This year’s BIM Show Live shows that the industry is embracing BIM – but the challenge lies in understanding what information is important
The BIM Show Live kicked off yesterday with David Philp, the cabinet office head of BIM implementation, emerging from a DeLorean sports car styled up to look like the version from the film Back to the Future. The message was simple – the future is BIM and it is here today, live on stage.
The BIM Show Live programme and delegate list reflected where the industry is on the BIM journey. There was much less about the business benefits of BIM and plenty on the technical aspects including interoperability, clash detection and software tools. The hall was packed with BIM managers, CAD technicians and everyday construction folk who are at the design coal face and need to know how to function in this new BIM-enabled world.
The real challenge is understanding what information is important and managing how this flows in a usable format to other members working on a project
This agenda is very encouraging as it demonstrates how the industry is embracing the BIM agenda and knuckling down to practical implementation. But the ability to generate sophisticated CAD models using the latest software and super fast computers is one thing, knowing what to do with it is another.
The real challenge is understanding what information is important and managing how this flows in a usable format to other members working on a project. An architect told me some clients are insisting BIM is used on their projects only to pull back on this demand when they realise they don’t know what information they are asking for.
Getting this right for asset management is emerging as the next big challenge for the industry. Kath Fontana, managing director of BAM FM, warned that BIM in its current incarnation was probably useless to facility management teams as it hasn’t been structured for successful asset management. The challenge will be to develop a structural framework for BIM data that makes it useable for asset management. Fontana also made the point that facility managers should take the lead on what data is passed on and in what format as they are the ones that need to work with it for the next 60 years.
This means facilities managers need to be involved at the very start of projects to ensure they get the right data in the correct format so they can run buildings effectively which is, after all, the reason why the government is mandating BIM on public sector projects in the first place. This means an almost unprecedented level of collaboration and data sharing on projects from inception to operation. If history is anything to go by the industry might find a time machine handy to fast forward this particular scenario.
Thomas Lane is group technical director of Building & Ecobuild