5 thoughts on “Notes on the Synthesis of BIM

  1. Hi Randy,

    I agree that we need a synthesis of BIM.
    But, as in “The girl next door”: “… we are a tripod “.
    Owners are the necessary third party to make a synthesis of BIM and integrated design.
    Owner, designer, constructor are an equilateral triangle. Without one of these parties, can efforts of the other two still be described as “building project”?

  2. Your article is interesting and highlights some very important considerations.

    However I don’t necessarily agree with your first definition of BIM; according to Wikipedia; “Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle”…., incidentally the definition that I myself would consider correct.

    It’s a process, about data and information and the structured process of analysis and distribution. Admittedly though the BIM does invariably influence how we create our models but only in the sense of having a meaningful information schema.

    I believe you used the term ‘..ability to synthesize complex data..’, are we so becoming obsessed with creating information that the system is becoming overly complex, requiring data mining algorithms to make any sense of it?

    To be fair though, my concern is later addressed when you state “There is a tendency—with each new release, with each new product, posting and revelation—to add to what is already known instead of clarifying—and solidifying—what we already have.” to which I find myself in agreement.

    My fear is that there is now too much focus on BIM, distracting as it may from the real creative design and engineering work of the Architect. After all, BIM as a process is not necessarily new, building information has been an integral part of the design construction process since man first put pen to paper..BIM simply is the tapestry that organises the threads of data and information process into a meaningful picture.

    I think the industry needs to take a step back, ask relevant questions and try to comprehend actual data requirements instead of what is perceived to be required.

    Keep it simple, structured and consistent.

    I was going to further comment on cost implications of BIM setup and management but I could be here all day trying to rationalise that.

  3. I am an MSc student and conducting a survey to evaluate the implementation of BIM in industry.
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    (Clink on the link or copy and paste in your browser)

    First of all, I kindly ask you to take the survey and secondly, I would like to ask you to spread the survey to any other colleagues and team members who would like to help create a better world, using BIM.

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    MSc PM in Const., University of Salford, UK.

  4. As the author, I would like to thank those who have to date commented on this Viewpoint article. In response to Nic’s observation concerning the tripartite OAC structure – while no doubt all three must be present and involved, in BIM and especially in Integrated Design, here I am calling attention to the architect and contractor as primary participants when it comes to synthesizing a great deal of often contradictory information into a resulting cohesive building. While there are and have always been owners who have this capability and have played this important role, it is a competency but not in my experience expected as a primary role on the project.

    Thank you, Hugh, as well for your valuable feedback. The only point you make where I take exception is where you indicate that BIM is perhaps receiving too much attention, to the detriment of design. I see BIM and Integrated Design, together, as concepts and practices that are large enough to contain our complete interests in design and contruction – and in doing so serve as an touchstone for all of the relevant issues that confront us as a profession and industry. For me, BIM is not the distraction. The distraction is the compulsion so many feel to elaborate ad nauseum on what is known – rationally and intuitively – and largely agreed upon. Perhaps a clear roadmap would serve to maintain our focus on what truly matters?

  5. As someone involved in this area, I would question some of apparent basic assumptions. Is BIM Building Information Modelling or Management and is there any difference anyway? The semantics is important when the lawyers get involved.

    Does the presence or absence of a BIM system imply or require that any process in the construction chain is performed differently or that any information is required at a different time or from a different source? I would so no, although it may be required in a different format. There are two things that change, the way the imformation is handled and the uses that can be made of that information, including, but not restricted to the speed and convenience of access.

    There are currently a lot of developments, with varying levels of interoperability and functionality. There is also a lot of hype and confusion. Construction is a business, so unless governments impose standards and requirements, it will be left to commercial pressures. In our experience, currently it is generally the architects who are lagging behind, which is a pity, but not a show stopper.

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