Macro Anemone
HMS Victory-0100.jpg
Namibia dust trail-8499.jpg
previous arrow
next arrow

BIM, Clients and Children of the revolution.


BIM, Clients and Children of the revolution.

[Posted in LinkedIn on December 5, 2014]


BIM, Clients, and Children of the Revolution, or should it be Leaders. About to breakout into song. No I don't think that would be a good idea. It would clear rooms instantly, and that would be contrary to the intention of these posts.

There have been many revolutions throughout history. I am not talking about the likes of the French revolution here but the Industrial Revolution, which started in the UK, and similar. BIM is now part of a similar revolution. It did not start in the UK, but as part of the Digital Revolution has the capacity to be a Global game changer in no less a way than the the Industrial Revolution of over 200 years ago has changed the way we live today. The Computer Revolution is another example. Would any construction company today consider going back to using a slide rule for calculations, a typing pool, for letters, and abstract paper for collections and accounting. Are we thinking of filing office space with row after row of drawing boards with all of the associated designers, engineers, and technicians. Perhaps we ought to think about it from a global social point of view as there would definitely be an increase in the number of people required for the same output. However, to remain competitive the amount of money available to pay that group of people would remain the same for the same output, so each person would get significantly less. Computers are here to stay and the drawing board is not going to make a comeback any time soon.

What makes a successful revolution? A good idea, innovation or cause is a good starting point. Support is next. That support can be from the masses, or from those with influence or power. Money is also useful. In the UK 'The Government Construction Strategy' published by the Cabinet office on 31 May 2011 and the subsequent BIM Task Group has made a really good start. The construction councils, professional bodies, and standards have all complemented the initial efforts. The good start now needs to be cemented into a firm foundation. It is time for Clients to takeover the revolution and carry it much further than the Government ever could on its own. There are some excemplementry clients totally engaged with BIM such as Crossrail and HS2. HS2 has stated that it will require the whole of the supply chain to be BIM capable. These are just some rail examples, I am sure there are many others.

However,not all clients are born equal. There are numerous types of clients with different experiences and needs. The client who has a portfolio of buildings over one hundred years old, keen to become involved in BIM, but where is the value proposition. Alright for a new extension but otherwise how do you realise the FM savings. Given that current thoughts are around 20% for the project and 80% for the operation and maintenance thereafter. How to leverage those potential savings? Another client may have a fixed number of bridges to maintain. Both, examples of clients with existing buildings or infrastructure. The speculative developer poses an interesting problem. He is building to sell, and therefore has no interest in the potential savings during the FM stage. However, could he not turn that small cost of BIM into a commercial advantage. A prestige building with a low FM cost compared to the competition. Similar to the A+ energy rating on the next fridge that you buy. Would you dare to buy a D rated one. Perhaps that is something that the standards bodies could be looking at in a similar fashion to the energy testing of buildings. These clients should not be forgotten as we develop our BIM solutions and requirements further. However, even within the new build fraternity, there is a substantial variance between all of the clients. One of those variances is to do with the frequency of undertaking new construction works. For the small one time client, again where is the value proposition? Other clients are continually involved in construction. Given that there are evidently so many different types of client there can not possibly be one BIM approach! Or can there be one loose size, that does fit all?

Irrespective of how many different types of client there are, it is they collectively that have the influence and power to propel the revolution forward. It is the clients that are at the top of the food chain. It is the clients that can shape the future with their actions or inactions. The clients can benefit from the adoption of BIM. Albeit to differing degrees.

However, there are many obstacles to finding the BIM ladder let alone getting on the first rung of the BIM ladder. There is so much published about BIM how does the uninitiated get started? There appears to be so many different flavours of BIM, which one to chose? It is some software, my IT department will chose the vender! I can't convince my boss that it is anything to do with him! All of the information required for BIM Maturity Level 2 is not yet in place, so how can I start? Is the codification set yet? It is just a process, easy to put in place. I will have to comply with BS1192 and all of those PAS1192 etc. I will defer starting until everything is in place and it has settled down for a few years.

Do you remember your fist bike? Did it have stabilizers? Did you get on and ride it with ease right from the first moment. Or were there a few grazed hands, knees, and elbows? I know, where was the PPE, to avoid the injury! BIM is similar, it will take a while to get to grips with it. There will be some falls along the way. Even some wrong turns. The current situation suggests that almost inevitably there will be some re-coding and re-mapping required. All of these activities are small in comparison to not getting on the bike at all. If the first project is not fully 1192 compliant, does it matter as much as not engaging in BIM at all. Compliance can come later, with practice and experience. Now this is not denigrating the PAS1192 or any of the works of the various committees. However, it does recognize that BIM, in its holistic manifestation is a paradigm shift heavily involving people, and that there are a lot of people in the industry, working directly or indirectly for a lot of different types of client.

The client has the ability to influence and direct the whole of its supply chain. It can continue to fuel the revolution, and I maintain that there is an obligation that it should do so. Perhaps failure to do so may have some strange and unintended consequences. The tier one supply chain may become the top of the food chain. The gnu turning on the lion? Oh, it does happen sometimes!

Also, let us not underestimate the contribution that the SME, being more agile than his larger counterparts, could make in this Digital Revolution.

Are you convinced that the Clients should be the next leaders? If so, what are the next steps? The client board, CEO / MD needs to support the Digital Revolution, and understand what that means.

After that, get help!

More on that next time.

Related Articles

BIM4 H&S Group publishes Strategy

HS2 Folly

Latest Article

Most read article in last 100 days