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BIM is there to help

Words:
Pantelis Ioannidis

There's more to BIM than acronyms and buzzwords

The other day I shared with my office the results of the recent NBS National BIM Report 2017, in which 62% of respondents claimed to have adopted BIM and 70% of them to have achieved Level 2. A colleague emailed me back, ‘you guys are taking over… scary!’ Two things struck me straight away; one was the figures themselves and the other was my colleague’s response. He was obviously joking but it made me think.

Many people seem to think BIM advocates are a closed lobby trying to take over the industry and hinder creativity, speaking an unknown dialect in which every other word is an acronym: ‘The BEP is the response to the EIR, includes the MIDP, the MPDT and lives in the CDE which is managed by the IM… Do. You. Understand?’

Truth is, BIM workflows don’t harm creativity or the quality of architectural output . In fact, it helps us do all that we do anyway, just in a different, more structured way. Architects producing good architecture without BIM will still produce it with it; they’ll just be quicker, more methodical and more able to mitigate risk. There’s no such thing as a BIM project – it’s an architectural one using BIM workflows.

What about the unknown dialect? I’ve never been fond of acronyms and buzzwords; but there are webinars, training courses, the regional BIM hubs, to help you see behind them – and most are free. It is up to you to see what we see and get involved. And it’s up to us to open up more and share our enthusiasm with less jargon.

The second thing that struck me was the number of people claiming to have adopted BIM and to have achieved BIM Level 2; as I have yet to see a whole design/construction team, including the supply chain, all working collaboratively in BIM on a project- let alone one that’s reached Level 2 maturity. Maybe this is because I’m involved in private sector projects, but I suspect most respondents were BIM savvy, which doesn’t reflect my experience.

It’s been six years now since the BIM mandate and the use of common standards, methods and procedures, the rule-based cross-discipline 3D co-ordination and QA, the ability to perform buildability analysis at various stages, to manufacture off-site and to capture data of the installed products are all benefits of BIM that we have begun demonstrating. We have the ability to create a live model which represents the built asset and use it throughout its lifetime – yielding massive savings to consultants and clients.

There is still a lot of work to be done with educating our clients, the driving force of our industry. We need to encourage them to enter the ‘BIM world’ and demonstrate its capability, show them what can be produced and how much data we can pass on to them at the end of a project. No training course can teach that- we need to prove its value at operational stage, which accounts for about 70% of an asset’s total cost. I am sure no one will disagree that there is huge value to this.

Change is never easy, but I am convinced that BIM will be business as usual for all of us sooner than we think.

Pantelis Ioannidis is an architect and BIM Manager at John Robertson Architects

 

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