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Profiling BIM users

A post by Darren Goldsbrough on LinkedIn titled “What is BIM” (link here) made me think about how people perceive “this new technology called BIM”. As described in an anecdote that Mr. Darren had pleasure encounting, majority of people think of it in a wrong way and miss the essence of BIM.

Thinking of it, I ended up dividing them into three major groups. A deeper layering of this might be necessary to cover all of those profiles, but as a starting point I see it being grouped as follows:

  1. The Deluded Ones: this is a group of people that thinks BIM is a miraculous way of one-click-actions that can magically create any imaginable design with all the information needed. In a split of a second, off course. They would come to you and say “Can you put this in BIM?” These are usually harmless because you can immediately tell they don’t know anything about how BIM works. It might be the best group, for it is much easier to educate them properly while they’re still clueless and aware of it.
  1. The Familiar Ones: this is a group that can be deceiving in the representation of its BIM knowledge. Basically, they think they know something, but miss the understanding of that “I” in BIM. They will even be able to give you somewhat correct definitions and be familiar with terms in use. This can be a person who is new to BIM or could even use Revit (this is how they sometimes refer to BIM as) for some time. For them, doing BIM means using certain software to create 3D buildings with the possible option of extracting 2D drawings from it. Throw in maybe few schedules and there you go. “We use BIM!”, they’ll say.
  1. The Chosen Ones: this is a rare breed that truly understands that BIM is about that “I”, that information you give to and extract from a model, that BIM is about the collaborative process where all parties involved can interact in a clear and transparent manner. They think of and create their models to work for them when called up for help. They use techniques and technologies that help them automate the design, surveying, procurement, construction, supervision or any other process that comes along. These people cherish BIM as a Holy Grail of AECO industry. But even they can sometimes go too far in their expectations on BIM and hold it for something so innovative and progressive that everything else we’ve been doing so far by definition becomes a stone age technique.

Whichever group one might fall into, it is important to always keep in mind the very reasons BIM exists and is being popularized lately, and those are to help cut on design and construction time and errors, give better understanding of the project to all parties involved and make use of all the computing power we have at our disposal in modern era.