Why are we implementing BIM? For what purpose?
I would argue that most of us really don't know why we are implementing BIM, or if we do know we really can't communicate that purpose effectively. I would also argue that if you really think about it, the purpose for which you are implementing BIM is no different than your purpose before BIM. What I have found over the past several years is that BIM does not change the purpose, only the means by which the purpose is achieved. Our fundamental purpose or purposes have not changed since we have begun designing, constructing, and developing facilities. That is the purpose: To develop facilities. Simple.
So then for what purposes to we employ BIM to support the development of facilities? The purposes for implementing BIM fall into five categories: to GATHER, to GENERATE, to ANALYZE, to COMMUNICATE, and to REALIZE information about a facility. Those are the purposes that I first shared in the article "F the Ds" back in June. I believe that every BIM Use can be classified based on these purposes and sub-purposes.
If we begin to use the purpose for implementing BIM rather than the characteristics* of the BIM Use such as the facility element, facility phase, discipline, or level of development, we can begin to breakdown the silos within our industry and begin to understand that these fundamental purposes are shared across all disciplines, all phases, and all elements of a facility. If we can agree and communicate with each other using the purpose, we can begin to normalize the application of BIM across our industry. Its time to get rid of all the smoke and mirrors of BIM and start communicating about BIM simply. Then we can really get to work, gathering, generating, analyzing, communicating, and realizing.
More details about a system to classify the Uses of BIM can be found at the Penn State CIC Research Program's BIM Planning website.
*Note: look for another article detailing the characteristics of a BIM Use.