Currently, I think the Ds go something like this: 3D – Geometry, 4D – Time, 5D – Money / Estimating, 6D Energy or maybe Facility Management depending upon. Once you get past 3D or 4D, you've lost me. So you might ask, what is my issue with the Ds? Primarily, it's their lack of descriptiveness. Adding a D behind a number does not create a BIM Use. A question I have is where does coordination fall? Is it assumed that this just falls into 3D? What about the modeling itself? These are the two most common uses of BIM, and they don’t fall anywhere within the Ds. If you look at the BIM Project Execution Planning Guide and their BIM Uses, would there then be 25 different Ds? Do we have a D for digital fabrication, digital layout. Or how about code validation, or design review. What D are they?
And don’t even get me started on the sixth D (or seventh depending upon who you are talking to): Facility Management. What narrow minded designer or contractor had the gall to classify an entire phase of the facility lifecycle into one D. Not to mention that it is typically the longest and most costly phase of the facility. If that were the case, maybe we should call BIM for design the seventh D and BIM for Construction the eighth D. Can you see what happens when we start arbitrarily mixing different types of items?
Everyone says BIM changes everything. It does not. It is just another evolution in the process. We are still planning, designing, constructing, and operating facilities. That has not changed. It is, however, a different way of thinking about a facility and it allows us to finally put the facility (the product itself) at the center of our conversation where it belongs. Rather than all the other wasted efforts within our industry.
So therefore, the purpose for each of us does not change. BIM does not change the purpose for the activity only the means by which we achieve it. BIM is simply a means to an end. While I would argue it's the most effective means, the bottom line is that BIM is still just a means to do what we do better.
So what we really need to start talking about, instead of the Ds, is the purpose. What is your purpose for implementing BIM? What are the specific objectives that you are trying to accomplish using BIM? I would bet your response could be classified into one of five categories. We use BIM to do any one or combination of the following: GATHER, to GENERATE, to ANALYZE, to COMMUNICATE, and to REALIZE information about the facility.
It’s as simple as that. These are the basic reasons or purposes for implementing BIM. Remember: The most important thing is to ensure that your purpose has been communicated. Nothing more, nothing less.
Look for follow up posts as I get into the details about what are the purposes of BIM. And if you're wondering, Yes - we've posted about this before. Fellow Epic-BIM contributor, John Grady posted his perspective in What's up with all the damn D's? We obviously have opinions on the matter, and we bet you do to... what are your thoughts, do you think the use of the D's adds value? Or are you on the party bus with us... F the D's!