- BIM doesn’t work—people make it work. There is no way you can load BIM onto a machine, plop anyone in front of the machine, and hope that it will somehow make your life easier. In fact, it will make it harder for a while; let everyone know this.
- BIM is an investment. The easiest way I can explain this is that it’s almost like your 401(k) in the form of coordination return. Will you realize the profits immediately? I don’t know— probably not. Will you realize your investment six to eight months down the road when you find 188 clashes that equate to more than R2.3 million in change orders? That’s closer. Will you realize that investment when you can provide a greater service to your AEC team in improved communication and collaboration? Bingo!
- BIM will not tie your shoes. I use this phrase in my office when someone thinks that BIM can solve every construction-related problem there is. It’s just not true. BIM is still developing. There isn’t a “one-software-works-for-everyone-and-will fix-everything” solution.
- Start small. A colleague of mine was recently tasked with integrating BIM into his large construction company. He gave me a call and asked me what the best methodology was. He was thinking of training all 16 different satellite offices via web meetings. I told him don’t. Start with one office, make it work, and go from there.
- Train yourself. Make sure you know and learn and continue to learn as much as you can.
- Start a small, intense training of a BIM team. These will be your disciples and your backbone when you get uber busy. Believe me, it happens.
- Third, multiply yourself. Create an Google file where you can put all of the information in your head in the form of tutorials, articles, standards, etc. for everyone to refer to. This will make your life easier as well.
- Stick to the plan but don’t. After you’ve dedicated three weeks to do nothing but write a plan that includes a schedule and key timelines, and made it generous, be prepared to edit it frequently. People will question why the company is implementing this new strategy. Be prepared to be called overhead until you make their day-to-day routine more efficient— and then be prepared to be called buddy.
- Stop and look at what you’ve done. Get management to review the implementation, and get feedback so you know where to improve. Finally, get some metrics. This will be a little like herding cats, but finding out how BIM has helped or hurt each division will help your decisions.
- Attend conventions, seminars, and technology expos to learn about what’s out there and if it could be helpful to your company. Have a committee that reviews the new stuff and presents a software plan annually to the ownership. When new technology and software are approved to be implemented, repeat….
BIM is not perfect. It is a relatively new technology when compared with other industry standards. Yet BIM is the greatest technological advance in the AEC industry in this generation. BIM software was developed as a response from design professionals who began to see the need to create a single source of information that can be shared, added to, altered, and responsibly distributed among the design team. We are just beginning to see the full potential of BIM both as a process and as software and what it means to harness its full capabilities. Although these needs will begin to be addressed as the industry acceptance of this new technology and resource grows, everyone must contribute their ideas, criticisms, and suggestions to the industry. We need to understand that as an industry we are a progressive and creative group of professionals who ultimately are playing in the same arena. As construction professionals, we have an obligation to future generations, to the environment, and to improve BIM technology.