VDC/BIM is it Darwin or Guy Fawkes?

Are we really ready for the internet of things in the Design and Construction world? Some will say yes and we have already done it. I will beg to differ and say a one-off project reflects the possibilities; but not the repeatability required to make it an innate process in the AECO industry. Why after these many years of VDC/BIM becoming the norm in our industry, with over a 70% adoption rate, do we find most VDC/BIM uses still seem to be employed in a vacuum of one-off instances? Is it because every project is special? Have we as an industry oversold the value; more on that later. Maybe it is that existing firms feel they can address the disruption of VDC/BIM by adding new staff and new rules to the equation. Asking an industry which has been a traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, focused on maximizing value, to master a transformational innovation such as VDC/BIM without providing stepping stones needed to cope with that disruption is akin to expecting a rabbit to fly.

Flying is not in a rabbits DNA, yet we can envision what it would look like.
Does the AECO industry need to change its DNA akin to the food industry and GMOs? Or is the answer an evolution of the industries processes to accept the new tools and technology. I have always said it is the latter and that if we look at the VDC/BIM uses we can look at them as tools in our combined tool belt. Why does technology prevent such a challenge of true full adoption in our industry while new innovated tools for the trades seem to be readily accepted?  You will not find many carpenters who are resistant to swapping a standard hammer for a pneumatic hammer. There is not much change to the process but there are added efficiencies. Did pneumatic hammers cause an industry revolution or was it simply and evolution of the tools provided to carpenters? While VDC/BIM means different ways of thinking, and acting on the information provided it does not have to revolutionarily change the process.

We have to ask ourselves as an industry who benefits from industry revolutions

and who benefits from industry evolutions?

The first that comes to mind as benefiting from the revolution are those who developed a system which works that they hold proprietary. Why is this information held close to the belt? Does it give them a competitive advantage, possibly? Does it cause an environment where revolutionaries become the experts? If a revolutionary is used a firm can become reliant on that source but fails to evolve with the industry, leaving them obsolete once work practices are no longer evolutionary and no workforce able to perform the now status quo work.

Can firms liberate themselves from the revolutionary conditioning and undertake the paradigm shift that is evolution over revolution? Can we as an industry escape the gravitational pull exerted by decades of, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it?” Do we see that the true future of our success as an industry relies more on the evolution of our skills and tool sets than on revolutionary new developments? I am not stating that
revolutionary thinking and VDC/BIM uses are bad by any means and one-offs have a place in our industry as the proving ground for new ways of thinking. Yet initial revolutions are not the standards of success but, a looking glass into the future.

In order to have those clear standards the industry will need to evolve with the tools and workers who are evolving it. Will we ignore this economic change and the accompanying disruptions to the evolution necessary? Some firms have evolved their DNA and those organizations will flourish. Those whom have on blinders or utilize the revolutionaries to assist in the work will in due course become extinct. The choice is exciting and frightening and holds limitless possibilities and horrendous disasters. Are you ready to evolve?

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply