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BIM is not a revolution…yet

Disclaimer: for the sake of simplicity and better understanding, during the text I might mention the term “BIM software”. It has to be said upfront that I’m not very proud of explaining BIM as a software application. On another note, thoughts showcased here are based on GCC experience in the past couple of years.

In the spirit of the name of this blog: Let’s not kid ourselves – BIM hasn’t revolutionalised construction process…yet.

All these talks about how construction industry and technology has seen a tremendous progress over the years with the introduction of BIM seem nothing but a mere hype over something that, truth to be told, does have the potential, but not as close as hypers would like you to think. And that’s it. It is still only within its “potential realm”.

Being actively involved in delivering projects “using BIM” (although that term usually comes down to fairly basic modelling in Revit/Archicad), it doesn’t seem that the industry is coping well with the new revolution. First steps are hard, I understand. But the truth is that this kind of software has been around for couple of decades now, and people still haven’t embraced it entirely. Unfortunately, we still have few generations in leading positions that come from the CAD era and just cannot comprehend what this new BIM has to offer. I reckon it will take some time until they are phased out and youth from the digital era comes in charge. By then BIM softwares and processes will become part of the curriculum, which would in return mean larger audience that understands the concept.

Another obstacle are deliverables. We’re still fighting to force BIM softwares into producing paper-like deliverables (whether it be drawing sheets, schedules or what might not). My teeth are numb from explaining that BIM is about the process, about the information and how it is created, extracted and manipulated. What we have at the moment is a sad scenario where hard copy print outs are main way of delivering a project. This means that all the information that one BIM model could offer remains unused. It’s basically rendered obsolete. Furthest we can reach with this current setup is to use smart tagging to directly annotate certain elements and maintain some level of project coordination.

But if entire BIM ecosystem steps up a notch, we could see so many benefits. Let’s just imagine that municipalities accept BIM models in their submissions, and that they use certain softwares to examine codes and regulations compliance. This would mean immediate increase in the quality of information modelled, and subsequently benefits for all parties involved. That would be true BIM. Let’s continue dreaming and think of a day when Client’s would accept BIM models as means of payable submission deliverables. These could then be taken further and used by Contractors in scheduling, procurement, production of As-Builts, Facility Management, decommissioning etc.

For BIM should not only be about creation of models and information for your own use, but a responsibility of deploying the information in such a way that it is easy for future users to find and benefit from it. Then we can have a closed circle from which all involved parties benefit.

Until then we’ll continue to force Revit to give birth to AutoCAD babies.