We can make BIM simple - here’s how

Frank McLeod

So let’s build our digital nervous system, we’ll need a design, actually we’ll need a brief, and a client. The more you think about it you cannot build this for your individual company, it has to be for our industry. So we build it to improve our efficiency and effectiveness, but we are contributing to a broader mutually beneficial task, Egan was right.

Let’s consider; if the client is a person or enterprise that engages us for the delivery and potential operation of an asset, then a customer must be anyone else who is effected, relies upon or influences my work, that’s a lot of people to ask, “how can I help you?”, and that’s the point; we are working, managing information, for the benefit of others, not just ourselves, we need to be open and sharing, in our approach to everything.

This should be easy to design; we just conceptualise, form constructs, select systems, test; so why is it so hard? We have made it so. This is why I don’t like the word BIM, we have over complicated a simple concept, and we have spent over three years miss-communicating, it’s as if some people don’t want it to work.

Let’s use the acronym BIM and set down a simple purpose.

Building Information Modelling (BIM), simply put is a way of working that enables the execution of asset delivery and operation to be more effectively delivered. It forms the foundations of Big Data and a Smart environment.

It uses the activities that we currently under take, allows us to utilise readily available and affordable technology, giving us the potential to improve the execution and communication of our works.

The benefit of this process is the removal of variation, an increased clarity in what is being produced

In order to be successful in this new environment all parties must collaborate, they must work together in a structured, coordinated and managed manner. Once we have achieved this discipline parties are able to share, contrast and compare each other’s work to ensure a higher degree of integration. The information can be handed on as a positive legacy.

The benefit of this process is the removal of variation, an increased clarity in what is being produced. This clarity of information along with its visual presentation allows informed decisions to be made.

The clarity of decision making brings predictability and removes waste and rework from the design, construct and operational processes. The structure of information removes the potential for variation, thus allowing risk to be managed and provisions optimised.

So why is that so complicated?

Frank McLeod is UK head of project technology for WSP