BIM: When Will It Enter “The Ours” Zone?

In this Viewpoint article, Stewart Carroll, Chief Operating Officer of Beck Technology, follows up on John Tobin’s Proto-Building article and suggests that the issue is less about technology and more about acceptance. BIM 2.0 that allows virtual full-team digital participation is already here, but the building industry has shown great reluctance to enter into a true collaborative era — the “ours” zone.

URL: http://www.aecbytes.com/viewpoint/2008/issue_40.html

6 thoughts on “BIM: When Will It Enter “The Ours” Zone?

  1. “Yours, mine and ours” is unlikely to change given that one of the most significant roadblocks to integration is presented by software. Contrary to the suggestion that designers and builders “consolidate,” it is perhaps a better argument that software companies need to do so. If I understand it correctly, DProfiler presumes the use of their THEIR modeler to enable a schematic design estimate. I cannot use that modeler to execute my project, so, in my opinion, Beck Technology needs to be enabled within Revit (and other BIM software) and Sketch-Up. IES has a modeler. Navisworks has a modeler. And so on. Frankly, software companies are the WORST at this “Yours, mine and ours.” Then again, what may be irksome to some is the necessary byproduct of the process to innovate and put some of “My” money into “Your” pocket – annually, if a subscription is involved.

  2. Personally, I agree with Stewart Caroll when he says that the primary constraint to obtaining the benefits of integrated project delivery (IPD) is the reluctance of the project team to move from a sequential to a concurrent work process. As long as each team member uses BIM mainly or solely for their own benefits and continues to work under traditional contracts, it will be very difficult to gain the more significant benefits that BIM 2.0 and 3.0 can deliver (earlier and less costly delivery of better buildings, use of model for facility management). This is true even if all team members use compatible software that minimizes the integration difficulties. I have observed at first-hand projects where various software products were used by team members in truly integrated teams. The positive results showed that technical difficulties could be overcome if there is a desire and/or a requirement to do so. Here is where an educated owner can play a significant role in bringing about the desired results by insisting on a team that is integrated from the beginning and shares the benefits and risks of a project.

    Yes, further integration capabilities are needed from software companies, and marketplace demands are bringing these about (see comments about Autodesk and Bentley in Carroll’s article and elsewhere), but to achieve real change, the AEC industry will need to adopt a more integrated approach to project delivery.

  3. Stewart Carroll’s article reinforces the thesis that a structured, well defined and milestone enabled process framework is required to transition the industry to the ‘Ours’ mindset. Whether the processes and procedures are wrapped around an existing framework, or a new one is developed for the industry (or some sort of hybrid is created to take advantage of what the other industries have achieved in collaborative work and prototyping) is open to discussion; but I think this is a pre-requisite to achieving success in changing the mindset towards collaboration and high quality outcomes for all.

    I think that it is perhaps easy to get carried away by the ‘glamour’ of BIM (and BIMStorms); or on the flip side get overwhelmed with the scale of the task of moving from ‘Mine’ to ‘Ours’. The danger here is dropping the ball on a good thing.

    I am hesitant to endorse the ‘BIMStorms’ of the world. They seem to showcase only the ‘power’ of these new paradigms for architecture, engineering, planning and construction without showing the constraints and barriers of real world implementations. BIM already suffers from its exceedingly high profile and these events risk elevating the ‘BIM hype’ even higher. Implementing collaborative BIM is no easy task and showcasing benefits without risks and abilities without constraints is neither accurate nor credible. One might argue that it’s as close to reality as a shareware flight-simulator is close to the constraints and responsibilities of piloting a fully-loaded passenger plane. … [does] the industry really needs more ‘spectacular’ BIM shows and awards or do they urgently need smaller, measurable and not so glamorous BIM implementation steps? (Bilal Succar’s blog at http://changeagents.blogs.com/thinkspace/).

    See (http://www.aecbytes.com/feature/2008/BIM-CMMI.html) for more on Process Improvement.

  4. Interesting article but I noticed one small thing. Unless the link is wrong that Phil Bernstien AIA article linked to isn’t “recent”. It seemed familiar then realised I’d linked to it in 2006 (see the link on this comment) and it actually dates from 2005. It’s perhaps a sign of the slowness of change that it’s still so applicable.

    Maybe it’s just our market (New Zealand) but I’ve seen a greater push from contrators to adopt BIM, modelling the work of architects who still don’t, to resolve building issues. Perhaps it’s the amount of design/build?

  5. I am in agreement with Paul Teicholz and would like to elaborate on that. All project partners active in the design phases of a project make more profit when a building does not get built, or this is at least the case in the Dutch market. This is because the most man hours are made in the final preparations and costs reduction programs shortly before the build, which is when the client is getting more conscious of design costs.

    Furthermore a company who wants to use BIM to its full extent needs to spend more working hours in the beginning phases of the design process. These hours become useful later in the process for other project partners. But in standard contracts in the Netherlands one also does not get paid for making other project partners work easier so they can concentrate on what they are good at. Currently one needs to be more of an idealist to help all their project partners and especially the contractor by supplying them with a correct and integrated BIM.

    In conclusion, one can say that current contracts, at least in the Netherlands, are not providing the incentive to use BIM to its full extent. Hence changing standard contracts are a very important step in the adoption of integrated BIM usage in the AEC industry.

  6. The acceptance of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), The Alliance Concept or whatever comes after, is crucial to creating an “ours” BIM. After all, if we don’t know who “we” are, how can we model for “us”?

    Having created “Engineer of Record” models and a model specifically for Contractor use, we learned the two are quite different. Traditional Construction Documents don’t contain Item Number, Time or Cost parameters (Means and Methods stuff). Therefore, neither do our Revit Structure models to date.

    Looking ahead, we might wish to provide, at least, placeholders for the above so that the maximum amount of information can be transferred to the downstream BIM Consumer. In order to do that effectively, we need to have that conversation – amongst all of “us”.

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