Best BIM! Bad BIM! – Olly Thomas

The latest in our BIMcrunch profiles – read our ‘Best BIM! Bad BIM!’ with Olly Thomas of the Design Buro Architects.

Olly Thomas (@OllyTDB) BIM Manager

The Design Buro Architects (@thedesignburo)

Olly Thomas, BIM Manager heading up BIM implementation and delivery for The Design Buro, an SME and independent firm of architects who specialise in healthcare. I currently sit on the BIM4SMEs core group with a focus of forging the way for SME BIM adoption within the industry going forwards. Coming from an architectural background, having completed RIBA Part 1 and 2 university degrees I am currently studying for my Part 3 qualification.


Best BIM Experience:

Recently the handing over of the completed Glan Clwyd Hospital new build Pathology scheme that was the flagship BIM project for the practice and my first foray into BIM that began back in July 2011 was great; I cant quite believe it has been 2 years since that journey begin and having created a BIM that was authored for a multitude of uses by the design team, contractor, sub-­‐contractors and end client alike, the experience was fulfilling.


Aside from project specific BIM experience, having the opportunity to attend the BIM Show Live 2013 event earlier this year was fantastic. The event provided a real eye opener to the world of BIM, especially in the UK and having worked in a silo (in terms of wider industry engagement) up till then, it proved a great chance to get involved in the wider BIM community. This event has led to some great opportunities since and I cannot undervalue how important it was to not only mine, but the practices BIM progression.


Being invited to join the BIM4SMEs core group in the last few weeks has brought together what has been a whirlwind of a journey in BIM over the last 6 months. It fantastic to know there are people out there who share the same agenda and drive to push this part of the industry forward.


As a practice we are driving forward our BIM implementation with a practice target of 2014 to be using BIM, principles and processes on all projects in the office, regardless of whether a client requirement or not.


Worst BIM Experience:

Orientating a building to be in the wrong place! Due to miss typing the orientation factor correctly as defined in the protocol I inadvertently orientated the proposed building somewhere off the cost of the Isle of Man rather than in North Wales.


Although not a major disruption that was subsequently easily rectified, receiving an email from the contractor stating that site setting out progress was slow with an accompanying image attached that depicted the building and a decompression rig somewhere on the horizon with a tug-­‐boat in the fore and the caption “public transport for pathology” written was slightly embarrassing!


Suffice to say I didn’t show my face on site for a while!


Lessons Learnt:

The undertaking of the Pathology project taught me so much about what to do, but more importantly what not to do. The project highlighted that just jumping in with software will not make you BIM compliant over night; this takes time and in turn makes prominent the need of understanding process – technology is a facilitator to BIM, without understanding process and the change of mindset you won’t full appreciate what BIM can provide you and your company with.


The importance of validation; I think that the miss-­‐orientation of the aforementioned building highlighted very early on the importance of validation of information, be this manual or automatic validation, make sure your shared information is fit for purpose.


The importance of collaboration; put yourself out there to not only see what others are doing but also to let them see what you are doing too. Traditionally people are very guarded in the construction industry, but try and be as transparent as you can – I was greatly surprised at how transparent others are in return.


The importance of not being overly reactive to BIM – decide what is and is not BIM to your business; evaluate where you are in the supply chain and choose a process/ solution that suits you. Do not be seduced by marketing pitches!