor you through starting the project, learning on the job.

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