To do BIM properly we need to C-C-Cate

The BIMShow Live 2013 is all done and dusted with many people giving serious thought as to how they will move on in implementing or adopting BIM in their workplace.






For me, the 3 main things that stand out are Collaboration, Communication and Cooperation.


Collaboration as a word has its own British Standard, is being flogged to death by the industry and is rolled out at all possible opportunities, but what does it actually mean in the context of BIM.


A dictionary definition says that collaboration is working jointly on an activity or project, which in BIM language means each discipline and stakeholder offering their skills and professional input at the right time to achieve the most efficient outcome for the benefit of the whole team.  Which doesn’t mean pushing a particular software platform or design concept because you prefer it and you’re the lead stakeholder, but does mean identifying the best tools for the task and the best processes to achieve the best outcome.  It also means offering your best at all times so that the team can trust the integrity of what you are producing.


Communication is something that was highlighted as absolutely vital to the success of any project, be it a decade long infrastructure development or a 48 hour competition.


And communication is far more than speaking, it is making sure that you are both understanding and understood.  If we cannot understand what is exactly required of us, then we will deliver an inaccurate product, and likewise, if we cannot be sure that we are fully understood, then we will be frustrated at getting something back that doesn’t reflect our requirements.  Good communication listens well, asks questions and feeds back.  It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so if need be, draw pictures to make your point – as with collaborating, use the best tool for the task.


Cooperation is the tricky part but really envelops collaboration and communication and will go a long way to improving working relationships.


You can successfully run and complete a project with collaboration and communication on their own, and indeed, this seems to be the current norm, but as we move into common environments with data being shared more freely and our work being open to greater scrutiny, unless we agree to cooperate this is not going to be a fun ride.  Cooperation is probably the human, warm fuzzy side of BIM as we can do the others quite well, albeit coldly.  I don’t recall anyone telling me I must find my work unbearable and the people difficult and so I want to get along with the people I’m working with, and I don’t want to have to guard my input too closely through fear of it being ripped to pieces.


If we all agree to at least try to get along from the outset, then we are more likely to collaborate and communicate better because we will all know that everybody is putting in their best and is doing all they can to make sure they deliver exactly what is expected.


And that will make for better BIM.


By Bill Holden, CAD/BIM Lead | BIM Champion at Atkins.


Bill is a Structural Technician with 14 years’ experience across all sectors and many building types, with the aim of being among the best in the industry. He has burst onto the BIM scene with a passion to shake things up, clear out all the dinosaurs who ‘have always done it this way’ and to get teams communicating effectively. He is enthusiastically training whole teams in BIM workflows and processes and trying to reinforce the importance of BIM adoption. His dream is to open and run a school teaching, draughting skills to NEET young people, setting them up in industry and thus putting them on a path to a life-long and rewarding career.