- What is the incentive for software providers to play nice if the majority of users are happy with the status quo?
- What is the business case for software providers to work well with Open BIM?
- Is there a software package available for free that authors models in an Open BIM format?
If we can answer these questions we can get started. I know by the comments on the COBie postings we will get discourse. I welcome it however, the blatant "I am packing up my toys and going home" attitudes that happened last time will be called out.
If you noticed, I didn't address the "plays well with Revit" in the questions. Why? Because Revit isn’t BIM first, and second it should be all BIM authoring platforms playing nice with Open BIM not singling out one vendor. So how is the Open BIM movement like the Anarchist Movement?
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. While anti-statism is central, some argue that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system.
Okay let’s do a little transposing of words:
Open BIM is a philosophy that advocates open BIM formats based on non-hierarchical free associations. Open BIM holds the closed BIM formats to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. While anti-closed BIM is central, some argue that Open BIM entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of model elements, including, but not limited to, a “closed BIM” Open Format system.
So basically the Open BIM movement wants software providers to stop providing proprietary formats and allow everything to consume and use their models in any way they deem necessary. First question is: are these the same groups that put waivers in place telling you how you can and can’t use the model? Second, have you sat down one with clients and team members to look at the data loses and see if there is something that can be fixed? Most time a lot of the data lose is due to either ignorance or poor education. Are these groups having open and frank discussions with the software vendors and the industry they purport to serve?
One thing I have found sitting on some of the committees I work on, is the best groups get a consensus group together to look for mutually beneficial realistic deliverables. Those groups actually get what they are looking for and partner with the different software vendors to make that happen.
IFC and Open BIM are touted as the only way to go. I’ll pull a red card here as anyone who says there is only one solution to find an answer has never done basic Algebra or worked in a collaborative team environment. Open BIM in the perfect Utopia is great but we live in a world where the government closes, jobs are postponed, and the market is in a constant state of flux. So Open BIM is great in theory but in reality I am not so sure. One day BIM will have deliverables that are like Word, Pages, or Google Docs files where all of those programs read each other. Right now Open BIM is more akin to PDFs where you can look at it, get something out of it sometimes, and do some manipulation.
So how does the Open BIM Movement align itself with one the industry and their needs and two encourage software vendors to work with them to make the Utopia a reality?
- Get rid of the ideal that all forms of closed BIM providers’ formats are oppressive and undesirable and should be abolished. It is just like the playground if you get mad and take your toys and leave others will find different toys.
- Know what Open BIM can provide now in fair, practical, and reasonable expectations.
- Firms are already struggling delivering the plethora of BIM deliverables to owners know where Open BIM can be useful and insert it there.
- Don’t sell Open BIM as the savior to the industry because right now it is more of a side note.
- Work openly and frankly with the industry and software providers and remove the adversarial relationships with the software vendors.
- Listen to the industry, they are delivering these models every day and are truly knowledgeable about what works and what doesn't.
- Don’t force Open BIM on the industry or oversell Open BIM to owners. Forcing things just creates a stronger resistance out of spite, even if what is being forced might have some good elements.
In the end, a major point of pain when it comes to IFC in a BIM workflow, is that Open BIM is a moving target and is being sold as a panacea similar to COBie and FM. There’s no guarantee that Open BIM is 100 percent ready, no matter which modeling software you use. There are work arounds to make Open BIM work, but as with anything, more time means more money; so ensure all parties are aware of this.
Without further ado, some shots in parting where Open BIM can be transposed:
“We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.”
— Alan Bennett
“Every anarchist is a baffled dictator.”
— Benito Mussolini