The BIM Gap

So your company has adopted BIM as a standard, done the research, hired or developed subject matter experts, created procedures and implemented them on projects successfully. But there still seems to be something that's a little off. There is still a sense of BIM not living up to its full potential. You find it a common occurrence that you just missed an opportunity to implement a BIM procedure on a project for no particular reason. This is because there is still a gap in the way that people think about BIM. It's not that they don't like it or that they don't see its value. It's that they see it as being separate from their core job function. A BIM project is still considered something different from a regular project. This gap in the way people think about BIM is the last major hurdle any company has to overcome before BIM can reach its full potential.

This gap in the way BIM is thought of has been something that has bothered me recently. The AEC industry continues to amaze me with how it manages to create new ways to remain the same. I have seen a number of instances lately of missed opportunities for BIM to be employed for a variety of reasons that amount to no reason at all. Each instance has a similar characteristic however. Someone involved in the process employed the "regular" way of doing things because to them BIM was not what they do. They didn't leave it out on purpose. They were just never reeducated with the understanding that BIM is the way we build. And so what ends up being left is a process that still works and still may have BIM elements included, but falls short of the true potential a good BIM workflow can offer.

So what can you do about it? You need to work to instill the idea in every person that BIM is not a novelty or luxury item. BIM is not something that a project doesn't really need but is nice to have. The idea that there are "BIM people" and then there is everyone else, needs to be dispelled. I know that for the audience of this blog I am probably preaching to the choir. But if you are an individual that has found yourself saying, "I'll just set this project up the way I always have and once it gets going I'll see how the BIM people can help." then you might want to reconsider the way you think. You're probably missing out on some good opportunities.

2 Comments

  1. Perhaps Revit MEP is the wrong tool?

  2. Anonymous

    From a MEP cad manager perspective… rather than the construction side… MEP Revit is still lacking fundamental tools and structure to make it work correctly, which means development time. It is not BIM out of the box. So how does the MEP firm re-coup development time to make it BIM… if they even want it to become true-BIM, rather than fancy 3d construction documentation?
    Who is going to give them the extra time and money they are spending now to give a BIM model which is not inherent in the software package as part of the toolset?

    I think the early adopters are likely to win more business… but if BIM means 15-20% more time spent modeling and creating content per job, and the fees don't change… it is a lose-lose scenario for the firm that adopts BIM as their standard method of operation.

    Pay folks to do BIM and require it in the contract and you will get BIM… you don't have to train every user to get it… it is not just a mentality… it is about data sharing across platforms… you know… the information.

    I think that is where the gap still lies for me… When everyone shares in the success of the design and gets paid for the hours they put in and has a truly fair share… that might do it.

    I always look at the contractural requirements first, then assign the employees to it that can actually perform the terms of the contract.

    Bruce J.

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