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Hope for the BIG BIM ecosystem.

Check out Digital Built Britain’s website and the recently released Level 3 BIM Strategic Plan. It is a 2 MB download.

There are aspects of the report that give hope. Some in Great Britain are thinking beyond the long held reliance on file-centric tools and the rigidly controlled processes that underpin the current design and construction focus of BIM. The concept that, “someday everything BIM will be worked out and we will achieve BIM nirvana” has gotten old. It is not necessary to wait, and some are not waiting. It is too bad the report did not take a “get it done now” approach.

The report has some significant flaws. The document continues to focus on IFC as the base for all things BIM, without a real path to how IFC will move to the 21st century and away from the file-exchange (20th century) approach. It also seems to continue the focus on high-complexity 3D graphic representation as the center of BIM.

The document does not offer a direction that will end the siloed processes that now exist. Most of today’s BIM processes seem to add new silos. We are replacing old silos with new, more efficient silos. Rather than eliminating them all together.

None of this is new.

There are islands of hope in the document. It takes an asset focus, rather than merely talking projects. It mentions the need for tools that anyone can use, rather than relying on experts for everything BIM. It seems to recognize the possibility that other open-standards are required if BIM is to move to cradle-to-cradle live data. It acknowledges that systems may already exist that have moved beyond the current approach.

Some of the material appears to be a direct parrot of the things Kimon Onuma has been presenting and doing for years. Unfortunately, most of the document continues the current trajectory, although this likely is more to do with politics than with capability.

There are people and organizations that are already fairly far down this curve in the evolution of BIM. Perhaps the authors should explore some of the things that are being implemented in this space already.

If anyone wishes to understand what is happening, here are links to a couple of videos that will get them started:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/42519308

(4:27 minutes. This video addresses the interconnection of GIS/BIM/FM.  Video by Kimon Onuma. Good overview of the logic and issues associated with creating BIG BIM ecosystems. Note: at about 3 minutes Kimon addresses the need for enabling files-based exchanges until many current BIM tools catch up).

https://player.vimeo.com/video/104076508

(23:36 minute. If you watch only one, this is it. This video describes what is happening in the world of life-cycle asset management in the built environment today. Mind the Gap by Kimon Onuma.)

Ten years of actual projects for major clients supports this approach. Is anyone else doing BIM that keeps owner data live for 1000’s of buildings at the same time, for large, multi-facility clients?

Many miss is that there are other ways to do the entire BIM thing that focus on assets and data, today. It is possible to leverage everything that has developed to date and to achieve the promise of BIM, right now. The industry does not have to stop at design and construction. It does, however, have to make real changes.

In the 1980s/90s, some started to wrestle with the same issues that many are just now beginning to see. Some of them are already doing a larger process. The tools and methods they use have gone thru multiple proofs-of-concept and are in productive use, today. Design and construction BIM using file-analogs is only a small part of the equation.

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