What about design firms; all of their projects are done in BIM right? While many design firms use a BIM authoring platform the sad truth is only about 40% of firms design with true BIM elements. A majority of firms are still drawing walls at eight foot height and annotating the drawings, this is not BIM even though you used a BIM authoring platform. I have even had projects come across my desk where every light-switch and receptacle was modeled but it still wasn't BIM. Why because those modeled elements were just dumb 3D objects which to the unaware looks like there is a ton of data in the model. Sad truth is visually there is a ton of data but the data needed for downstream users, contractors and owners facilities management, really is not there; in fact there is very little useful information contained in the model.
Who else is left we covered briefly contractors and designers so that leaves....yep owners. How many times have I had an RFP come across my desk that said, "BIM will be used on this project" or "Every thing BIM related will be done on this project." Those are the two extremes but they still exist and the question is why. I'll offer that its similar to that old keep your kids off drugs commercial where the kid says, "I learned it from watching you." Too many times reports like I mentioned above, articles in trade magazines, and many other forums forego education for "Hollywood BIM" and BIM Wash because lets face it sleek and sexy sells. I have even spoken with owners who have said they found out what their competition was asking for and just started adding things they heard of to the list to, "Have more than them." I have even heard we want BIM because its not a fad everyone is doing it. When asked what they wanted exactly and what they were going to use it for the answer was, "Just the typical BIM stuff nothing fancy and this will be for our facilities managers." One problem was after talking to the facilities guys they could care less about a model but they did want the data.
So who is to blame for the current state of BIM? Designers? Contractors? Owners? Maybe business development? No, no, no, not even close; it is everyone who contributes to BIM in one shape or facet. So what can we do? How can we change the path of BIM? First we need to get rid of the confusion and buzzwords because they cause confusion within the AEC industry about what BIM truly is. BIM is not just a dumb 3D model or how many software licenses a firm has. No one knows, contrary to popular belief, every facet of BIM you just can't its to expansive. Some say they truly understand BIM but I don't see the benefit of looking at the downstream capabilities thus keeping the walls up that BIM was supposed to tear down. These mind sets give BIM a bad name as the true value of BIM is not realized and is devalued in the minds of many of the parties.
Don't think no one is truly doing BIM or that there are not owners out there with clearly defined BIM goals; because that is not the case. I have found many firms and people implementing BIM because the see the benefits and the reality that BIM is not a fad. I do see frustration in firms that are satisfied with the status quo in implementation but their marketing says they are the "Tip of the spear in BIM." BIM people need support from bottom up and top down in order to be successful. This means staffing support, clearly defined contract requirements, clearly defined deliverables, educated owners, and educated marketing staff.
So if everybody does BIM why is everyone selling it as a differentiator? Is it because BIM is new even though its been around since the late nineties? Is it because people don't understand BIM and are awed by pretty pictures forgetting beauty is only skin deep? Is it because people who speak BIM are more intelligent than others in the industry? These are a couple thoughts to get the discussion rolling. Let's see if anything I have said hits a nerve. We welcome discourse at Epic BIM because we see the way to the future in BIM is through structured discourse. This is a no holds barred forum but that does not give you license to be disrespectful to anyone one here, whether a commenter or contributor.