There’s little consensus to be found this week: the merits of BIM are in dispute, as is the the economic case for high-speed rail, and readers even disagree about introducing double decker trains to the UK

What is BIM good for?…

BIM is for academics and dreamers. As ever, big government wants big contractors, big consultants, big software companies, fat costs (20 May, page 11). CAD, BIM, any of these things should only ever be used to get good, thorough info to the client and the contractor. If your building is any good, all you should ever have to change is the lightbulbs. But 3D, interactive comprehensive data of every item, accurately and as-built? Dream on. It’s a waste of money. Apart from the services, the rest goes into a simple pdf manual. Your BIM is out of date the minute the tenant occupies the building.
Colin Mackenzie, via

… quite a lot, actually

We have used BIM on our residential and community-based projects.The use of BIM is definitely the way forward. However, I think that the true value will be when the BIM model is inter-operable and also used for the life of the project and when the whole design team uses BIM. Then errors on site can be reduced, with the building being fully co-ordinated beforehand.

From experience, BIM is sometimes more difficult to use on tricky existing buildings than new build and the building of the model is more time consuming. But one advantage is that the BIM model has to be constructed like the real building so one is forced into resolving potential issues early on.
Nick Willson, Nick Willson Architects, via

No ovation for novation

Ann Minogue explains why novation is fundamentally flawed. I have long held the view that, for an architect, the conflict of interest is unacceptable. I have suggested that architects should be struck off if they try to play both ends of a contract, offering obligation to owner and builder, though have been reluctantly persuaded that, where the owner is an experienced developer and he requires novation in the original appointment, it may be just acceptable. It’s best for the builder to hire its own team, and client retain theirs. Failing that, use the ACA PPC2000 partnering form of contract.
Brian Waters, president of the Association of Consultant Architects

HS2: a very public argument …

We certainly do need to invest in our national infrastructure, but need to be careful lest it looks like we are arguing that the reason to do so is to support the construction industry. It looks bad if our main argument [for HS2] is that vast amounts of public money should be spent on a contentious scheme to generate business (and profits) for large, and usually international companies. The louder Hammond proclaims this is good for the country, the less likely it is the public will believe him.
S Smith, via

… on two levels …

Regarding your story about High Speed 2, with all this overcrowding, why not bring in double decker trains?
Patrick Murdock, via

… or not?

Double-decker trains are possible in Europe because what is known as the “loading gauge” is higher there than it is in the UK. In the UK, most of our tunnels are too small and bridges too low to allow double-decker trains to pass through, and altering them all to change that would cost a lot of money.
However, HS1 between London and the Channel Tunnel is built to European loading gauge, and HS2 will be as well.
Calum Cook, via

Measure up

As QS who struggles to see the relevance of measurement in the modern world, I can only concur with sentiments expressed by Derek Mynott (28 April,
However, there are strong views for relevance of measurement as a level playing field for tendering construction works. For as long as work will be tendered, bills of quantity will be relevant and as QSs we need to ensure the traditional form of the profession is upheld. If we lose our core skill, then we lose our relevance. Even if we don’t use these skills day to day we need to relearn first principles.
Michael Chileshe, via