The End of Building Information Modelling

Every story needs a title that grabs attention. ‘The End of Building Information Modelling’ must fall into that category particularly as it is written by me who has been one of the biggest supporters of this approach for nearly 15 years.

I anticipate that you are all expecting me to now say that it was an attention grabbing tactic however I do actually believe Building Information Modelling is no longer enough for our industry.


Over the last six months to a year there has been an emerging technology and approach. We call this BIM! However it is not Building Information Modelling but Building Information Management!


For those closely involved in the development of information and data in construction the potential of the management of data and information across the project lifecycle is huge. Building Information Modelling gave us a great start and at the time everyone was thinking about geometry and coordination.


In 2000 when I started researching the benefits of parametric design software the management of geometry was a sufficient move forward. The commitment of the UK Government to BIM and delivery of consistent data is not to be underestimated.


The adoption of COBie and the move towards Uniclass 2 has managed to get large parts of the industry to start to talk the same language and to share data from one end of the lifecycle to the other. Such collaboration has been unheard of in the past.


Whilst Building Information Modelling moved us forward it has also caused some confusion. Those who do not want to invest the time to look further into the subject believe BIM is 3D software. The term modelling has been responsible for a large part of that.


As we have started to understand data there is an acceptance by some that there is value in managing and structuring information from the outset. However if this is the case there has to be someone involved to ensure this commitment is maintained and managed.


The role of the BIM coordinator is still very relevant but is only a small part of the requirement. The BIM coordinator will bring the information together and provide issue reports to ensure quality coordination detail.


The Information manager role however is more long term. As with the development of any database it has to be set up correctly at the outset, then managed as it grows and ultimately maintained in operation. The Information manager needs to establish protocols for everyone to use and be able to carry out audits throughout the process to ensure the information is accurate.


As with any database there is more investment upfront before the value is delivered. It is therefore essential to understand the value, which can be brought throughout this investment that a lifecycle view is taken.


As with any investment in BIM it has to demonstrate value. As soon as the investment becomes an additional cost it has failed.


We are moving from Building Information Modelling to an exciting time of Building Information Management. What is exciting is that this information covers the whole lifecycle and with this joined up approach we will be able to improve the value of the buildings we design, build and operate in our industry.


This move from BIM to BIM will impact upon procurement if we are going to deliver maximum value. My follow up article will explore this subject in further detail and set some new challenges for how our industry is structured.