Breaking Down the BIM Barriers

The question I have been asking myself over the last few days has been; are there any real barriers to BIM?

I see a lot of talk about how much it costs to implement BIM into an organisation (in particular SMEs) with various costs being quoted at various events, ranging from £10,000 (David Miller Architects) per seat to £1,000 -£ ­3,000 a year per user (Amtech Crystal Clear BIM) but whilst I appreciate the technical costs involved, if we take this out of the equation, it really shouldn’t stop you as an organisation on embarking and outlining your road to BIM.


BIM is not just about technology, in fact I would argue that really, BIM is about process, a change of mindset even. Surely, if you did have the technology, without a good understanding of BIM you would not be able to apply it in the best possible way anyway!


I would wager, that once you begin to find your way in BIM and the moment occurs when you ‘get it’ and subsequently in turn understand the true benefits it can bring, then the thought of spending x amounts of £’s on technology in order to facilitate this may not seem so daunting after all.


With this in mind, lets have a look at the information that is out there, freely available to you right now. I must note though, although free information is great, there is a disclaimer; what you need to bear in mind when looking at BIM is that there is a lot of information out there, but not all of it is necessarily correct or clear and ultimately can get lost in what has come to be known as BIMWash.


In light of this l have selected what I feel are currently the best documents/ sources of info from the plethora that it out there, to get started with*;

| Websites

> BIM Task Group | | @BIMgcs

> BIM Crunch | | @BimCrunch

> The NBS | | @TheNBS

> BIM Diary |­‐diary | @BIMDiary

> Your own industry representative website!


| Social Media

What ever your opinions on social media may be, for me personally and in turn my practice, it has proved invaluable.

> Twitter |

The UK government has recognised the hastag #UKBimCrew is the most up to date, relevant source of information for all things BIM. BIM as a subject is fast moving, and if you need an answer, this is the most likely place to get it. If you follow the hashtag, or anyone affiliated with UKBimCrew then I would suggest you wont go too far wrong.

> LinkedIn |

Sometimes referred to as ‘like a Facebook for adults’, but regardless of how you view it, there are some fantastic groups you can join to discuss BIM (or many other subject related matters). Ideal for where 140 characters are just not enough! I must put a plug here for the SME LinkedIn group BIM4SMEs.


| Documents

> David Langdon – A clients guide to BIM for clients | Getting-­‐the-­‐most-­‐out-­‐of-­‐BIM-­‐-­‐-­‐A-­‐guide-­‐for-­‐clients

A simple guide for construction clients providing an introduction to BIM -­‐ what it is; how it works; and how to get started with using it.

> BIM for the Terrified |­‐FM.asp

NBS has just realised this guide, albeit more focused on manufacturers it still provides a great overview of the process.

> CIC BIM Protocol |

A suite of BIM documentation that informs the commercial and contractual elements of BIM.

> Growth Through BIM Report |

Reporting on the BIM process and how best to turn the government’s construction strategy into economic growth.


| Events

> CIC Regional BIM Hub(s) | | @BIMgcs

> BIM4Free | @bimacademy | #bim4free

These events should be your starting point after doing some initial reading around the subject. The Regional BIM Hubs, set up by the BIM task group are done so in order to facilitate the dissemination of the BIM message to a wider audience. Your local Hub should be able to advise you on what is happening, how to make it happen and who to talk to. Likewise, events such as BIM4Free and offer presentations on a wide range of BIM topics from beginner to expert. My advice when setting out is to try not to let the technicalities of BIM bog you down. I am by no means suggesting you ignore them, but don’t let the finite details blur your overall understanding. Concentrate on the process, the mindset, the idea of collaboration. Understand what BIM is and in turn what BIM is to you and your organisation. Remember, all of the information I have listed above is free – the only thing they will cost you is time; time that will hopefully eventually pay for itself through the adoption of BIM.


I hope this article goes someway to getting more people / organisations involved. I would hope that if you have found your way here then you’re actively looking to get engaged. To steal a comment I saw earlier this week, we have built a great community around BIM, but we need to ensure that those on the periphery and beyond continue to receive a clear message going forward in this extremely exciting time for the construction industry.


I look forward to seeing you all at the next industry event…


*I am bound to of missed someone/ something etc… in this post – for this I apologise but please feel free to suggest additional sources of information in the comments below – we have all got to start somewhere right?


Author: Olly Thomas