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Building a Lego House Brick at Dorking
Building a Lego House Brick at Dorking

BIM is storming


BIM is storming

[Posted in LinkedIn on May 10, 2015]

BIM is on a pathway of development and implementation.

New things don't just land on the doorstep fully formed. BIM is the same, it is developing as it is growing. This is to be expected and is a good thing.

The Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, who maintained that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.

Other group development models are available.

The BIM community can be considered as a diverse group. In the UK the government provided a degree of leadership and impetus, to invigorate the development and growth of BIM. A BIM community has formed around that kernel.

I would say that the forming element has now been successfully completed. There are still many instances of "it is all hype", "it will never catch on" through to "I will catch the boat when all of the problems are sorted out". The naysayers can watch from the sidelines. The Luddites can protest their way to obscurity.  The BIM community has reached critical mass and is now verging on unstoppable.

There are even a few early adopters that are beginning to realise the benefits. Accolades to them for the foresight and bravery to step into the relatively unknown and uncharted waters.

However, for the majority, the BIM community has entered into the storming phase of group development. This is evidenced within the various discussion forums.

  • BIM is process, and only process.
  • You need super fast computers to run the software and visualisations. BIM is all about the 3D model.
  • BIM is about this software or that software.
  • Codification is the key to BIM.
  • Common codes for everyone.
  • How to interchange the information?
  • What information to keep?
  • How to store the information?
  • What about the people?

And so it goes on. The list is endless. This seems to me to be the epitome of the storming.

The Storming phase can become destructive to the team and will lower motivation if allowed to get out of control.  ... The team members will therefore resolve their differences and members will be able to participate with one another more comfortably. The ideal is that they will not feel that they are being judged, and will therefore share their opinions and views. Normally tension, struggle and sometimes arguments occur.

This is where BIM is at the moment for the majority of the growing BIM community. Just because there is discord, does not mean that BIM growth and implementation is failing. It is a natural and necessary part of development.

My family and I went to Dorking in the summer of 2009. Together with a 1000 other people we sat down and put a few pieces of Lego together to form a brick to a standard design and size. Each brick was uniform and was verified and validated for conformity in colour and specification. Accepted bricks were stored, and subsequently moved to another part of the vineyard. Failure meant demolition. Back to the original Lego block components. (Tempted to talk about right first time, but I will resist). After a while, and 3.2 million Lego blocks later, James May starts building his Lego house, one brick at a time. Each brick is made of 272 Lego blocks. We made some of those bricks, saw James May recording part of the TV show. Here is an extract. We saw the house being built on another visit a short time later. I don't know if it was designed in a BIM environment, I doubt it. But that is not the point I was getting to. The point is the power of togetherness. Together, for a common cause, children and parents built Lego blocks to a standard design, without the aid of a Game Boy. Each of those standard bricks were assembled together to form the unthinkable, a house made of Lego. Collaborating together.

Unfortunately, the Lego house is no more, it had to be demolished. The achievement still stands though.

As will the achievement of full implementation of BIM. It will become part of the day job and will no longer be part of the headlines. It will morph into something more holistic such as DIMEC (see previous article).

The struggles and tribulations of the storming phase will transform into the realisation of the norming phase. Were it is understood that the four cornerstones of BIM are, in no particular order;

  • Technology
  • Process
  • Codification
  • People

Without any one of these, the full potential will never be realised. As with the Lego house it cannot work without the full adoption of uniformity, standards, togetherness and collaboration.

Company Business Models will have to change to accommodate the transformation of the industry.

Relish the challenge, push the change, enjoy the success.

Heading photo found here. Credit to Lewis Cawte

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