A reader writes with their suggestions for articles on BIM

Unless it was an elaborate April fool’s day joke, Building’s 01 April 2016 issue has gone to some trouble in its dire warnings to the industry about the poor take-up of this not-so-new technology. As from 4 April, (according to the statistical evidence you prefer to adopt) at least half of the nation’s designers and builders will no longer carry out publicly funded projects and conversely, the public bodies will be deprived of half of the industry’s resources.

No fewer than four articles and a leader from the editor played the same tune.

Yet astonishingly none of them (apart from Ike Ijeh’s superficial research) thought to ask why the industry is so divided, so your readers have to remain in the dark. They urgently need to hear the experiences of those who have, and those who have not embraced BIM, if they are to make up their own minds on where this technology is going. I suggest we need now to see some case studies from both practitioners who have adopted BIM and, as importantly, by those who haven’t. The following headings are among the most important:

  • Ownership of the BIM model
  • Who produces and manages the model
  • Flexibility of BIM to accommodate every procurement method, from daywork-based contracts to fixed price certainty
  • Ability of BIM to handle variation before and during construction
  • How the written specification is identified with the drawn elements it complements
  • Cost of operating within BIM as compared with traditional technology
  • Compatibility of BIM software packages with technology already in use by practitioners, and evidence of competition between packages on the market.
  • The learning process
  • Standard forms of contract and terms of engagement protocols necessary to support the technology, for adoption by the wide range of users from construction giants to one man subcontractors: from one man clients to large corporate bodies
  • Flexibility of BIM to accommodate a mix of traditional and BIM based input
  • Extent of information which remains in the model and information still needing to be generated on paper, eg tendering and construction documents, variation instructions
  • Measures to avoid the possibility of one party’s input to the model from corrupting another’s and security of ownership of material by the contributing party
  • Ability of the BIM model to generate bills of quantities
  • Role of the model in cost planning

Building did produce one limited case study - Manchester Library – but only during construction. You could start the feedback we need by revisiting this project now it is complete.
Malcolm Taylor FRICS, Tanglewood, via email