We do need someone with an overview of the BIM approach on a project, but that responsibility should reside within the design team
Lately, it seems like everywhere I look I see advertisements for BIM co-ordinator jobs, courses and accreditations. As everyone starts to jump on the BIM co-ordinator band wagon, I am left wondering if there really is a role for the BIM co-ordinator at all and whether it will prove to be a very short lived entity.
One of the biggest issues I have with the role of the BIM co-ordinator is the fact that they are only trained in BIM and are not design or construction specialists. This makes it very difficult for them to determine if there are any significant errors within the building model. In addition, BIM is based on the ethos of collaboration and where this is being implemented correctly there should be no need for a separate co-ordinator. Instead, the team should be working together in one cohesive unit and carrying out this function amongst themselves, whilst also combining their specialist skills to identify and resolve any issues.
BIM is based on the ethos of collaboration and where this is being implemented correctly there should be no need for a separate co-ordinator
Let’s also not forget that the past few years have been incredibly difficult for the construction industry and the cost of adopting BIM has proved prohibitive for many companies. Yet here we are adding additional overhead by introducing the role of BIM co-ordinator, when fees remain static and it will be difficult to recover those costs. This certainly makes me question how sustainable this will be over the long term, especially with no significant upturn in sight.
I think that where there is a need for someone to take an overview of the BIM approach on a project, this role should fall to the Design Team Leader. After all, their role is to make sure that deadlines are met, challenges are dealt with, teams and designs are co-ordinated and that the building will deliver as anticipated. Plus they have knowledge of BIM, the design and the client brief, which enables them to be able to effectively and objectively evaluate the BIM outputs and determine the actions that need to be carried out, without the involvement of additional staff.
So why do we need a BIM co-ordinator? The staff we have can already do these things and are already doing them, without additional overhead costs - to me the answer seems simple - we don’t need BIM co-ordinators. The question is how long will it be before others realise this too?
Andrew Pryke is managing director for Bam Design and BIM director for Bam Construct UK’s property development, design, construction and FM services