There’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding BIM - essentially it should make all our lives easier


Frank McLeod

I remember sitting in one organisation strategising about the use of technology as a catalyst, trying to change how information is used to restructure an industry, when a message popped into my inbox.

It’s the major bid team and they have a questionnaire to complete: “We need an answer to question 4.1, the BIM question, nothing OTT 2 A4 sheets should crack it.”

A common enough enquiry these days, although somewhat annoying in its total lack of comprehension.

We have to recognise information modelling for what it is and award it the status it requires. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a designer and I’d rather sketch than fill in a COBie spreadsheet. But we must recognise that BIM is the environment and if it is not to become burdensome and is to enable the delivery of value, then it must be taken seriously and be elevated on a project from its earliest inception.

We have to recognise information modelling for what it is and award it the status it requires

I’m not suggesting that we should model detailed geometry during conception, but we should be planning how to deliver the project. The BIM environment is about managing the information modelling and fostering collaboration. It is effectively the leadership of the project and as such, shouldn’t the management of the information models be within the domain of the project / design manager? 

Don’t worry about the technology, its a smokescreen, let’s not make BIM a marketing or premium service.

Basically our essence is the creation of information in a manner that can be comprehended by others. Regardless of which phase of modelling we are in – in my last blog I talked about there being six – we are all looking for knowledge to help us explore, consider and make decisions.

This is the structured presentation of information, in the manner best suited to the recipient.

So let’s forget the silly word BIM and let’s plan how we are going to collaborate with structured, coordinated and managed information for the benefit of others from the outset.

Now that’s not a bad answer to question 4.1!

Frank McLeod is UK head of project technology for WSP