Managing BIM Technology in the Building Industry

This Viewpoint article by Chuck Eastman, Paul Teicholz, Rafael Sacks and Kathleen Liston offers a perspective on emerging positions such as BIM Specialist, BIM Champion, BIM Administrator, 4D Specialist, and Manager of Virtual Design and Construction and suggests their roles and responsibilities at the corporate and project levels within owner organizations and the AEC firms that serve them.


8 thoughts on “Managing BIM Technology in the Building Industry

  1. I was taken aback about the need for managers, BIM Officers, etc. – just to organize the BIM software and its proceses. That is in itself is amazing to me. Are we over complicating an already complex problem?
    Some concerns I would have implementing these positions:
    1) How much overhead will this add to the project(s).
    2) The layered managers and officers will certainly slow discissions made.

  2. Jim, I don’t think it’s an over-complication, I believe it’s a necessity. The strength of a building model lies in its collaborative uses, and someone needs to be in charge of it to ensure its consistency and usability. (The same can surely be said for 2d files, but, they tend to be a bit more segmented and not quite as far-reaching as an entire building model.)

  3. The authors correctly note that BIM has the potential to be a disruptive technology. These technologies do not incrementally build on the old but require a new set of competencies and have the potential to upset the existing order. Hence the need for these positions that are driven by the need to manage and communicate in new and ill understood ways. BIM, if it remains strictly a drafting tool, may be incremental but if it is the catalyst that changes the way the players relate to each other it will truly be disruptive. If this occurs, firms that hope to succeed will need to learn how to organize to harness the potential of this technology or they risk being marginalized as the technology matures, gains a larger audience and begins to define the new status quo.

  4. My question is the following. Are you actually replacing the CIO role with the CBO as per the following? This is rather interesting. Could you expand on this Chief BIM-Officer: The corporate director of BIM, replacing or expanding the responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer?

  5. To Georga Podolak-
    This is an expansion of the Chief Information Officer. Our articles was in response to Dominic Gallello who suggested BIM was an incremental change. We suggest it is much bigger and will change working workflows and communications, as well as design development processes. The Chief BIM officer role was coined to emphasize the new level of infrastructure called for.

  6. First time reader-good article. In general, BIM could be very helpful. However, presently, many people (owner/A/E/contractors) are discussing projects for BIM thinking that the construction schedule will shorten. This may well be the case if done properly but the time frame for ‘doing the project properly’ will take longer from a design perspective. We do many projects that are ‘fast-track’ and generally speaking, the owner and Architect have a difficult time understanding that the building starts with foundations and the structure. This requires openings, edge of slab conditions, etc and decisions need to be made early. Fast-track has been around for a long time and there remains to be problems. Now introducing BIM to the equation will probably create more problems, but at least everyone will be able to view it in model form. I think A/E/Contractors will gain a great deal of knowledge from each other once we get past the who dunnit phase.

  7. Interesting article, but I have a question. As a long time CADD advocate what makes BIM different than what we were using in the 80’s (at least on the Intergraph/Bentley side) with our AEC applications with non-graphic attributes and ability to work in intelligent 3D. I have been pulled more to the IT side of things, but my last stop was CIO for a Design-Build firm and BIM looks like an old concept in a new set of clothes. Please enlighten me!

  8. I am an engineer working for state government in an agency that manages design and construction projects for our 6000+ buildings and their supporting utility and transportation infrastructure. We are actively pursuing BIM on a few current projects with limited success. This article is very interesting and touches on the potential power of BIM in the AEC world. But you didn’t talk about the potential power for the OWNER.

    A saavy owner will want to know:
    Do I receive a record Building Information Model that is useful during the life of the building at the end of the construction?
    How will that model be stored and accessed for updating?
    What software do I need?
    Can the BIM be accessed by or dumped into say, preventative maintenance software or do I have to re-enter the data on building systems?
    Can this model give me square footage on attributes like room finishes?
    Can I add information to the BIM for access on future projects?

    Collaborative design and construction is very valuable, but BIM appears to offer great possibilities for the Owner. Don’t leave them out of the discussion. The life of a building or building system doesn’t end with construction completion.

    Maybe that’s the answer to the question posed by Steve Long. BIM isn’t CADD any more than GIS is a map. BIM can provide a model of a building – and all it’s parts – and their performance – through the life of the building – programming – design – construction – occupancy – maintenance – remodel – demo.

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