≡ Menu


See What BIMstorms Are About

BIM Handbook: A Guide to Building Information Modeling for Owners, Managers …

–By Chuck Eastman, Paul Teicholz, Rafael Sacks, Kathleen Liston

BIM is Not Complete

Some people argue that all standards and tools must be in place before BIM can be successful. Others assume that BIM is not possible unless everyone in the process is involved. They are wrong. In today’s world to dismiss BIM because everything is not worked out, is to miss the point.

Some pundits are sending the message that we are in no way even close to applying BIM technology. The truth is that on the academic—“spit out an answer without human intervention” level—they are right. On the level where you achieve major improvements to projects, get highly improved information, and improve outcomes for owners, the naysayers are not even close—because you can do it now.

The fact is that today, BIM is being applied effectively. BIM is increasing efficiency and leveraging our ability to support owners. There are less mistakes, better outcomes and fewer risks. BIM is profitable.

The greatest benefits will come when we can share data with others—in the design, in construction and over the lifecycle of every facility. Standards and defined processes are certainly necessary—and five years from now, they may be in widespread use. Involving everyone in the building industry is certainly the long-range goal. Smooth transitions from planning to design to construction to operations is coming, but for most of us it is not here, yet.

Today, a relatively small percentage of the construction industry is working in this environment. Too few professionals in all disciplines have embraced the technology. As more owners demand integrated services and more professionals move to support them, this will change. For now, you should create a strategy for bim and integrated practice knowing that everyone is still feeling their way. Work with others who understand where you are headed. If you work with others that “get it” you will achieve more.

Everyone has to be willing to learn and to embrace the change themselves. They have to be prepared to adapt as interoperable and virtual construction tools become readily available. Reaching this point requires a commitment to establishing long-term relationships. It requires a willingness to commit to education and to clearly defining requirements. Since you are changing the “traditional” process, you have to re-learn how best to provide input and to support the process at the proper times.

Reconcile yourself to accept and output 2D non-bim formats to support others that have not yet seen the light. You do not have to like it. Yet, today you probably have to do it. These files, by their very nature create redundant work. Fortunately, bim design tools are very competent at translations to major flat formats. You lose much (if not all) of the intelligence. Nevertheless, the geometry remains correct and others get what they need to do their jobs.

Many of the benefits achievable today are most easily realized using bim and integrated processes in a design/build mode. In this approach, the comprehensive vision represented in the prototype model defines performance requirements. The architectural concept is test fitted and evaluated using these early stage prototypes. Use this ability to reduce or eliminate the uncertainties that force bidders to embed contingencies. Use the prototype system to create certainty from which to price and build projects. Work with everyone in the process to enable them to use your models for pricing, conflict checking, scheduling and other construction operations.

You and your clients cannot wait for someone else to figure out all of the complex systems and standards for you. You have within your current resources and available tools, the ability to deliver many of the benefits of BIM, today. Moreover, using these resources and tools in new ways, you have the ability to produce better architecture and happier clients. —Finith E. Jernigan AIA
, President, Design Atlantic Ltd

Notes on the Synthesis of BIM

by Randy Deutsch, AIA, LEED AP, Architect and Educator, from AECbytes Viewpoint #51 (April 7, 2010)